Archive for April, 2011

Post Conference Update



We had a wonderful few days in Nelson last week, and would like to congratulate all the Award winners and finalists, and also our inspiring speakers and generous hosts.

2011 New Zealand Museum Awards

Individual Achievement Award
David Wright, Director, Navy Museum

David Wright, Director, Navy Museum

Project Achievement Award, Innovation and Technology
Whakamīharo Lindauer Online, Auckland Art Gallery

Whakamīharo Lindauer Online, Auckland Art Gallery

Project Achievement Award, Exhibition Excellence – Art

Beloved, Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Robyn Notman accepting Award for Beloved, Dunedin Public Art Gallery

White Cloud Worlds, Dowse Art Museum
Back & Beyond & Here, Museums Wellington

Project Achievement Award, Exhibition Excellence – Social History

Te Ahi Kā Roa, Te Ahi Ka Kātoro, Taranaki War 1860-2010: Our Legacy, Our Challenge, Puke Ariki

Bill Macnaught accepts Award for Te Ahi Kā Roa, Te Ahi Ka Kātoro, Taranaki War 1860-2010: Our Legacy, Our Challenge, Puke Ariki

Port Nelson, Haven Ahoy!, Nelson Provincial Museum

Project Achievement Award, Exhibition Excellence – Small Museum

Bohemians of the Brush: Pumpkin Cottage Impressionists, Expressions Arts & Entertainment Centre

Jane Vial & Stephanie Cottrell accept Award for Expressions Art & Entertainment Centre

Isel’s 160th Year, Isel House
Ka Takata Whenua o Waihao, Waimate Museum
Credo and Quest, Whangarei Art Museum

ATTTO Museum Workplace Training Ambassador Award
Eva Huismans, Volunteer and Training Coordinator, Canterbury Museum

Eva Huismans accepts the ATTTO Museum Workplace Training Ambassador Award

Citations are on our website here, and photographs from the Awards celebration are on our facebook page here.

Museums Aotearoa Board

At the AGM on Friday 15 April, we had two Board members returned, and two new members elected. Thanks to all those who stood for the Board, and all the museum members who voted. The 2011-12 Board comprises:

  • Thérèse Angelo, Director Air Force Museum, Chair (Museum)
  • Eric Dorfman, Museum General Manager, Whanganui Regional Museum (Museum)
  • Jenny Harper, Director, Christchurch Art Gallery (Individual)
  • Michelle Hippolite, Kaihautu, Te Papa (Museum)
  • Manu Kawana, Kaihautu, Te Manawa (Individual – joint Kaitiaki)
  • Greg McManus, Director, Rotorua Museum (Individual)
  • Laureen Sadlier, Registrar, Pataka (Individual – joint Kaitiaki)

MA11 conference

Thank you to te iwi kāinga o Whakatu Marae, Peter Millward and staff at the Nelson Provincial Museum, Julie Catchpole and staff at The Suter for making us so welcome in Nelson. The sun shone (mostly), we heard from inspiring and thought-provoking presenters, engaged in serious and not-so-serious debate, and were very well provisioned over our three days. And a very special thank you to Kamaya Yates, who stepped in to be our on-the-spot conference coordinator. We’ll be putting some of the information and reports from the conference in the May MAQ, as well are more photos on our website shortly. We’re taking an extra day off on Tuesday to rest up after the conference.

Happy holidays, Phillipa and Sophie


News Update 1 April 2011

Taking in the enormity of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami is difficult. The latest message from ICOM Japan on 30 March estimates that there are 400 museum in the areas affected. Information is scarce as access is so limited, and they do not yet know what the future options might be. Of 144 museums whose current situation is known, some museums are safe, and 31 very seriously damaged – ‘some museums were vanished by the Tsunami’. You can read Professor Mizushima’s message uploaded on the nzmuseums blog here.

There is a lot of talk now about the economic effects of the Christchurch earthquake. While our situation may not have the global ramifications of the disaster in Japan, there will still be a major impact on New Zealand’s economy. The howls of anguish as the IRB decision to move the Rugby World Cup games from Christchurch was announced, show how vital tourism is to us. Recent statistics show that not only has international tourism been hit by the global financial crisis which began in 2008, but domestic tourism is also suffering.

Compared to the previous year, figures for the year to December 2010 show:

  • domestic overnight trips fell by 3.8% to 16.1 million
  • domestic day trips fell by 6.5% to 29.a million
  • spend by domestic travellers fell by 1.1% to $8.8 billion.

Many of our museum and gallery visitors are New Zealanders from outside the local area, so this decline may result in lower than predicted visitation for some. For the latest data see

In other research, Suzette Major and Rose Gould-Lardelli are conducting a study of arts management, in particular the role of arts managers and the career paths and general characteristics of those who manage artists or arts organisations in the New Zealand creative industries. Even if you are not currently an ‘arts manager’, your views could contribute to this research – or you could forward this request to other people you know in the arts management field.  Here is a link to the survey:

Roger Fyfe, Senior Curator Anthropology at Canterbury Museum, delivered the 2010 McMillan Brown Lecture series in Christchurch last November. These are now being played on National Radio. The first in the series, ‘Who Owns the Past?’, aired on Sunday 27 March, and surveys the development of museums in New Zealand in the 19th and 20th centuries. If you missed the broadcast, I highly recommend that you download or listen to this fascinating lecture on the Radio NZ website here.

And for those who are interested in images of post- (and pre-) earthquake Christchurch, there is very good high re aerial imagery here.

We’re now in final count-down to the MA11 conference in Nelson. We are expecting around 150 delegates and speakers, and looking forward to some insightful discussion, catching up with friends and colleagues, and having some fun as well. We will be announcing the winners of the 2011 NZ Museums Awards, and electing new Board members at the AGM. Election and voting information will be emailed to members next week.

Kia ora ano,

Phillipa and Sophie

Air Force Museum assist salvaging Lyttelton museum artifacts

Helping hand for Lyttelton Museum

In early March the Air Force Museum of New Zealand, located at Wigram, was approached to see if assistance could be provided to help salvage and store some of the more vulnerable items from Lyttelton Museum. The building sustained severe damage on 22 February and was on the verge of collapsing. The honorary curator, a 90+ year old gentleman, was very distraught and anxious that the collection should be saved. In addition to general Lyttelton ephemera, the collection contains important maritime material relating to Lyttelton, as well as Antarctic objects that are second only to those held by Canterbury Museum.

After some planning and purchase of materials a small team of mainly curatorial staff drove to Lyttelton via the tunnel on Friday 4 March. The damage to many of Lyttelton’s historic buildings was extensive and severe. On reaching Lyttelton
Museum it was clear that the team would not be entering the building because of the risk of collapse and concern for public safety. Members of the Lyttelton Volunteer Fire Brigade, armed with instructions about what objects needed to be removed and a determination to succeed in doing so, entered the building and began bringing out the treasures. Air Force Museum staff set up a packing area located between the unstable museum building on one side and the road to the port on the other along which large articulated trucks were continually travelling to get supplies through to Christchurch and beyond. The rescued objects were carefully packed and transported back to Wigram for temporary storage.

By day’s end about 25% of the collection had been rescued and placed in safe storage at Wigram, much to the relief and delight of the museum’s honorary curator. It is hoped that the building can be stabilised so that the remainder of the collection can be saved. For those staff involved, it was a challenging, rewarding and thoroughly interesting day, and a very satisfying opportunity to handle precious local community treasures and to help our fellow museum colleagues.
David Watmuff
Collections manager
Air Force Museum of New Zealand

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