Archive for the 'News & Notices' Category

News Update 21 April 2016

Kia ora

In late 2015 MA and Te Papa held a series of sector collaboration workshops, which we summarised in an open letter last November. Since then we have continued to work with Te Papa on specific priorities and actions. MA and Te Papa have jointly set out work to date and some targets and timeframes here. You are invited to contribute to and provide feedback on these priorities for sector collaboration and we will continue to provide updates on progress.

Here in the MA office we are very busy wrangling the MA16 Museums Australasia conference and ServiceIQ 2016 NZ Museum Awards. With over 500 delegates already, we have room for a few more, and you can still register for adjunct events such as the Digital Academy, EMP mini-conference, Graduate Research Symposium and Kaitiaki/Indigenous hui. Visit the MA16 website for all details.

ServiceIQ NZ Museum Awards finalists will be announced this week. The winners will be announced at a reception at the Aotea Centre from 5.15pm on Wednesday 18 May – which happens to be International Museum Day. It will be a celebration of international scale as we present the winners of the Museums Australia and MAPDA Awards at the same event.  We are inviting finalists/winners and would-be winners to take part in a masterclass on the morning of Thursday 19 May.

Elsewhere, a working group of museum professionals has been developing Operational Guidelines for Working Objects – items which are part of your collection, and which you demonstrate or operate for visitors. A draft has now been prepared for sector feedback – see notice below and on our website.

And in community matters, councils around the country are consulting on annual plans. We attended a session in Wellington recently to provide input on Wellington City Council’s proposed priorities – for arts and culture alongside other areas of council responsibility. It was good to see representatives of a wide range of arts, culture and heritage organisations taking part, showing that we are interested and engaged is vital if our value is to be recognised.

Nationally, we have been told that reduced profits from Lotteries will affect the funding available from Creative New Zealand, and presumably also from other Lottery grants Board sources. For an overview, see this article in Non Profit Quarterly. We are keen to know how much this is likely to affect museums and galleries. Please answer these three questions via our surveymonkey poll:

  • will a 10% (or higher) cut in Lottery funding significantly affect your institution?
  • what kind of funding do you currently get from this source?
  • what action, if any, do you think Museums Aotearoa should take on behalf of members?

As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback. We look forward to hearing from you via our poll, and to connecting with many of you at MA16 in Auckland next month.

Ngā mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 5 February 2016

Kia ora

February already! Summer continues, cruise ships disgorge their passengers around the country, campervans are everywhere, and Chinese New Year holiday visitors are arriving. With school back this week, we’re getting into the year’s activities.

Opening this week is the new Waitangi Museum and long-awaited reopening of Christchurch Art Gallery, followed the week after by CoCA. Very different in origins and aims, the Waitangi and Christchurch openings are all encouraging signs that the value of museums to their various communities is being understood and supported.

MA and Local Government NZ are currently working on bringing together a range of voices and data to help quantify and articulate this value. Several recent and current initiatives are relevant.

This week Te Papa hosted an Australasian Visitor Research Forum, a day in which about 50 people from museums, galleries, zoos, outdoor amenities, universities and research agencies gathered to share perspectives and experience on understanding visitors.  Similar annual forums have been recently in Australia, and this is the first time in Aotearoa.  It is hoped that some of the presentations can be shared more widely, and that this dialogue continues, especially linking research and theory to practice in museums.

Another theory/practice symposium in Wellington this week explored research into intercultural dialogue and understanding generated through international exhibition exchange. Dr Lee Davidson (Vicotria University of Wellington) and her colleague Leticia Perez from Mexico have interviewed both visitors and museum staff involved in two touring shows in several countries: ‘E Tu Ake’ in Mexico, Quebec, Paris and Te Papa; and ‘Aztecs’ in Mexico, Te Papa, Melbourne and Sydney. The symposium was an excellent opportunity for some of those involved to share in the preliminary findings and extend the discussion into the broader area of cultural diplomacy. Such cross-disciplinary conversations are vital to encourage critical and innovative thinking and bring new energy into museum practice.

The importance of robust data to provide evidence of our work, especially to funders, came through in both these forums.  MA is running our National Visitor Survey this month, and we encourage all museums and galleries to participate. The standardised methodology offers statistically reliable data to participating museums, which can then be used and viewed against the national aggregate.  This annual snapshot provides vital baseline information to complement local data such as total visitation and qualitative feedback on exhibitions. It was referred to by several presenters at the Visitor Research Forum.

Information about the National Visitor Survey can be found here or by contacting survey@museumsaotearoa.org.nz. We are looking for volunteers to help with interviewing across the country, and encourage staff – especially management – to take a turn as well.  It’s amazing what insights you can get from talking directly to visitors. Talei and I are looking forward to helping out in some museums and galleries locally.

Back in the office its full steam ahead with MA16 conference and the 2016 ServiceIQ NZ Museum Awards.

Ngā mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 21 January 2016

Kia ora

Welcome back to our regular News Update for 2016. We hope you had an enjoyable and relaxing festive season and wish all our members and friends a very happy new year.

The summer has seen record tourism figures, including increases in all our international markets.

Media coverage over summer for museums and galleries has been very good, and we hope that reflects increased engagement. Internationally, the news is not so encouraging, with the UK in particular facing ongoing funding cuts. And we must acknowledge the passing of David Bowie, who has influenced more than a generation of cultural creation – may his legacy continue.

In Australia, an unwelcome Christmas present was delivered to the arts and culture sector with the announcement of budget cuts which will scrap the Book Council, and cut $36.8 million from government-funded museums and galleries, mainly those in Canberra. This comes after cuts announced and partially rescinded earlier this year during political upheavals, particularly affecting funding for the Australia Council.

With most museum and gallery funding in New Zealand coming from local councils, we will need to be well-prepared for our council elections in October 2016. MA is working on the evidence base for the value of our institutions, and how we can get our message across more effectively. We are launching a project to collaborate with the wider arts, culture and heritage sector and Local Government NZ to review current research information, with the aim of preparing advocacy material for members.

At MA we’re straight back into planning for our joint MA16 conference with Museums Australia, with more updates on the programme due out at the end of the month. Earlybird registration is available until 19 February, and includes a 10% discount for 3 or more delegates from the same organisation.

Don’t forget, MA is seeking participants for a pilot mentoring scheme to take place in the Auckland region during 2016. Applications are invited by Thursday 28th January. More information and application forms can be found here.
And please check the listings below for new activities and opportunities…

We look forward to catching up with you soon.
Ngā mihi
Phillipa and Talei

News Update 6 August, 2015

Kia ora

After the excitement of opening the Len Lye Centre, it’s disappointing to see that the reopening of Christchurch Art Gallery looks like being delayed until 2016.

There is also gloomy news on the economy, with record low dairy payout and falling exchange rate causing concern. A briefing by BERL Chief Economist Ganesh Nana this week advised caution, but did note the positive effect of a lower exchange rate on international tourism. I don’t expect any easing of the budget pressure on our sector in the foreseeable future! So we need to make sure our funders know how vital we are to tourism and well as local communities. MA is working on tools and data to support advocacy, and you can see the video of Dr Nana’s presentation on Value to MA14 here.

MA staff and Board members are busy this month with our regional meetings. The first two hosted by the Dowse and Aratoi have heard of some interesting new projects and participants have had really engaged debates on ethical matters. The workshops have shown that the same ethical scenario can have very different implications depending on the particular organisation and the individuals involved – especially when it comes to conflicts of interest.

We are enjoying the opportunity to talk to members at these meetings, and hear about what’s currently top priority or biggest concern.  Even if you can’t make it to a meeting, we’re always keen to hear from you.

Ngā mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 21 July, 2015

Kia ora

MA regional meetings are being held from late July to early September. These are an opportunity to meet up with colleagues, visit other museums, share latest ideas and explore the practicalities of the MA Code of Ethics in a friendly and supportive workshop session. See here for dates and locations.

This week the UK Museums Association has released it’s draft revised Code of Ethics.
Like our own CoE, it is principle-based, and is intended to help museums and those who work in them to make informed decisions, and to provide guidance on professional practice.

There’s lots of professional development and networking activity coming up around the country in the next couple of months. As well as our MA regional forums, there are NDF BarcampsRegional Tourism Summits, and several conferences – see new listings below and details on our website.

And while we’re talking about networking and collaboration, news is out about a new approach to collecting – Christchurch Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery have jointly purchased a major work by Shane Cotton. ‘Haymaker Series I-V’ will be previewed at DPAG on 30 July, then co-owned and displayed by the two galleries. Maybe the ‘distributed national collection’ concept is coming of age?
wellington

With the school holidays over, there are some special events coming up to enliven the winter. This weekend Wellington celebrates its 150th anniversary, as the capital, with a wide range of museum activities. You can draw a City Councillor at the Portrait Gallery, take a sneak peak at Wellington Museum’s new Attic space, see a light and sound show at Old St Paul’s, and go on Open House tours at the City Gallery and Te Papa.

Len Lye

And best wishes to the Govett-Brewster team as you count down to the opening on the Len Lye Centre this weekend – we love all the shiny photos already appearing on Facebook and Twitter.

Ngā mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 9 June 2015

Kia ora

We are delighted to see Betty Nelley receiving the Queen’s Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced at the weekend. Betty has been a strong promoter of museums and heritage through her work at the Kauri Museum and across Northland. Up to her retirement as Chief Executive last year, Betty expanded the Kauri Museum’s role in tourism, science and the wider community, as well as providing active support to colleagues through the Northland Museums Association. Betty continues to be involved in both heritage and tourism through her work as a guide with Grand Pacific Tours, and voluntary work with the RSA. This kind of public recognition is also recognition of the importance of heritage to the communities in which we operate. When interviewed, Betty is humble, and has acknowledged all those she has worked with over the years. The Kauri Museum won a New Zealand Museum Award for Innovation in 2013 for achieving CarboNZero Certification.

MA2015SYD-SydneyTownHall
Phillipa recently attended the Museums Australia national conference in Sydney’s rather imposing Town Hall. Falling immediately after MA15 in Dunedin, MA2015 was interesting, engaging, and very busy. New Zealand was quite well-represented, with presentations by Sally Manuireva (Auckland Museum), Paul Rowe (Vernon Systems), Christina Hardy (Te Papa) and Phillipa Tocker. We also caught up with colleagues who have moved across the Tasman, and gave a promo for MA16 in Auckland. Check out the Twitter feed at #ma2015syd.

MA16 – Museums Australasia
The first joint conference of Museums Aotearoa and Museums Australia will be held in Auckland 15-19 May 2016. We are working with a local planning team as well as Australian colleagues to develop a programme which offers opportunities to share, learn and develop new thinking. In the next few weeks there will be more information and a brief survey so you can let us know what you would like to see in the programme.

MA Board
The new MA Board elected at the May AGM will meet in Wellington on Thursday 25 June. AGM minutes will be circulated with the next issue of MAQuarterly. If you have any items you would like the Board to consider, please contact the office or a Board member. Board meeting dates for 2015 are Monday 31 August (location tbc) and Thursday 12 November in Auckland.

Regional and other meetings 
There was a great turnout of the Northland Museums Association in the new Managwhai Museum on Friday 29 May. As well as their AGM and general catching-up, there were presentations from invited experts on disaster preparedness and recovery – a very practical and useful day for all.

We are already talking to some host museums about regional meetings during the July/August/September period. We are planning a Code of Ethics workshop for some of these, as well as ‘pitopito korero’ sessions. If you are particularly interested in hosting your colleagues for a regional meting, or have suggestions for topics, please let us know.

Science in the SUNLIGHT is the topic of a symposium being hosted by Te Manawa on Friday 26 June. This is an opportunity for museum folk interested in science exhibits, interactives and communication to get together and explore collaboration and latest project – and to experience the fantastic new interactive show SUNLIGHT – Ihi Kōmaru. See details below.

A date has also been set for the next Kaitiaki hui: 20 October at Waitangi.  The actual days are yet to be determined, to be part of the conversation, visit Facebook.

Nga mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 12 February 2014

Kia ora

Waitangi Day was celebrated nationally last Friday, and I was lucky to be at Waitangi for the occasion, for my first time. There was a happy balance of reflection, commemoration, celebration, peaceful protest, pomp and ceremony.

The estimated 30,000 people there were a wonderful mix of politicians, Maori, Pakeha, new New Zealanders and international tourists, all mingling in a friendly family atmosphere. The new museum at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is under construction. CE Greg McManus says it is on track to open for Waitangi Day 2016 – i hope to be there again.

Valentines’ Day this Saturday has inspired some innovative museum programming. Carter Observatory is offering ‘Romance under the Stars‘ with bubbles and a live love-themed astronomy show; and the NZ Maritime Museum in Auckland has ‘love on the sea‘ combining wine, cheese and sailing. These sound like fun – please send us photos of your events and activities to share, or post on our Facebook page.

Also this Saturday, the new Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage Centre will be opened by the Hon Christopher Finlayson. Although no longer Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage, FInlayson held that portfolio during the construction and fundraising for the centre, and approved $1.08m towards the centre. This came under criterion 6 of the Regional Museums Policy, on the grounds of regional impact and to partially offset the increased costs due to changes in design and building standards post-earthquakes. The project has been very controversial locally, and difficult in terms of timing, budget and completion. The cost blowout triggered a council-commissioned review which we noted earlier this year (Morrison Low report). With the opening imminent, the museum has moved in, but the plant has still not been successfully commissioned and the gallery will not be installing any art. Warren Feeney explored the issues in a recent opinion piece in the Christchurch Press, offering some much-needed perspective to the ongoing issues. The saga continued with Ashburton Mayor Angus McKay issuing a press release and being interviewed by Lyn Freeman on Standing Room Only. He and several others on various sides of the debate are in print again this week (no link as the Ashburton Guardian is not freely available online). We hope that after the building is open, and all the snags sorted out, the community will be well-served by a fully functioning art gallery, museum and archive centre.

Another chapter in the story about criticism of the sale of moa bones of dubious origin, TradeMe has pulled the online auction “while Heritage New Zealand works out where the fossils were collected”, reports the Taranaki Daily News.

Looking ahead for MA, we’re working with our hosts in Dunedin on getting everything ready for the MA15 conference, 6-8 May. Registrations are rolling in, taking advantage of the earlybird rate, open until 6 March. Please book your travel and accommodation asap as it is a graduation weekend in Dunedin and hotels get booked out. We’ve also received our first entry for the ServiceIQ 2015 NZ Museum Awards – entries are due on 19 March.

And watch out for news today from Otago Museum. I received an invitation to “attend an announcement regarding the proposed Planetarium and Discovery World Redevelopment” … watch this space!

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei


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