The latest batch of museum news is online here (you need to be logged in to the members’ area to view). We’re a couple of days late with the latest news as we’ve been away in Rotorua. The Museums Aotearoa Board met on Tuesday, hosted in fine style by Rotorua Museum. We really appreciated their cheerful hospitality as well as their air conditioning – it felt like about 30 degrees outside, especially to those of us from further south! and it was great to have an opportunity to see their re-development progress, which is on track towards a successful opening on 20 August.
Museums Aotearoa Board Members inspecting progress at Rotorua Museum
We also really enjoyed meeting with members from the area, some of whom had driven quite some distance to be there. We had afternoon tea and a good discussion of current issues and projects, including the work towards accreditation for museums and galleries in New Zealand. This is an important development in encouraging and recognising best practice standards in all museum and galleries, whatever their size. Another topic of discussion was a review of the Code of Ethics. We will have discussion papers about both these projects circulated for debate at the AGM in April.
MA11 conference planning has been taking much of our time, with details of the 3-day programme on Collecting Culture being finalised. Our hosts at Nelson Provincial Museum and the Suter are looking forward to welcoming colleagues to their place, and to their region. The first day of the conference will be held at the pan-iwi Whakatū Marae which will provide an ideal setting to explore bicultural collections. Thursday and Friday will be at various venues, including the Suter and Nelson Provincial Museum, with the Awards dinner at Nelson School of Music. The conference will be followed by a BarCamp convened by National Services Te Paerangi on Saturday 16 April. More details and registration information are on our website, make sure you register before 25 February to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount. And don’t forget, National Services have travel subsidies available, specifically to assist smaller organisations to attend MA11. These are being administered via the Helping Hand Grants, click here for application forms.
Here in Wellington, talk is focussed on politics. Controversy within the Māori Party is hotly debated, as well as the second reading of the new Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill. This Bill is being brought to the House by Hon Christopher Finlayson, as Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations. Being Attorney General as well as the Arts, Culture & Heritage portfolio, our Minister is a very busy man. Currently before the parliament he also has the Cultural Property (Protection in Armed Conflict) Bill (to enable NZ to ratify an international convention), the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Bill (which re-jigs the Arts Council and its committees), the Ngā Wai o Maniapoto (Waipa River) Bill, Ngā Rohe Moana o Ngā Hapū o Ngāti Porou Bill, a Legislation Bill and a Whanganui Iwi Bill.
On top of all this, the General Election has been set for 26 November this year. So it is even more vital that issues for the museum and gallery sector are well-understood by politicians on all sides of the debate. Museums Aotearoa keeps in contact with various ministers and MPs, in government and in opposition. Next week we have another meeting with Hon Christopher Finlayson, and we’re delighted that he will address the MA11 conference at the closing session on Friday 15 April.
This month deadlines are looming for conference registration and awards entries. More details are on our website, or contact us at the Museums Aotearoa office in Wellington.
Phillipa and Sophie