While we’ve been working towards this week’s MA13 conference on Hamilton, other things have been happening around the country. Te Papa has made a splash, opening a re-vamped art exhibition space for ‘Nga toi: Arts Te Papa’. The opening by Minister Chris Finlayson, was up-beat, with CE Mike Houlihan and Board member Evan Williams both sharing their excitement for refreshed and expanded art programme at Te Papa. After all the recent re-vision, shake-up and changes there, it will be good to see some positive, outward-looking activity.
Radio New Zealand continues to give excellent coverage of museums and gallery matters. Listen online to the Easter interview with CE Mike Houlihan on changes at Te Papa, MA13 panel convenor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, and Christchurch Art Gallery Director and MA Board member Jenny Harper interviewed by Lyn Freeman on The Arts on Sunday.
Some of you may remember Miri Young, who worked with Museums Aotearoa on the MA10 conference in New Plymouth, and received a Mina McKenzie Scholarship when she went to the USA on a Fulbright fellowship in 2010. Miri has sent links to two projects she worked on/is working on in New York which were profiled on the front page of the New York Times Weekend Arts section this week: Judd’s 101 Spring Street and Whales from Te Papa at the American Natural History Museum. Miri proudly thanks everyone who supported and encouraged her on either or both of these projects. It’s great to see Miri doing such interesting work, and we look forward to her eventual return home to bring her experience back to our museum profession.
Meanwhile, some of our advocacy work has paid off. Earlier in the year MA asked the Ministry of Education for some clarification on LEOTC funding. Their proposed review of LEOTC seemed to have stalled, and many museums were in the dark as to what might happen when current contracts expire. In answer to our request for information, we were told by MoE that, “The Ministry will be offering providers the opportunity to extend all current LEOTC contracts through variation to June 2014, as it considers future options for the LEOTC programme as a whole.” All current providers were to be notified by the end of March. While this is not a satisfactory situation looking forward, at least they have acknowledged that providers are entitled to be kept informed. We will continue to press the MoE for engagement and progress, and invite MA members to advise us of any changes or information that affects their LEOTC funding.
We’re looking forward to seeing many of you in Hamilton this week. Note that all MA staff will be at the conference so may not be checking emails and the like until next Tuesday 16th April.
Nga mihi, Phillipa, Talei and the MA13 team