Archive for the 'News & Notices' Category

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.

Mauriora,

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 30 September 2014

Kia ora

Its great to see some really good news stories about museums and galleries recently in amongst the war, crime and election results making headlines. MOTAT was on Saturday’s TV One news as well as the Herald as it celebrates 50 years with new exhibits and a new strategy. And it seems that everyone loves a good slimy squid story – especially on video!

Young Theo experiments with Motat’s new ‘Welcome to the Machine’ exhibition. Photo / Mark Wardle

Last Friday the winner of the biennial Walters Prize was announced at Auckland Art Gallery – international judge Charles Esche was interviewed by Lyn Freeman on Radio NZ’s Standing Room Only, along with winning artist Luke Willis Thompson. Freeman also interviewed Simon Denny, Walters Prize finalist and artist selected to represent NZ at the 2016 Venice Biennale, whose show The Personal Effects of Kim Dotcom opens at the Adam Art Gallery this Friday.

The news was mixed for Museum of Wellington City and Sea, when they announced that the ‘key to the city’ of Wellington had been stolen from its display case - but the story turned out well when it was anonymously returned to Wellington Police. Also mixed exposure for Waitangi National Trust in the papers and TV3 drawing comments from PM John Key and local MP Kelvin Davis with the introduction of a $15 entry fee for New Zealanders after the fee was dropped in 2008.

On the down side, the Ashburton museum and gallery building is in the news again with its budget blowout and parking disputes between council and residents – another example of conflicting local interests getting in the way of what should be a positive community amentity.

And congratulations to Canterbury Museum, winner of the Tourism/Hospitality (medium/large enterprise) category at the 2014 Champion Canterbury Business Awards , just ahead of the Air Force Museum – Vbase partnership.

After serving for 32 years, Mike Taylor has retired from the staff and management committee of Picton Heritage & Whaling Museum.  The new Manager is Alison Hinkley, and the new President of Picton Historical Society is Jon Perano.  The Society reports they are in good heart and moving forward with new displays and looking forward to a busy cruise-ship season.TripAdvisor has named Te Papa best in the South Pacific, and Auckland Museum 2nd – ahead of all the Australian museums. Eight other New Zealand museums feature in the list, giving us 40% of the the top 25, with only 20% of Australia’s population and 15% of its GDP.

Last week saw about 40 people from a wide range of organisations meeting for ICOM NZ‘s conference at Auckland Museum, joined by a number of museum staff for many sessions. The theme of Pacific Connections: Culture, Connections, Museums and Research produced a varied and engaging 2-day programme.  The eye-opener for many was a sobering presentation about the reality of Pacific Islanders’ position in Auckland society by Damon Salesa, Associate Professor of Pacific Studies at The University of Auckland, and the first person of  Pacific Island descent to become a Rhodes scholar to Oxford. With humour and empathy, Damon explained the disengagement of Pasifika from mainstream economy, education and political power, and offered some insights into how some of these disadvantages and injustices might be addressed by museums. Thanks to hosts Auckland Museum, and the organisers, especially Jane Legget, for all the hard work that went into the conference.

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki and Roy Clare

Another highlight for those who stayed for the Museum Medals event at Auckland Museum on 23 September was the presentation of awards to some special colleagues. Linda Tyler and Margaret Morley were made Associate Emerita of the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Jonathan Mane-Wheoki and Dame Cheryll Sotheran were made a Companion of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which recognises achievement or contribution to areas relevant to, or in some way connected to, the public service of Auckland Museum or other New Zealand museums. We applaud their well-deserved recognition.

Attending the ICOM conference and staying on to visit Wellington was Professor Dr Hans-Martin Hinz, President of ICOM international. His conference keynote explained the background of Germany’s colonial activity in the Pacific and its end because of WW1. Dr Hinz also gave a well-attended presentation about cultural objects at risk, hosted by NSTP at Te Papa last week.

We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at our regional meetings in the next two months, with the first at Waitomo tomorrow.  We’re also excited by the lineup of speakers for this year’s National Digital Forum conference, 25-26 November at Te Papa. You have until 5pm today (30 September) to apply for a registration bursary from MA.

If you’re in Wellington next Wednesday, 8 October, we recommend the Awesome Arts Access Auction. This is both fun and a terrific cause, we hope to see many friends and supporters there.

Mauriora,
Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 16 September, 2014

Kia ora

Do you read blogs?  They have been getting a bad rap from the ‘Dirty Politics’ and Whale Oil scandals of the last few weeks, and it’s true that some blogs are places for opinionated individuals to vent their ideas. Others are more balanced, and often very informative. Many museums and galleries have their own blogs in which staff can share insights into their collections and research which may otherwise not get into the public domain – a great way to extend reach and engagement.

The Museums Aotearoa blog has a wide range of voices from our membership. Last week Chanelle Carrick of Puke Ariki shared her experience of working with local artists. Other recent posts explored digital culture (Sarah Powell) and measuring our value (Kamaya Crawford). If you aren’t seeing these, it’s easy to get email notifications by clicking Follow on the blog page.

PLAYnes, a participatory installation by Home Work artist Olivier Perkins with Meg the Puke Ariki Megaladon (author’s image)

It is worth while checking out other local blogs too. A recent post for Artists Alliance is by Melissa Laing. In Negotiating Consent, Laing explores the implications of working with the public, either for research or for creating artwork, and there is much in her kōrero that is relevant to curating and exhibiting as well.

International museums opinions and news can be found everywhere. Thanks to Global Museum, we found this Huffington Post article by Paul Cantor, Why Museums Are Very Cool and Should Be Visited Often. Cantor acknowledges the easy access to museum collections and information via the internet, and explains why people can gain even more valuable experiences when they use that as a starting point for an in-person visit. He also explores the effect of the digital world on photography, drawing some interesting insights from an exhibition at the Met of Garry Winogrand’s photographs of American life from the 1950s to 1980s. He also notes that the Winogrand exhibition was not the trigger for his visit – “the beauty of going to a museum with no real plan is that you can wind up seeing things unexpectedly”.

Phar Lap, taxidermied in the USA after his untimely – and possibly accidental poisoning – death, is a popular display at the Melbourne Museum. The people of Melbourne acknowledge his NZ birth and embrace him as one of the greatest Australian racehorses, with school groups and tourist flocking to admire the legend on a Monday afternoon. (Phillipa is in Melbourne meeting with Museums Australia, courtesy of Tourism NZ.)

Another online item that was referred to us recently (thanks Andrew Clifford!) is a report on online magazine Ocula. While not strictly a blog, this is another online opinion source to which anyone can freely subscribe. In China Museum Tour: the Highlights, Sophia McKinnon, offers an overview of visiting 20 Chinese museums in 20 days. Kiwi-born, Beijing-based Sophia describes a museum sector very different from our own – in which architecture = prestige, ‘contemporary art’ has quite a different meaning, and both public and private museums require state approval to exist.
It makes you think!

Mauriora,

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 2 September, 2014

Kia ora

As well as electioneering and dirty politics, there has been some interesting news coverage about the power of art and culture – to enrich, to heal and to celebrate. Auckland Museum played a symbolic role in the Tuhoe Treaty of Waitangi settlement, with the return of the Maungapōhatu flag taking centre stage at the recent ceremony in Taneatua. Christchurch Art Gallery once again gained the spotlight with its activity in the wider community through public art.  In Dunedin, DPAG hosted the launch of a creative strategy for the city, Ara Toi Otepoti: Our Creative Future.

Auckland Museum Director Roy Clare is in the online news with an article for Museum iD exploring the implications of digital engagement and audience expectations. MA also made the news, along with museum colleagues, in a Listener article looking into the issues behind the recent controversy over MTG Hawke’s Bay.

The MA Board has finalised our new Strategic Plan that we work-shopped last month. There are now agreed strategies and actions under the revised mission statement. You can read more on our website.

On the national scene, some things change, and others stay the same. Creative NZ has released the report of its recent review of Visual and Craft/Object art, which confirms some existing arrangements and offers some increased grant limits but no radical change. Heritage New Zealand, formerly NZ Historic Places Trust, has released its new Statement of Intent 2014-2018 and Performance Expectations 2014-2015 with its new look, which looks much like business as usual within tight budget constraints.

Coming events you might want to be part of include Ask a curator day on 17 September, and this is Tongan language week.

And one more opportunity – MA is supporting the National Digital Forum 2014 by offering a registration bursary. Applications are due 30 September, for details see Opportunities below.

Mauriora,

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei


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