Posts Tagged 'Tarisi Vunidilo'

News Update 14 December 2012

Kia ora ,

As we hurtle towards the end of 2012 there is lots of museum news from around the country. The re-opening of Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, new exhibitions and summer activities around the country such as Te Papa’s gingerbread house. There are some controversies as well, with varying opinions on fundraising for the redevelopment of the Sarjeant Gallery, and a mystery surrounding Waikato Museum’s fake Lindauer.

The re-opening of Toitū Otago Settlers Museum was a series of celebrations, with guests from around the country as well as Dunedin and Otago. The museum has retained some old favourites such as the settlers portraits and Pixietown, hugely improved and expanded the display of key textile, social history and transport collections, and added new dimensions of interactive objects and information.


Toitū Otago Settlers Museum Opening

Director Linda Wigley spoke about their aim to move beyond the ‘book on the wall’ approach, and the enormous team effort which made it all possible. It was particularly encouraging to hear the Mayor, Dave Cull, speaking so positively and supportively at the civic opening, reflecting the strong working relationship between the Dunedin City Council and Toitū. The staff sang their waiata with feeling, and there were some emotional moments as key people were thanked, including project development manager Bronwyn Simes. Our congratulations to all concerned.

Toitū has had excellent coverage in the media, including this radio interview with Director Linda Wigley on The Arts on Sunday the week before the opening:

Congratulations also to Te Tuhi on being voted best Public Art Gallery in Metro’s Best of Auckland 2012 awards. The magazine is not online, but you can see what makes them so good on the Te Tuhi website.

In Wellington, policy and politics continue. Earlier this year MCH organised a series of workshops to explore the possibility of legislation for Immunity from Seizure, and we noted at the time that there was a move towards this in Australia. The legislation for Immunity from Seizure was introduced in Canberra recently, as the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Bill. We will keep you informed as this progresses on both sides of the Tasman.

The Charities Commission has been working on engagement between business and community organisations, and jointly commissioned some research with Creative New Zealand earlier this year. Their report is now published, and has some great insights and vision for how charities can design and achieve beneficial business/community partnerships.

Phillipa recently attended the INTERCOM conference #museumchallenges (see conference tweets) in Sydney. INTERCOM is the ICOM international committee on museum management, and the conference was attended by around 70 delegates from 20+ countries. There were really interesting presentations and useful conversations with people from museums – and museum associations and government agencies – which reflected many common challenges throughout the world of museums. Several people from New Zealand were there, including Tarisi Vunidilo, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Museum Association and Greg McManus, current Chair of the INTERCOM committee.


Phillipa Tocker and Tarisi Vunidilo

As part of the conference, the annual Stephen Weil Memorial Lecture was given by Frank Howarth, Director of the Australian Museum in Sydney. His title was ‘Do Indians Belong with Dinosaurs?’, in which he explored indigenous cultural engagement: the relationship of the institution with indigenous communities, and how the perspective of the ‘other’ is part of the story itself. We look forward to this lecture being published, and to the continuing debate.

This afternoon we are awaiting delivery of the 2013 Directory from the printer, which will be sent out next week. We also expect to open registration for the MA13 conference next week. We will be here until Friday 17 December, then closing the office until 14 January 2013.

And for your Friday afternoon enjoyment, check out the Museum of Coffee Machines in Milan – yes, it really does exist, set up by Gruppo Cimbali to celebrate over 100 years of business.

Ngā mihi,
Phillipa & Talei


News Update 25 August 2011

Kia ora

The news is full of openings and events, with excellent coverage of the opening of the Rugby Museum and Oceania (Te Papa/City Gallery Wellington) and lots of rugby-oriented exhibitions, as well as the people of Ashburton arguing about the future of their museum and art gallery – see the round-up in our members’ area here (you need to be an MA member to log in).

Earlier this week I attended the Human Rights Commission’s Diversity Forum in Hamilton. The presentation made to the plenary session by delegates from the weekend youth forum was especially encouraging. While they identified the expected issues of discrimination such as gender, religion and race, they also came up with solutions for including young people fairly and actively in all aspects fo society.

Diversity in practice – focus on youth

Following the plenary presentations, about 20 people gathered at Waikato Museum for the museums and galleries session. This was warmly hosted by staff at Waikato Museum, and supported by Museums Aotearoa and National Services Te Paerangi. We were welcomed on the museum’s marae ātea, and then taken through the Ngaa Pou Whenua exhibition by concept leader Moana Davey. She explained their exchange approach to concept and exhibition development, where ‘ownership’ is shared with iwi, and most of the material generated for the exhibition is to be given to the various marae at the end of the 3-year lifespan of the exhibition.

Sarah Morris shared her experience of developing The Mixing Room, a ground-breaking Te Papa exhibition developed with young refugees. Sue Superville and Kristelle Plimmer who had worked with Sarah were also there, and the project had clearly had a huge impact on their thinking. They had consciously stepped up from consultation and collaboration to co-creating, where the young subjects of the exhibition determined what and how their stories would be told. The young people’s refugee backgrounds were often traumatic, and the long period of project development raised many issues, especially in the personal relationships developed and the responsibility of museum professionals when their role blurs into social agency.

Puke Ariki curator Ruth Harvey shared what she had learned on her 2010 Churchill Scholarship study tour of the USA. Ruth had packed in visits to 30 organisations in 7 cities in 5 weeks. Although she must have been exhausted, she came back inspired with some great ways to work with young people, and has already put some ideas into practice at Puke Ariki. Ruth focussed on what is meaningful to young audiences, and how to make engagement meaningful, for instance through using museums as social spaces. Her excellent report can be downloaded from our site, here.

The fourth speaker was archaeologist Tarisi Vunidilo, who has held positions at Creative NZ, Te Papa, Waikato and Fiji museums, and is now secretary-general of the Pacific Islands Museums Association. Tarisi is particularly interested in young Pasifika engagement in museums, and highlighted the opportunities which have been developed through individual passion, personal connections, and building relationships with other organisations.

Forum attendees – from Taupo, Thames, Te Awamutu, Taranaki, ATTTO as well as other places that don’t start with ‘T’ – had a lively discussion about the issues raised. All agreed that the topic is important and fruitful, and it is very rewarding for museums and galleries when young people are actively engaged. I thank the presenters who opened their practice to scrutiny, the participants who took up their challenges, and look forward to more opportunities to inspire each other to explore meaningful engagement with young people.

On the way back from Hamilton I called in to the National Army Museum. Their exhibitions continue to evolve, with the medical services display evoking hospital smells, and Khaki and Black highlighting the Army’s active rugby tradition. They too are aware of their young audience, with signs on some tempting displays reminding parents that “we have trained our motorbikes not to climb on your children”.

A brief stop in Palmerston North was also a reminder of the looming rugby event. It was great to see the NZ Rugby Museum now fully operational upstairs in Te Manawa. The enthusiastic volunteers were very welcoming, and the displays successfully offer context and insight to their unrivalled collection of rugby memorabilia. Downstairs, Te Manawa was a hive of activity, with staff installing new permanent exhibits before its final stage opens in late September.

All the best to everyone as the kick-off draws near!

Ngā mihi,


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