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MA news update 4 October 2016

We hear The Suter re-opening on Sunday weekend was loads of fun for all comers. Lynn Freeman talked to Director Julie Catchpole and Board Chair Craig Potton on RNZ The Arts on Sunday. For images, see Nelson Mail and Suter Facebook page. The Suter now has a refurbished heritage building and a shiny new addition, see information about the project here. There are three new exhibitions, a new website, and we hear the cafe is as fabulous as ever!

Waitangi Maori Performance

Waitangi Maori performers pose with visitors
(Greg McManus and Phillipa Tocker)

Congratulations to the Waitangi National Trust for winning the Maori Cultural Tourism Award in the 2016 NZ Tourism Awards last week. Having experienced their cultural performance and genuine manaakitanga, I know it is richly deserved recognition of the warmth and enthusiasm which the Waitangi staff share with all their visitors.

A member recently raised a query about the new Charities and Financial Reporting requirements. There have been quite a number of workshops run by Charities, DIA and others, and some more in the wider Wellington region for smaller entities (Tier 3 and 4) – 25 October – 3 November, see notices below. There is guidance, videos and templates available online from Charities or you can check with your accountant or local Citizens Advice Bureau. If you are still confused, please let us know.

Have you voted yet? Local council ballot papers need to be posted by this Wednesday, 5 October. The outcome in some councils could make life easier or harder for museums and galleries, so we’ll be watching the results with great interest. The advocacy workshop we’re running at this year’s regional forums looks at working with councils and other stakeholders. One of the museum volunteers at our first forum in Taranaki was also a local councillor. It was a pity he couldn’t stay for the workshop session, but he explained that he needed to keep on the move as it’s ‘shooting season’ for councillors!

We’re looking forward to many more interesting and engaging forums in the coming weeks, and to this week’s Kahui Kaitiaki at Takapūwāhia Marae.

Ngā mihi,


MA news update 28 July 2016

Today we visited one of our newest museums – the Pukerua Bay School Museum.

2016-07 Pukerua Bay School Museum staff

Our guides were founders/curators Paddy Rockell (art), Isaac Du Toit (history) and Aurelia Hercock Roberts (natural history), above (L-R) in the museum. Each of the three has a personal interest in museums, and after a successful ‘pop-up museum’ enterprise at Aurelia’s home in late 2015, set to work on the school museum in early 2016. With support of teacher Cat Lunjevich, they found out more about what a museum is and does, enlisted the help of professionals and wrote a Te Papa blog post. The result is an evolving museum, with changing exhibits and a growing collection, and three young people (ages 9-11) who are already envisaging their future museum careers. They have also enthused their schoolmates so that most of them are now museum volunteers – and also avid visitors of other museums. Look out for a profile of Honorary MA member PKBS Museum in a forthcoming MA Quarterly.

Last week I and some other museum and gallery people attended a workshop hosted by MBIE as part of their Creative Sector Study. The aim is to “gain a better understanding of the creative sector and how it interacts with the copyright and designs regimes. The study will culminate in a report looking at how the copyright and designs regimes are used by the various creative industry subsectors in a changing technological landscape.” They are not – yet – saying whether or not a review of the Copyright Act will be on the table, but the study will hopefully give us all a better idea of whether NZ’s copyright regime is in need of a major or only minor overhaul. It was clear from the workshop that I attended that there is currently a very wide range of perspectives, and almost universally poor understanding of copyright law.

I was alerted by the UK Museums Association to a new report looking at the symbiosis between philanthropy and public funding. Going Public examines the impact of private art collectors on public museums and collections in the Sheffield area, and concludes that, while it is increasingly important, “philanthropy cannot and should not be a substitute for government funding.”

We are planning our regional meetings and MA17 conference. Your Board will be discussing these in Auckland at its next meeting on Thursday 11 August.

MA News update 13 July 2016

Kia ora,

It may be cold outside, but there’s plenty happening in our museums and galleries this winter. Now that the school holidays are here, there are some great family and children’s programmes on offer around the country. Indoor activities in museums and galleries are a great way to enthuse youngsters and help caregivers combat winter ‘cabin fever’. Talei is on leave with her small boys and I hope that you’re all enjoying the break from routine.

While there may not be much snow down south for the skiers, there is plenty happening in Dunedin over the school holidays. Art, science and technology are being brought together to explore climate change in a collaboration between the US State Department and Dunedin’s International Science Festival. Two US artist/designers are working for a month with local communities, and the results of their project will be shown at Otago Museum.

During Leadership Week (1-8 July), the 2016 Blake Medalist (Sir Peter Gluckman) and Blake Leaders were announced at Auckland Museum, and the Sir Peter Blake Trust teamed up with Fulbright NZ to host an inspiring lineup of speakers to explore ‘Creating Enduring Leadership’ in Wellington. Check out the Fulbright’s video and #believeyoucan on Twitter to share some of their gems, eg MC Brad Jackson, ‘leadership is about asking questions, not dictating answers’.

Brad Jackson speaking at MA13

Brad Jackson speaking at MA13, Hamilton

Brad Jackson – remember him from his MA13 lecture on the museum as leadership hub and the Te Papa/VUW HKK museum leadership programme a decade ago?

Small museums can also take on big subjects, such as Aotea Utanganui in Patea looking at the history and future of transport in Crossing the Centreline. Further north, Mangawhai Museum has a new exhibition about local artist and farmer John Foster, and  These are just two of the many museum and gallery stories that have come to us recently – if you’re out and about over the holidays, look up your colleagues in museums and galleries.

Whanganui Regional Museum is embarking on a ‘transformation’. Director Frank Stark says that, “the upcoming Whakahoutanga project is designed to rejuvenate the Museum’s buildings and their contents with a combination of earthquake strengthening, reconstruction and refurbishment’. The museum building will be closed for about 18 months from 5 September 2016, with LEOTC programmes and admin being run from temporary premises.

Looking forward for MA, we’re working on our revised strategic plan, MA17 conference in Palmerston North, and regional meetings August – October 2016. This year we will focus on advocacy and collaboration, and are seeking your input to make them relevant and fun. If your museum or gallery would like to host, or you have ideas for topics, please contact us.
Ngā mihi,

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?

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

Medals and museums

Recent media attention has highlighted the proposed sale of medals and log books belonging to aviation war veteran Les Munro.

MOTAT, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Air Force Museum in Christchurch and the Otago Museum are working together to support Mr Munro to determine if there is a way that his personal wishes can be fulfilled while retaining his precious World War Two medals and memorabilia in their public collections within New Zealand.
The museums respect the decision Mr Munro has made to raise funds for the upkeep of the Bomber Command Memorial in London and are currently discussing a number of options to achieve the best outcome for all.

Leading these discussions is Mr Michael Frawley, CEO of MOTAT who says “we have a deep admiration for Mr Munro’s altruistic aims and we hope to work with him to realise these. Our primary goal is that Mr Munro is fully supported throughout this process whatever the outcome may be. The huge contribution Mr Munro, his colleagues and the entire Bomber Command made to World War Two cannot be emphasised enough and our museums will continue to highlight their valour, commitment and sacrifice.”

The museums, supported by organisations such as the RSA and NZ Bomber Command Association, are also collaborating with a number of their corporate sponsors to determine the level of financial support available for this project.

Phillipa Tocker
Executive Director
Museums Aotearoa

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943-2014)

Our friend and colleague has passed away peacefully, with his whanau by his side. We send aroha and sympathy, and our deep respect for the life he lived and the gifts he shared so freely.
Dominion Post notice
Spiritual Outlook interview (Aug 2014)
Auckland Art Gallery release


Embracing Digital Culture for Collections by Sarah Powell

In September last year MTG Hawke’s Bay opened its doors exhibiting the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust collection in a redeveloped modern building.  While the facility itself is a trailblazer for current architectural trends, the online presence of the museum was somewhat underwhelming. Through my role as a Collection Assistant specialising in digitisation, I saw a wealth of potential to highlight aspects of the museum’s broad collection to an online audience.

I was fortunate to attend the 2013 National Digital Forum conference where I was inspired by Simon Tanner who discussed ways of understanding the value and impact of digital culture. He investigated ways for cultural, heritage and creative sectors to cope with the challenges of meeting the public desire for digital content whilst maintaining curatorial responsibilities. His solution was the “Balance Value Impact Model” which he created to assess the value and impact of digital culture on users and adjust the content to meet their needs, rather than creating masses of digital content that has little or no value to anyone¹. Using the BVI Model I approached MTG Director, Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, with a strategy that looked at the ways social media could be used to leverage our existing online archive and photographic collection, convey the untold stories of dormant artefacts and create a meaningful experience for our online audience.

With his support my first approach was to use MTG’s existing social media pages to publish stories around objects with historical links to the Hawke’s Bay region. In line with current online trends a Pinterest page was created where we could easily curate themed photographic sets directly from our online catalogue. Further to this, multiple “behind-the-scenes” blogs were published to our wordpress site, covering our autumn installation of exhibitions.  We then established a fortnightly blog schedule and recruited participants from the collections team.

blog 1

Behind the scenes photos of MTG staff working on the autumn exhibition changeovers.

In consultation with the Collections Team Leader we embarked on larger projects which would add depth to our online resources. One example was digitising a recent donation of 150 letters between Bernard Madden, a serviceman in WWII, and the family he left behind in Napier when he embarked on his four year charge in the New Zealand armed forces.  These letters allow for an otherwise unseen view of military service and the home front in what was certainly a tumultuous time.

L: Letter from Bernard Madden, 20 September 1941, gifted by Barbara Madden, collection of Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 2013/65/10. R: Bernard Madden, photograph courtesy of Barbara Madden.

L: Letter from Bernard Madden, 20 September 1941, gifted by Barbara Madden, collection of Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 2013/65/10. R: Bernard Madden, photograph courtesy of Barbara Madden.

Another project was photographing a selection of Art Deco Textiles from the HBMT collection in time for Art Deco Weekend and sharing them online in an image gallery. This allowed for the extremely fragile textiles to be viewed time and time again without the risk of being damaged through exhibition display. We were also fortunate to have a local secondary school student who completed her work experience at the museum earlier this year. As part of her placement she created a stunning photographic essay of the museum from her perspective, which we have posted on our Flickr page.

L: Lights, by Gloria Reid. R: Beaded dress and shoes, c 1920, France, gifted by E.C Blackmore, collection of collection of Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 84/95, 84/96

L: Lights, by Gloria Reid. R: Beaded dress and shoes, c 1920, France, gifted by E.C Blackmore, collection of collection of Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, 84/95, 84/96

However, the largest collaboration for the museum was linking up with DigitalNZ as a contribution partner by sharing our online content from our photographic and archive collection. From all of these efforts we have noticed a steady increase from online visitors, a growth in the amount of time visitors spend perusing our online catalogue and increased interaction and engagement with our online users. As we have yet to truly assess the impact and value our increased online presence has created for our users, judging from the overall increase in online visitors we are definitely on the right track.

Sarah Powell
MTG Hawke’s Bay
Collections Assistant Photography


Watch Simon Tanners’s 2013 NDF talk here

[1] Tanner, S. (2012) Measuring the Impact of Digital Resources: The Balanced Value Impact Model. King’s College London,  October 2012. Available at:

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