News Update August 27, 2013

Kia ora,

Wen Powles, Puawai Cairns and Vera Mey shared some fascinating insights at a museums and galleries session of the annual Diversity Forum yesterday in Wellington. Chair Courtney Johnston introduced and teased out their personal and professional perspectives: St Paul St’s Vera as ‘the Asian curator’; Te Papa Curator Māori Puawai negotiating the territory of mana taonga both internally and externally; and Wen developing a international strategy for and with Te Papa. They talked about the complexity of the issues they are dealing with. What is ‘the’ Māori cultural norm, or ‘the’ Asian, when there are not only ethnic differences, but also generational, political and attitudinal as well, just as there are among any group of individuals?

An interesting case was explored through Puawai’s negotiations to acquire a gang patch for Te Papa’s contemporary Māori culture collection – working with gang members to explain her reasons, and the process of ‘earning’ as opposed to purchasing a patch for the collection. Rowan Carrol from the Police Museum noted that their collection includes a number of gang patches, each with very specific provenance, and that exhibiting them is another story entirely!  Thanks to Ian Wards, currently working with NSTP, for making all the arrangements for this forum.

Last week Statistics NZ released the International Visitor Arrival Statistics for the year ended July 2013. Key facts:

  • 2.647 million visitor arrivals
  • up 1 per cent from the July 2012 year (boosted by Rugby World Cup)
  • up 6 per cent compared to the July 2011 year

Where they come from is interesting:

  • Australia 45% of total visitor numbers (1.19 million), up 1% on July 2012 year
  • China 9% (0.23 million), up 27%
  • United States 7% (0.19 million), up 5%
  • United Kingdom 7% (0.19 million), down 10%

When we compare this with data from our Museum Sector Survey which includes annual totals from museums/galleries: 23% of museum visitors were from overseas (29% for large museums)
Data from our Museum Visitor Survey which measures visitation over a short period in February/March gives a very different total and further breakdown for museum visitors:

  • 42% of museum visitors were from overseas, and they came from,
  • Australia 29%
  • Asia 5%
  • United States and Canada 17%
  • United Kingdom 25%

In the latest Regional Tourism Indicators the rolling average index data for the year to July 2013 shows a decline of 12% for international visitor spend, and an 8% increase for domestic visitor spend over the same period.

On the positive side, the latest NZ Tourism Sector Outlook forecasts for 2013-2019 shows that the long term outlook for the tourism sector is for growth in visitor numbers and spending expected from Australia, the United States, China and emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa. This should more than offset the effect of the Global Financial Crisis on the number of visitors traveling to New Zealand from the United Kingdom and Europe. The report also predicts further change in the composition of visitors – their age, why they visit and how long they stay.

A reminder that the latest Museum Sector Remuneration Survey undertaken by Strategic Pay is now complete. The confidential report can be purchased by participating organisations, and also by non-participating members of MA. It is not available to individuals. More information for members is here.

And a reminder that we have new occasional guest blogs coming through. The latest is from one of our Museums Aotearoa members Michelle Sim of the Air Force Museum, who recently had an amazing experience, hitching along with two museum colleagues on an Air Force round trip to the UK. Also don’t forget to check out the new members’ section of our website. Introduce yourself on the forum by 5pm tomorrow and we will send you a T-shirt.

Ngā mihi
Phillipa and Talei
PS – last Friday we circulated our first notice about the MA14 conference – The Business of Museums. Let us know what and who you’d like included, and plan to join us with hosts MTG Hawke’s Bay in Napier, 2-4 April 2014.
Proposals for contributions are welcome. We will consider proposals for individual presentations, group presentations, forums, panels, quick-fire sessions, debates, professional development workshops and any other ideas you may have.Please send a brief outline of your proposal to Museums Aotearoa by 23 September 2013.

MA14 Conference: The Business of Culture
2-4 April 2014
MTG Hawke’s Bay, Napier


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