Archive for the 'News & Notices' Category

News Update 6 August, 2015

Kia ora

After the excitement of opening the Len Lye Centre, it’s disappointing to see that the reopening of Christchurch Art Gallery looks like being delayed until 2016.

There is also gloomy news on the economy, with record low dairy payout and falling exchange rate causing concern. A briefing by BERL Chief Economist Ganesh Nana this week advised caution, but did note the positive effect of a lower exchange rate on international tourism. I don’t expect any easing of the budget pressure on our sector in the foreseeable future! So we need to make sure our funders know how vital we are to tourism and well as local communities. MA is working on tools and data to support advocacy, and you can see the video of Dr Nana’s presentation on Value to MA14 here.

MA staff and Board members are busy this month with our regional meetings. The first two hosted by the Dowse and Aratoi have heard of some interesting new projects and participants have had really engaged debates on ethical matters. The workshops have shown that the same ethical scenario can have very different implications depending on the particular organisation and the individuals involved – especially when it comes to conflicts of interest.

We are enjoying the opportunity to talk to members at these meetings, and hear about what’s currently top priority or biggest concern.  Even if you can’t make it to a meeting, we’re always keen to hear from you.

Ngā mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 21 July, 2015

Kia ora

MA regional meetings are being held from late July to early September. These are an opportunity to meet up with colleagues, visit other museums, share latest ideas and explore the practicalities of the MA Code of Ethics in a friendly and supportive workshop session. See here for dates and locations.

This week the UK Museums Association has released it’s draft revised Code of Ethics.
Like our own CoE, it is principle-based, and is intended to help museums and those who work in them to make informed decisions, and to provide guidance on professional practice.

There’s lots of professional development and networking activity coming up around the country in the next couple of months. As well as our MA regional forums, there are NDF BarcampsRegional Tourism Summits, and several conferences – see new listings below and details on our website.

And while we’re talking about networking and collaboration, news is out about a new approach to collecting – Christchurch Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery have jointly purchased a major work by Shane Cotton. ‘Haymaker Series I-V’ will be previewed at DPAG on 30 July, then co-owned and displayed by the two galleries. Maybe the ‘distributed national collection’ concept is coming of age?

With the school holidays over, there are some special events coming up to enliven the winter. This weekend Wellington celebrates its 150th anniversary, as the capital, with a wide range of museum activities. You can draw a City Councillor at the Portrait Gallery, take a sneak peak at Wellington Museum’s new Attic space, see a light and sound show at Old St Paul’s, and go on Open House tours at the City Gallery and Te Papa.

Len Lye

And best wishes to the Govett-Brewster team as you count down to the opening on the Len Lye Centre this weekend – we love all the shiny photos already appearing on Facebook and Twitter.

Ngā mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 9 June 2015

Kia ora

We are delighted to see Betty Nelley receiving the Queen’s Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced at the weekend. Betty has been a strong promoter of museums and heritage through her work at the Kauri Museum and across Northland. Up to her retirement as Chief Executive last year, Betty expanded the Kauri Museum’s role in tourism, science and the wider community, as well as providing active support to colleagues through the Northland Museums Association. Betty continues to be involved in both heritage and tourism through her work as a guide with Grand Pacific Tours, and voluntary work with the RSA. This kind of public recognition is also recognition of the importance of heritage to the communities in which we operate. When interviewed, Betty is humble, and has acknowledged all those she has worked with over the years. The Kauri Museum won a New Zealand Museum Award for Innovation in 2013 for achieving CarboNZero Certification.

Phillipa recently attended the Museums Australia national conference in Sydney’s rather imposing Town Hall. Falling immediately after MA15 in Dunedin, MA2015 was interesting, engaging, and very busy. New Zealand was quite well-represented, with presentations by Sally Manuireva (Auckland Museum), Paul Rowe (Vernon Systems), Christina Hardy (Te Papa) and Phillipa Tocker. We also caught up with colleagues who have moved across the Tasman, and gave a promo for MA16 in Auckland. Check out the Twitter feed at #ma2015syd.

MA16 – Museums Australasia
The first joint conference of Museums Aotearoa and Museums Australia will be held in Auckland 15-19 May 2016. We are working with a local planning team as well as Australian colleagues to develop a programme which offers opportunities to share, learn and develop new thinking. In the next few weeks there will be more information and a brief survey so you can let us know what you would like to see in the programme.

MA Board
The new MA Board elected at the May AGM will meet in Wellington on Thursday 25 June. AGM minutes will be circulated with the next issue of MAQuarterly. If you have any items you would like the Board to consider, please contact the office or a Board member. Board meeting dates for 2015 are Monday 31 August (location tbc) and Thursday 12 November in Auckland.

Regional and other meetings 
There was a great turnout of the Northland Museums Association in the new Managwhai Museum on Friday 29 May. As well as their AGM and general catching-up, there were presentations from invited experts on disaster preparedness and recovery – a very practical and useful day for all.

We are already talking to some host museums about regional meetings during the July/August/September period. We are planning a Code of Ethics workshop for some of these, as well as ‘pitopito korero’ sessions. If you are particularly interested in hosting your colleagues for a regional meting, or have suggestions for topics, please let us know.

Science in the SUNLIGHT is the topic of a symposium being hosted by Te Manawa on Friday 26 June. This is an opportunity for museum folk interested in science exhibits, interactives and communication to get together and explore collaboration and latest project – and to experience the fantastic new interactive show SUNLIGHT – Ihi Kōmaru. See details below.

A date has also been set for the next Kaitiaki hui: 20 October at Waitangi.  The actual days are yet to be determined, to be part of the conversation, visit Facebook.

Nga mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 12 February 2014

Kia ora

Waitangi Day was celebrated nationally last Friday, and I was lucky to be at Waitangi for the occasion, for my first time. There was a happy balance of reflection, commemoration, celebration, peaceful protest, pomp and ceremony.

The estimated 30,000 people there were a wonderful mix of politicians, Maori, Pakeha, new New Zealanders and international tourists, all mingling in a friendly family atmosphere. The new museum at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is under construction. CE Greg McManus says it is on track to open for Waitangi Day 2016 – i hope to be there again.

Valentines’ Day this Saturday has inspired some innovative museum programming. Carter Observatory is offering ‘Romance under the Stars‘ with bubbles and a live love-themed astronomy show; and the NZ Maritime Museum in Auckland has ‘love on the sea‘ combining wine, cheese and sailing. These sound like fun – please send us photos of your events and activities to share, or post on our Facebook page.

Also this Saturday, the new Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage Centre will be opened by the Hon Christopher Finlayson. Although no longer Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage, FInlayson held that portfolio during the construction and fundraising for the centre, and approved $1.08m towards the centre. This came under criterion 6 of the Regional Museums Policy, on the grounds of regional impact and to partially offset the increased costs due to changes in design and building standards post-earthquakes. The project has been very controversial locally, and difficult in terms of timing, budget and completion. The cost blowout triggered a council-commissioned review which we noted earlier this year (Morrison Low report). With the opening imminent, the museum has moved in, but the plant has still not been successfully commissioned and the gallery will not be installing any art. Warren Feeney explored the issues in a recent opinion piece in the Christchurch Press, offering some much-needed perspective to the ongoing issues. The saga continued with Ashburton Mayor Angus McKay issuing a press release and being interviewed by Lyn Freeman on Standing Room Only. He and several others on various sides of the debate are in print again this week (no link as the Ashburton Guardian is not freely available online). We hope that after the building is open, and all the snags sorted out, the community will be well-served by a fully functioning art gallery, museum and archive centre.

Another chapter in the story about criticism of the sale of moa bones of dubious origin, TradeMe has pulled the online auction “while Heritage New Zealand works out where the fossils were collected”, reports the Taranaki Daily News.

Looking ahead for MA, we’re working with our hosts in Dunedin on getting everything ready for the MA15 conference, 6-8 May. Registrations are rolling in, taking advantage of the earlybird rate, open until 6 March. Please book your travel and accommodation asap as it is a graduation weekend in Dunedin and hotels get booked out. We’ve also received our first entry for the ServiceIQ 2015 NZ Museum Awards – entries are due on 19 March.

And watch out for news today from Otago Museum. I received an invitation to “attend an announcement regarding the proposed Planetarium and Discovery World Redevelopment” … watch this space!

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 27 January 2015

Kia ora

Tomorrow the MA15 planning team is meeting in Dunedin. We’ll be going through programme details, fitting as many of the huge number of proposals in as possible, as well as all the other logistics to make MA15 our best and most inspiring conference ever. Don’t forget these key details:

  • early bird registration closes 6 March
  • 3 or more people attending from the same (member) institution get a 10% discount
  • applications for a limited number of 1/2 price registrations close 20 February
  • it will be graduation weekend in Dunedin, so book travel and accommodation ASAP!

Ian Griffin, Director of Otago Museum, says, “By the way, in case you haven’t yet booked for the MA conference in Dunedin, I hope the attached picture I managed to snap of last night’s aurora australis we saw down here encourages you to book post haste!”

Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. Wellingtonian Vera Egermayer, who was then aged 4 and living in a children’s home in Prague, tells her story,
and the day is being commemorated by the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand.

Whanganui Regional Museum has been making a stand on the possible illegal sale of moa bones.  The war of words has made it into the newspapers, see Moa bone sale dispute and South Taranaki iwi and archaeologists are also wading into the argument. WRM’s Mike Dickison has been drawing both support and criticism for publicising the issue, as reported – and commented on – in the Wanganui Chronicle.

As we near the end of January we’re still enjoying a wonderful summer. Looking ahead, we’ll be working on actions outlined in our Strategic Plan. We’ll be asking you for your ideas about mentoring and professional development very soon, the Board is meeting in Wellington on 23 February, and looking forward to the ServiceIQ 2015 NZ Museum Awards – don’t miss the closing date, 19 March, and the celebration with guest judge and MC Te Radar on 7 May in Dunedin.

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 11 November 2014

Kia ora

This week’s museum news is topped by the announcement of the appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis as CE of Te Papa. The official press release says.”Mr Ellis is renowned for helping organisations take dramatic steps forward”. Ellis has been emphasising the digital future of museums, with TVNZ quoting Ellis promising a new era, “moving away from the passive physical engagement of the past and looking to technology innovation here out of New Zealand, as well as what others are doing and learn from that and hopefully bring something quite magic alive”, and Te Papa chairman Evan Williams saying Ellis will bring a “shift in the culture of the organisation”. The public reaction so far has been mixed, with the Dominion Post saying “his performance will be watched with a cool and sceptical eye”. He has already been interviewed by Radio NZ and NewstalkZB. Mr Ellis officially begins on 24 November.
Also announced this week is the appointment of Laura Vodanovich, currently director at Tairawhiti Museum, as Director of MTG Hawke’s Bay. After a local political and media storm, and controversial public review of the new facility, Douglas Lloyd Jenkins is leaving MTG in December to pursue other projects. Laura will take over on 1 February 2015. Hawke’s Bay Today reports that the Napier City Council is likely to delay a decision on a new storage facility until after Laura takes up her appointment.

We saw Laura and other colleagues from Tairawhiti Museum, as well as Kawerau, Opotiki, Tauranga and Rotorua, at our regional meeting in Whakatāne on 31 October. We had a very warm welcome into the Mataatua whare at Te Manuka Tutahi, then went on to explore the problematic museum and archive store, followed by lunch at Te Kōputu a te Whanga a Toi, the new Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre.

Last week we were in Christchurch where over 30 museum folk gathered at Canterbury University. We met and mingled in the Logie Collection room, and had a fascinating series of pitopito kōrero covering topics from research and teaching with university collections, digital archives, access to collections and new opportunities post-earthquakes, to the expanding museum scene in China. We were particularly interested in the prototype display case that the Logie Collection have commissioned, with built-in lift to enable the heavy toughened glass top to be raised and the contents accessed by one person.

Our regional meetings continue next week at Otago Museum on Tuesday 18 November, with the last for this year at Te Uru (former Lopdell House Gallery) on Friday 28 November. All welcome! Please RSVP as spaces are limited.

The 2014 Museum Sector Survey questionnaire is being distributed this week.  We encourage all museums and galleries to complete the survey, which provides essential data for our advocacy for the sector. This year we have revised and expanded the survey – although it looks more daunting, it includes more explanatory notes, and we have coordinator available to help. The extra detail will provide everyone with more robust tools to inform planning and local and national advocacy.  Both a summary and detailed report will be available in the new year.

The NDF (National Digital Forum) conference is rapidly approaching. MA is pleased to be sponsoring two delegates to attend, selected from a small but interested group of deserving applicants. We will be hearing from Maddy Jones and Jamie Bell when they share their experiences through our blog after the conference. We also encourage all museums and galleries to take part in the NDF Digitisation Survey, the results of which will be reported at the conference.

We look forward to seeing you at meetings or at NDF, and always welcome your telephone calls (04 499 1313) and emails. Feedback and ideas from members are vital to ensure we’re doing the best we can to support museums and galleries in Aotearoa.

Mauriora,Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 28 October, 2014

Kia ora

Last week Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand launched the last of its themed section, completing the 12-year build programme. Launching Creative and Intellectual Life, editor Jock Phillips was joined by Sam Neill and Sir Geoffrey Palmer, with performances by poet Hinemoana Baker and a troupe from the NZ School of Dance.  There was also support from our new Minister, Hon Maggie Barry. The celebration was well-deserved by all the many contributors – both MCH staff and the experts, writers and researchers who have made Te Ara such a rich and compelling resource. Congratulations also to Jock for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award he received last week. Jock will now retire to write, and the team at MCH will continue the evolution of Te Ara. The launch was covered by Radio NZ’s Morning Report.

Waikato Forum

We are just about to open a new iteration of the MA sector survey, and want every museum and gallery in the country to take part. The last survey was in 2012, and our revised questionnaire will build on that information. Claire Scouse is working with us over the next few weeks to coordinate the survey, and will be available to help respondents.

We also have Maddy Jones working with us to prepare the 2015 Directory of Museums and Galleries. Maddy and Claire are both working part-time in our three-desk office, so it is very busy at the moment!

We’ve been enjoying getting out and meeting with members and colleagues around the country. Thérèse Angelo and Phillipa were in Invercargill recently, next up is Whakatāne on Friday and Christchurch on Tuesday 4 November. These regional meetings are a great way to catch up with what’s happening in your region, and we’ve had some wonderfully inspiring presentations. The Christchurch meeting will include a short Special General Meeting, called to approve a minor change to the MA Constitution. We want to change the rule about timing of the AGM from 4 to 6 months after the end of our financial year – this gives us more flexibility with conference dates, allowing us to hold the next AGM during MA15 in May.

Taranaki Forum

Planning for MA15 is well under way. The MA Board will meet in Dunedin on 19 November, and several Board members will be at the Dunedin regional meeting on 18 November.  We’re enjoying working with an enthusiastic planning team and our generous hosts at Otago Museum.

And we note the extensive tributes to our late friend Jonathan Mane-Wheoki in various media, including this beautiful compilation by Te Papa.


Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

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