Archive for September, 2013

He aha te kai o te rangatira? Guest Blogger Puawai Cairns

Kia ora koutou,

He mihi paku tēnei ki a koutou, ki ngā kaimahi me ngā kaitiaki o ngā taonga me ngā pakiwaitara Māori ki roto i ngā whare taonga o te motu.

Ko Ngāīterangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Pūkenga ngā iwi. Ko Puawai Cairns ahau, tēnā anō koutou katoa.

TitiroWhakamua

I was asked to write a blog in anticipation of the upcoming Kāhui Kaitiaki Māori hui (11-13th October 2013, Kohupātiki Marae, Clive Hawkes Bay).  If I manage to make it to Hastings, it will be my third Kaitiaki hui. The most recent was only this April in Hamilton, a one-day adjunct to the MA13 conference and I think there were about 30 of us assembled at Waikato Museum.  There were lots of new faces and what was so heartening was the surprising number of young kaimahi Māori. I managed to finally meet up with Manaaki Pene from Rotorua Museum and we swapped ‘How we got into museum work’ stories. When I swap these ‘origins kinds of stories with other museum workers, there is always a common maniacally enthusiastic theme of ‘I REALLY wanted to work in a museum and would work for free if I had to’ (I adore the ‘crazy’ in kaimahi). Unfortunately for the Hamilton gathering, we weren’t introduced to each other or given much opportunity to have a group exchange, which I would have very much loved. And there were some really interesting papers presented, especially laying down for our benefit, the history of Māori engagement in NZ museums as kaimahi and as source communities. But while these stories were and are important, it felt that much of the focus of the meeting was very much looking into the past, which seemed a little bit like a lost opportunity when surveying the crowd that was there to listen. So I left that meeting feeling unresolved, as if I could have taken much more away than I did.

A Māori Challenge  Christmas card, 'With the Compliments of the Season'; circa 1900s; A. D. Willis Purchased 1995 Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection

A Māori Challenge
Christmas card, ‘With the Compliments of the Season’; circa 1900s; A. D. Willis
Purchased 1995
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection

When we were swallowed up the next day by the many more attendees at MA13, I was also disappointed when the MA13 panels over the following few days separated Leadership and Bicultural Leadership into two separate sessions.  If bicultural relationships are truly important to museums in Aotearoa,  I would have loved to have seen non-Māori kaitiaki attending the Kaitiaki Māori meeting to share their ideas on that first day (as well as being able to have known who everyone was); and for Bicultural Leadership in the MA13 Conference firmly embedded in any discussions about Leadership. Mixing it up, engaging with each other, sharing ideas and, if necessary, have some furious debates.

So what am I hoping for at this next meeting?

A rousing welcome to our King's representative at Waitangi

“A rousing welcome to our King’s Representative at Waitangi: Warriors of the Te Arawa tribe performing a haka.”
Showing the welcome to the Governor General Lord Bledisloe and the Vice Regal party at Waitangi during the 1934 commemorative celebrations for the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. 6 Feb 1934
Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 7-A14690

  • Meeting lots of haati new faces from around the country as well as reconnect with old friends, and especially to hear the different projects that are in progress around the motu.
  • Encouraging attendance and participation at Kaitiaki Māori hui by non-Māori colleagues. We all share a deep love of the taonga that are in our care, it would not only be a great professional development opportunity for them but we’d also be able to discuss how we share museum guardianship, and museology culture in Aotearoa.
  • Lots of discussion at every opportunity to talk about the concept that is Māori Museology – have we defined that practice? Does it exist? Are there new ways to do things? Are there existing methods which have definitely had their day? What terminologies are in use now? Are Te Tipuranga, Te Puawaitanga, Te Huringa I, II, III still useful?
  • Have we talked about the Māori audience lately? How are we addressing them? Do we know if they’re happy with museums and how we serve them?
  • Ideas and debates about our responsibility as kaitiaiki within the museums of the future to Mātauranga Māori, to Tangata Whenua, our need to address to hybrid knowledge and practices, and how to best keep in step with where Māori are going to in the future.
  • What’s happening throughout the world in the realm of indigenous museology? How are international museums handling their source community relationships? What can we learn? What can we teach?Māori Peg Doll

    Māori Peg Doll by Alexandra Edmonds, 2011.  (wood, wool, cloth, ink, paper, burlap, feather, flax, rubber)  Gift of Alex Edmonds, 2011 Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection

    Māori Peg Doll by Alexandra Edmonds, 2011.
    (wood, wool, cloth, ink, paper, burlap, feather, flax, rubber)
    Gift of Alex Edmonds, 2011
    Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection

So imagining the future for Māori and museums, I dwell on relationships – how do we continue to build and learn from relationships among future professionals, future communities, and future organisations, for the integrity of future museum practice? But I don’t see this as purely a kaimahi Māori responsibility to develop or think through, I think it is a duty that is shared by all museums in Aotearoa and those of us that choose to do the work we do.

So I’m looking forward to being bewildered by all the new and old faces and, like I said, some hefty awesome kōrero. To everyone travelling there, travel safe and hopefully see you in a few weeks.

Arohanui, Puawai

For more information and to register for Tītiro Whakamua – Kāhui Kaitiaki Hui go to: http://www.museumsaotearoa.org.nz/t%C4%ABtiro-whakamua-k%C4%81hui-kaitiaki-hui

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News Update 10 September 2013

Kia ora,

Just in case you missed the weekend headline news, Te Papa is planning to work with Auckland Council and other Auckland institutions to develop a new centre in Manukau. You can read the government press release here. Te Papa advise that the next step is to work with MCH on a business case, which they expect to present to government in November. They will also “develop a plan to consult with stakeholders over the coming months. This is likely to have several layers or phases, as the project planning takes shape.”  We look forward to the sector being involved, and to exploring the potential of this bold collaborative proposal.

Last Friday around 70 ‘GLAMorous’ folk from around the country gathered in Wellington to discuss the future.  Actually, the standard of dress wasn’t the topic – it was the history and future of collaborations across and between Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums. The scene was set by Eric Ketelaar, Emeritus Professor of Archivistics at the University of Amsterdam, who discussed perspectives on collecting and making meaning of collected objects. He sees both similarities and differences in the various GLAM perspectives, which mediate meaning for the user in their own ways. Other speakers included:

  • Conal McCarthy, VUW – ‘practice theory’
  • Chris Szekely, Alexander Turnbull Library – ATL’s role as archive, library and exhibitor of mātauranga Māori, and the possibilities of a ‘GLAMāorious’ future
  • Rebecca Rice, Te Papa – historical fluidity and competitive collecting between national institutions
  • Brenda Chawner, VUW and Katherine Howard, QUT – shifts in focus from librarianship to information management, the development of core curriculum, and convergence in education for GLAM professionals
  • Shannon Wellington (VUW), Virginia Gow (MCH) and Mark Crookston (ATL) – discussion on building GLAMour through built, digital and organisational infrastructure

The day ended with a lively panel discussion in which National Librarian Bill Macnaught, Chief Archivist Greg Goulding, museum consultant Ken Gorbey and Eric Ketelaar agreed that each different strand of GLAM has something to contribute, while not going quite as far as merging. It seems that ‘convergence’ may not be as useful a concept as ‘synergy’ and ‘harmonisation’.

Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917

According to Scoop, New Zealand will host 121 cruises in the 2013-14 season. Cruise NZ forecasts the season will generate $311 million and account for 5361 jobs. Their website has information on what ships will be where – we hope that the cruisers will enjoy visiting our museums and galleries.

As a follow up to Andrew Matheson’s post about his tour of the ‘Western Front’, he has a request from Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917:
New Zealand friends in Belgium
In a recent guest blog I gave a brief introduction to four First World War museums on the ‘Western Front’, two in France and two in Belgium.  They’re all aware of the service and sacrifice of New Zealanders in their localities in that war, but none more so that the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917.  The museum is planning to take a travelling exhibition to Canada, Australia and New Zealand in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and is after help in two areas — provision of New Zealand content for the exhibition, and supporting/hosting the travelling exhibition in 2017.  If you’re interested, please contact the chairman of the Passchendaele 1917 society, Freddy Declerk.
Andrew Matheson, Director, First World War Centenary programme
The Emerging Professions group (EMPs) has been rapidly growing and various regions have been organising meet-ups. The Christchurch group is meeting 5.30pm, Wednesday 11 September at CBD Bar (http://www.cbdbar.co.nz/), 208 Madras Street and the Wellington group will be meeting Thursday 26 September – 6pm at The Library on Courtenay Place. Feel free to come along if you identify as an ’emerging museum professional’ or email Michelle Sim if you would like to know more about the group MICHELLE.SIM@nzdf.mil.nz.There are many useful and interesting events coming up before the end of this year. We hope to talk to many of you at MA’s regional meetings – your opportunity to meet colleagues as well as MA staff and Board members and have your say in our activities. There will also be the first conference for ICOM New Zealand members in Dunedin, a Talkfest at Objectspace, Tītiro Whakamua Kaitiaki hui in Hawke’s Bay, and Middle Earth Curators’ Hui in Palmerston North. See these and other happenings listed below.And the NDF 2013 conference is less than 3 months away, just before the pre-Christmas rush.  NDF is always inspirational as well as fun. This year MA offered to sponsor the mini-programme to help the conference budget.  However, that was already ‘sold’ so we have ended up sponsoring icecream – come along and enjoy!

Ngā mihi
Phillipa and Talei
PS – a reminder that we want your to hear ideas for MA14. Please send them to us by 23 September, just after the re-opening weekend of hosts MTG Hawke’s Bay – they’ll be looking for something new to work on!

Macrons, can’t live with ’em can’t live with?ut ’em or Museums Aotearoa’s new website – Guest post by Conrad Johnston

type

I’m Conrad Johnston, the man behind the all new improved Museums Aotearoa website and I’ve got a guest spot on your esteemed blog. Now, I could spend the next 400 words talking about requirements analysis, agile development methodologies, Drupal CMS, or responsive web design. Which are some of the things involved with the build of the new site. Or, I could talk about something I feel certain a museums practitioner would be interested in: history.

More specifically the history of the display of macrons over vowels in computer systems. Such as in the word Ngāruawāhia, which, incidentally, is where I grew up.

Our story starts with the humble typewriter. Bringer of the steno-pool, and a not insignificant part of the plot of Thoroughly Modern Milly. But I digress. Typewriters begat the Teletype machine, which was a kind of automated typewriter that could bang out the contents of a computer file. The era is the 1960s and the big computer companies (think IBM) needed a way to codify the letters on the teletype as numbers in their computer systems. 32 = A, 33 = B, and so on.

The solution they came up with was a system they called ASCII, short for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. This was important, so that all the computers were singing from the same choir sheet, so to speak. Unfortunately for us, this system only encoded 128 characters. Back to the typewriter for a second, this set of characters matches closely what an manual typewriter can type.

The other pitfall of this system was that it was only useful for expressing the English language. The delightful linguistic sprinkles such as graves, acutes and macrons were impossible to represent using this system, and you can just kiss goodbye to Asian languages. However, the USA was the powerhouse of the world economy for the second half of the 20th century, and everyone else managed.

Not only did everyone else manage, but quicker than you can say “where is the standards committee?”, other encoding systems were implemented to extend the range of ASCII. With narcolepsy inducing names such as EBCDIC, CJK and UTF-8.

So let’s cut a long blog post short and say that the world is still in flux when it comes to character encoding of textual computer files. However, the new Museums Aotearoa website, and database are encoded using a system called UTF-8, and this encoding, along with a modern web browser, means that you, dear reader, should be able to see macrons where macrons should be.

So enjoy your all new, linguistically sophisticated, forum bearing, membership managing website.

Ngā Mihi

Conrad Johnston

http://www.darnoc.co.nz


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