News Update, 2 October 2012

Kia ora,

The latest news covers exhibitions, Te Papa’s purchases from the Les and Milly Paris art collection auction, lots of school holiday activities coming up, the Governor-General’s visit to the Eastern Southland Gallery, the go-ahead for New Plymouth’s Len Lye Centre, funding through Creative New Zealand for an theatre on Auckland’s waterfront, and more staff moves. The release of a new edition of the Lonely Planet NZ has 4 museums in its top 12 recommendations: Auckland Art Gallery, Wallace Arts Centre, NZ Rugby Museum and Rotorua Museum’s new Don Stafford Wing. There is also coverage of the passing of artist Don Binney.

Tonight this year’s Macquarie Private Wealth New Zealand Arts Awards will be presented in Auckland. Nine artists will be announced as recipients of awards totalling $405,000. You can find out about them and their public open day in Auckland tomorrow on the Arts Foundation website.

I was delighted to be hosted by the Northland Museums Association at the new Mangawhai Museum last week. Over 25 museum people from Wellsford to Kaitaia gathered to share their latest news and to explore the almost-finished Mangawhai Museum building.  We had a sobering session in which Betty Nelley shared the Kauri Museum’s recent fire experience, and Fire Safety Officer Mike McEnaney explained how to reduce fire risk.  He had an excellent booklet which outlines what small museums can do to prevent, prepare, respond and recover from fire.  And the single most effective measure is? – sprinklers.  We will be mailing copies of the booklet to all small museums later in the year.  if you’d like more information in the mean time, ask your local Fire Brigade.  Better still, invite them round for a cuppa and talk about how you can reduce the risk of fire.

Fire Safety Officer Mike McEnaney, with Betty Nelly and John Bull

It was great to hear all the recent exhibition, developments and future plans of museums in the north. I updated the group on progress on establishing an accreditation scheme for museums in New Zealand, and we had a good discussion about ethics and standards.  The NMA group has proved that getting together with neighbouring museums is a great way to learn as well as to share inspiration and re-energise, particularly for smaller museums and volunteers who may otherwise be working somewhat in isolation.  We had a very enjoyable day topped off with a friendly meal and entertaining presentation from retired NZ Maritime Museum CE Larry Robbins sharing his experience of rescuing yachties as Commander of the HMNZS Monowai in 1994.

Museum Sector Survey out this month
We have been working with a researcher and a small reference group to develop a new museum sector survey, which will be going out in the next week to all museum and gallery organisations. It is really important that every museum fills in the survey. Top-line data will be published as well as comprehensive analysis in a full report.  We will be using this information in our national advocacy work, working with the Ministry for Culture & Heritage and for academic research, and  you will be able to use it to inform your own planning and reporting. If your organisation does not get an invitation by email, or you have any queries, please contact the MA office.

MA13: Hamilton, 10-12 April 2013
We’ve had another meeting in Hamilton and the enthusiastic folk there are gearing up to offer colleagues a great conference around the theme of leadership.  We’ve invited some exciting speakers, and are holding our breath to await their response.  Make sure you plan to be in Hamilton from the afternoon of Wednesday 10 April until the end of the day on Friday 12 April…

Jane Ferrier with the Twins

While up that way I called in at the Waikato Coalfields Museum where Jane Ferrier showed me around their extensive collection and intriguing Topp Twins exhibits.

Last month MCH consulted on a discussion paper exploring the introduction of Immunity From Seizure (IFS) legislation for New Zealand. The MA Board has talked to MCH policy people, and attended workshops with others from museums, galleries and wider cultural sector. In general, such legislation seems like a good idea, although there are several areas of detail which will require more thought before any legislation can be drafted. We made a submission on the IFS discussion paper to this effect by the due date of 24 September. If you are interested in this issue and have not been part of the discussion so far, there will be more opportunities coming up. MA will continue to work with MCH as they work through the submissions and next steps, to ensure that all museum/gallery perspectives are considered, and to keep you informed of progress.

Congratulations to the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery for their wins at the Museums Australia Publication and Design Awards last week. CAGTPOW received awards for best magazine or newsletter (Bulletin) and website (My Gallery), as well as a commendation in the exhibition catalogue category and the judges special award – the ‘Be Inspired category – for De-Building. DPAG was highly commended in the Poster and Invitation categories and won for LOG in the Calendar of Events and Information Brochure category.  Entries for 2013 will open on 1 February.

And if you’re looking for some stimulating listening and weren’t at the lecture by Professor Dame Anne Salmond in conjunction with Puke Ariki’s Shadowing Venus exhibition last month, you can hear her earlier interview with Kim Hill on the RadioNZ website.

Ngā mihi, Phillipa & Talei

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