Archive for September, 2011

News Update 28 September 2011

The news is again full of rugby-related matters, with a few interesting snippets such as LEOTC funding and museum developments sneaking through. Even if you’re not a rugby fan, there is no doubt that the whole country is buzzing with events and activities, including museum and gallery programmes – and they seem to be well-received by visitors from far and near. The latest news round up is here in our members’ area.

MA12 conference
The MA12 team is planning a fabulous conference in Wellington, with great social events for you to meet new colleagues and catch up with old friends as well as serious sessions for your professional development. Keep an eye out for an announcement of international keynote speakers soon. We have circulated a call for papers. There will be a range of formats, from formal presentations to more interactive sessions with short talks, panel discussions and workshop-style otpions. Please send your ideas to us by 30 September, including an indication of what kind of format you think would work best. We have already received some great proposals, and the planning team will be meeting in early October to arrange the detailed programme.

Tourism data
The latest forecasts from Tourism Research predict income from Chinese tourists overtaking Britain and the USA next year. However, their spend will still be less than one third that of our Australian tourists. The average annual growth in tourist expenditure from 2010-2016 is forecast at 2.7%, This compares with an actual decline in international visitor expenditure of 6.5% for the year ended June 2011 and a forecast increase of 10% for 2011 – presumably because of the Rugby World Cup. With figures this variable, the proof will certainly be in the pudding!

Financial reporting
There are changes afoot in the financial reporting standards, relating particularly to small to medium non-profit organisations – which includes a great many museums.  The Minister of Commerce, Hon Simon Power, issued a media release on 14 September which outlines the proposed changes for different kinds of entities. For example, it is indicated that the External Reporting Board (XRB) is likely to accept a simple format reporting approach for registered charities with operating expenditure less than $2 million – this could reduce compliance costs such as audit fees.  There are position and consultation papers on the XRB website. The closing date for submissions to the XRB is Friday 16 December 2011.

National cultural policy
Both Australia and Scotland are currently consulting about national cultural policy. Across the Tasman, the Office for the Arts is now in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and has released a discussion paper which outlines goals and strategies for a new National Cultural Policy. The discussion paper specifically talks about ‘arts and creativity’ in terms of the future of Australia’s society and economy, and the policy aims to “embed the arts and creative skills in national life by recognising and strengthening the links between a creative culture and priorities to boost economic productivity, drive innovation and strengthen community cohesion”. There is a clear emphasis on innovation and emerging technologies, and the split between ‘arts’ and ‘heritage’ is of some concern. Heritage remains within the revamped Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Community – which includes historic places, indigenous heritage and moveable cultural heritage – and is not covered by this new ‘cultural’ policy. The discussion paper is open for comment until 21 October 2011, and the implications of the separation of arts/culture from heritage are worthy of consideration.

On the other side of the world, Museums Galleries Scotland has opened consultation on a national strategy for Scotland’s museums and galleries. MGS was appointed by the Scottish government to lead the strategy process, and will take on its delivery when finalised – an interesting model for government-museum sector partnership. The National Strategy Consultation document is open for comment until 8 November 2011.


News update 14 September 2011

It’s all happening!  The fabulous opening of the new Auckland Art Gallery, Rotorua Museum’s beautiful extension, Whangarei Art Museum – and rugby events everywhere.

Auckland celebrated magnificently for the re-opening of the Auckland Art Gallery.  There were various events, not-too-long speeches, much partying and lots of thank-yous, as well as rousing haka, thrilling waiata and a real live fanfare.  Now we really do have an art museum that is the equal of those in major overseas cities. A whole lot more of Auckland’s seriously good collection is on show, alongside the Robertson ‘Promised Gift’ of international masters, and some beautiful and inspiring new commissions.  The curatorial team have made the most of their ‘time out’ to thoughtfully recontextualise collection favourites and bring forgotten gems to light.  Of course it will be there for many years to come, but do go as soon as you can.

AAG lunchtime preview
lunchtime preview on opening day – nearly ready…
Chris Saines

Chris Saines' last speech at the official opening

AAG opening crowd

... before the crowd returns

AAG on Auckland waterfront
Auckland Art Gallery’s new branding is a hit with families on the waterfront walk

In Rotorua, I am told that a moving dawn ceremony was followed by a celebration which was suitably memorable – I regret that I could not be in both places at the same time.  However, I was delighted to go to Rotorua the following week, and see the superbly finished Don Stafford Wing, perfectly matching the orignial 100+ year old Bath House.  Inside, school groups and other visitors were totally engaged with the excellent new exhibits. And Pukaki – the ‘face’ of our 20 cent coin – has a fitting resting place at the entrance to the new galleries, which feature some magnificanet Te Arawa taonga from Auckland Museum as well as Rotorua’s own collection.  Another essential visit for museum people.

Pukaki welcomes visitors into the Don Stafford Wing at Rotorua Museum

There has been plenty of acrimony  over several years and a new flurry of protest in recent months as the Ashburton District Council debated whether or not to go ahead with plans for a new museum/art gallery/archive building. It’s great to see that the council has finally agreed to accept a $6.6 million tender and push ahead with it. Now there is only a building consent yet to be approved.  I do like the way the local paper reports every ‘he said, she said’ of the council debate – that way everyone knows who is on which side, and who is yet to be won over!

Diversity Award for Pataka
In other news, Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures has been recognised by the Human Rights Commission for its outstanding contribution to community-building and inclusiveness.  As HRC noted for Pataka’s Diversity Award, it “has become the cultural heart of Porirua City. In the 12 years since it opened Pataka has developed a reputation for showcasing the best in Maori, Pacific Island, New Zealand, Asian and other diverse international contemporary art & culture”.  See reports fromt he Diversity Awards and the Hamilton forum in August here.

Ethics of disposal
Those who were at MA11 in Nelson will recall a lively discussion of the ethics of disposal, which included the case of New Zealand-related objects fromthe British Empire & Commonwealth Museum in Bristol, UK, appearing on the open market with no provenance.  Another chapter in this saga has been published by The Art Newspaper. The article ‘Rise and fall of the British Empire Museum’ (3 Sep 2011) can be found here under the tag museums.

Official Information Act
In other news, the New Zealand media are again looking into losses and thefts of museum objects, especially the emotive topic of medals.  The recent arrest of an ex-NZ Army Museum staffer for stealing hundreds of medals shocked and surprised many, and has spurred some awkward Official Information Act (OIA) requests from the media.  One thing to note is that the OIA applies to government departments and to local government – but our advice is that organisations and collections which are governed by trusts are not covered.  This means that local government funded museums and galleries may be subject to the OIA for organisational matters, but collections that are the repsonsibility of a separate trust are not.  So if you are approached by journalists or others seeking information under the OIA, you may not be legally obliged to provide it – although you may decide to do so anyway in the public interest.

And elsewhere around the country, it’s hard to avoid mention of rugby.  Seemingly every museum and gallery has managed to relate current exhibitions and programmes to rugby in some way.  And a timely release this week of a Quarterly Focus report on visitor satisfaction by Tourism Research makes explicit correlation between visitor satisfaction, repeat visitation, and willingness to recommend – word of mouth being a hugely important factor in marketing the country as a destination as well as specific activities such as exhibitions and events. I hope all our RWC 2011 visitors are extremely satisfied with their experiences in museums and galleriesaround the country.

I wish you a busy and productive time while the country is consumed by rugby!

Ka kite,

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