News Update

Kia ora

Check out the latest batch of museum news that has been uploaded today, online here (you need to be logged in to the members’ area to view). This is currently online as a downloadable PDF, index will follow shortly.

Another busy fortnight, and we’ve been out and about. Both Sophie and I visited Auckland privately, and squeezed in some museum visiting while we were there. I had a quick look at the Walters Prize exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery, and visited the new home of the Wallace Arts Trust, the TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre at Pah Homestead, where finalists in the 2010 Wallace Art Awards are on show until 3 October before travelling to TheNewDowse (opening 22 October). While we await the announcement of the Walters Prize on 8 October, interviews with the four finalists can be found online here and you can also vote for the ‘Peoples Choice’.

Last week I spent a very enjoyable 2 days in the Far North with the Northland Museums Association. Heritage Kaikohe hosted the meeting, and treated some 40 visitors to train rides as well as warm hospitality and a cosy fire. Serious discussion of museum strategies, national and local issues took up most of Friday, with a little time for local politics as well. The NMA is made up of a wide variety of museums, from the council-owned Whangarei Art Museum, to the independent Kauri Museum, and volunteer-run Hokianga Historical Society (Omapere). They span tourist areas such as Russell and country towns like Kaikohe.

It was sad to hear about Omapere having to move their collections into containers after the building they shared with the i-Site was declared unsafe, although Alexa tells me they have now been offered space at the local school. We wish Far North Regional Museum all the best as they negotiate their way forward as part of the Te Ahu complex, Shirley and friends at the Jack Morgan a successful opening and a well-deserved breather, and Mangawhai Museum success in raising funds to put a roof on top of their newly-built walls and floor. All in the NMA show great enterprise and enthusiasm. Best wishes also to Scott as Chair, Eileen as secretary, and Lynda for her work as out-going secretary. And a big thank-you to all the folk at Heritage Kaikohe for their hospitality, especially Ian, Heather and Trevor.

NMA members take the Heritage Kaikohe train, driven by Trevor Bedggood (photo: Don Hammond/Far North Regional Museum)

I have also been out and about as a ‘lay’ juror for the Wellington branch NZ Institute of Architecture Awards. I’ve seen some really inspiring spaces, both public and private. This has afforded a fascinating insight into how awards work from the selectors’ perspective – very timely as we begin work on growing the Museum Awards for 2011. Watch out for notice of criteria and entry opportunities before the end of the year.

With the school holidays now underway, many museums will be busy with holiday programmes and lots of families visiting. And Auckland is in the thick of its Heritage Festival, with lots of museums and galleries taking part. The festival runs from 18 September to 3 October, click here for details. Further south the biannual Otago Festival of the Arts is coming up 8-17 October, including theatre performances at Otago Settlers Museum and exhibitions at Dunedin Public Art Gallery as well as lots of other dance, theatre and music events. We hope you all have lots of visitors and lots of fun.

Nga mihi,

Phillipa and Sophie

PS – don’t forget to vote for your local mayor and council!

“No one can be forced to vote. However, it’s vitally important that those of us who can, make the effort to do so, even if it only goes so far as reading the voter’s guide that comes with your voting paper before deciding whose name to put a tick beside. If nothing else, to most people’s minds, anyone who chooses not to vote also loses their mandate to complain over the next three years when decisions are made which they do not agree with.”
(Race to be mayor springs into life, Bay of Plenty Times, 25 September 2010)

Ian Wards, Phillipa Tocker, Heather Ayrton and Ian Day at Heritage Kaikohe (photo: Don Hammond/Far North Regional Museum)

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