On the road in the North Island – August 2019

by Sally August North Island Museum Development Adviser | Kaiwhanake Whare Taonga

Last month Paora Tibble, Iwi Development Adviser for National Services Te Paerangi (NSTP), Vicki-Anne Heikell, Field Conservator at National Preservation Office (NPO) Alexander Turnbull Library and I were on the road in the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and East Coast.  We had a full schedule of workshops, hui, presentations, and spent valuable time fostering regional and national networks with many museums, archives and iwi in these areas.

NPO Care and Management of Archives Workshop held at Greerton Library with attendees from Tauranga Moana Iwi, Libraries, Archives and Museums from across the Bay of Plenty. Photo by Sally August, Te Papa

Paora and I also recently got back from Wellington and Horowhenua where we had hui with our team, other Te Papa teams, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage (MCH) and the wider museum sector. For outward facing teams like ours it’s always good to come in to the office from time-to-time to share and hear from those dedicated teams beavering away in Wellington.

Mercury Bay Museum Manager Rebecca Cox, Ngāti Hei kaumātua Joe Davis, NSTP Iwi Development Adviser Paora Tibble and NPO Field Conservator NPO Vicki-Anne Heikell, Field Conservator. Photo by Sally August, Te Papa

One of the many organisations we caught up with was Mercury Bay Museum, where we met with staff, volunteers and iwi representative Joe Davis. It was great to hear about the region’s upcoming Tuia 250 celebrations and the museum exhibition ‘Twelve Days 1769’, set to open in September 2019.

Rebecca and her team have also created a Tuia related education programme ‘Little ship, big minds’, and over the next little while they’ll have hundreds of local tamariki coming through the museum. They also have the capacity to take this out to the school and education centres around their area.

In the above photo Paora is holding a copy of a book, When Toawaka Met Cook, authored by Mercury Bay historians John Steele, Richard Gates and Ngāti Hei’s Joe Davis. It’s wonderful to see the various interested parties recording and sharing their korero about this period of our history.

If you are interested in what other regions are doing, check out the Ministry of Culture and Heritage’s Tuia – Encounters 250 website.

Visit Tuia – Encounters 250 website

Tuia 250 ki Turanga (Gisborne), Te Ha Trust, local Iwi, Tairawhiti Museum, and many others in and around Tairawhiti are certainly gearing up for numerous exhibitions and events over the next few months.

Read more about Tairawhiti Museum’s Tu te Whaihanga exhibition in the Gisborne Herald

Programming that has already started includes Awkward Conversations,a series of four panel discussions marking the Tuia 250 ki Tūranga commemorations recorded at Gisborne’s Smash Palace.

Listen to the first Awkward Conversations panel with Dr Wayne Ngata and Mai Chen on RNZ National

A few days ago I caught up with one of the Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival programme organisers, Mere Boynton, and she shared their team’s outstanding programme of events.

Check out the full Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival programme 

If you’re looking for a Tuia experience in October I’d highly recommend coming to Gisborne and checking out what’s on offer. From the looks of what’s listed so far my issue is going to be refining what I’ll see from the endless list, while also squeezing in mahi in Te Tai Tokerau that same month.


NSTP and NPO visit with Peter Omer, President and Helen Ovenden, Secretary of the East Coast Museum of Technology (ECMoT). Photo courtesy of ECMoT volunteer Elise Miller

A friendly reminder to the Northland Museums Association members that are able to attend the upcoming hui on 18 October 2019 in Maungatapere – Vicki-Anne Heikell will be running a Preservation of Photographic Collections workshop, so please mark the date in your calendar and check out our Travel Subsidy grants if you need support getting to this training opportunity.

Find out more about NSTP Travel Subsidy Grants


Visit to Barry Brickell’s Driving Creek. Photo courtesy of Driving Creek staff

Paora, Vicki-Anne and I visited late Barry Brickell’s Driving Creek Railway, an artistic, environmental and engineering treasure trove tucked away in beautiful Coromandel Township.

Read more about Barry Brickell and Driving Creek Railway

We met with the Driving Creek’s board members and their magnificent Collections Assistant, Coromandel-based ceramic artist Caitlin Moloney. Sadly during our time in Coromandel we missed Driving Creek’s Curator Deborah Hide-Bayne, as she was overseas seeking inspiration from similar centres, aiming to bring back critical knowledge to help guide the preservation of this wonderful national treasure. Thanks again to Caitlin and the Driving Creek crew for their valuable time.

During our time in the Coromandel we also took the opportunity to stop in and see one of our colleagues, Emma Philpott, NSTP Resource and Content Adviser, who’s based in Hikuai on the eastern side of the Coromandel peninsula. A huge thank you Emma and whanau for your kind hospitality and our fruitful time together.

It’s always a privilege to visit other rohe and see, hear what’s happening at a grass-roots level, this helps national reaching teams like ours keep it real.


Western Bay Museums Governance Board representatives and staff. Photo by Western Bay Museum volunteer

Western Bay Museum’s wonderfully carved pou at its entrance. Photo by Sally August, Te Papa
Sandra Haig at the Katikati Community Archive located just across the road from the Western Bay Museum. Photo by Paora Tibble, Te Papa

Just south of Coromandel, in the Western Bay of Plenty, the Katikati Community Archive is located just across the road from the Western Bay Museum in Katikati. These dedicated teams of staff and volunteers are a powerhouse with clear understanding of what each is collecting, ensure no cross overs and double ups.

Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre and Museum. Photo by Sally August, Te Papa

Thank you to Dr Bridget Mosley, Director at the Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre and Museum for your time meeting with myself and Victoria Esson, Head of National Services Te Paerangi. We had a great visit.

As a result of hui in this part of the country, Mokau and Waitomo Museum teams are currently working with NSTP Iwi Development Manager, Migoto Eria, to arrange a Role of Maori in Museums – tikianga workshop in the area. This is likely to take place in the next few months – keep an eye out for details through our next e-newsletter and on our sector events listings.

Check out the Sector Events Calendar

Cat Jehly, Operations Manager and Manaaki Pene, Collection Curator, Taonga Maori at Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga O Te Arawa. Photos by Cat Jehly and Manaaki Pene, Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga O Te Arawa

Congratulations to the Rotorua Museum team for the recent funding announcement. In July we got the marvellous opportunity to catch-up with Cat and Manaaki and hear all about the outstanding mahi this team has been doing with their community and collections, especially since the closure of their iconic museum building.

I’m sure this announcement will springboard this powerhouse team and many other supporters into another stage of development for this museum. We look forward to hearing more, and seeing how we can continue to support Rotorua.

Radio Foxton On the Air 105.4 FM. Photo by Sally August, Te Papa

MAVtech, the National Museum of Audio Visual Technology and others in the Foxton area are leading this lovely town towards becoming a little GLAM’s hotspot for the Horowhenua. The highly experienced and capable MAVtech team has many developments underway and Paora and I had the privilege of being introduced to just some of what’s on offer not only at this museum, but in the wider Foxton area. 

I personally was excited to hear about MAVtech’s active 24/7 radio station that’s run by a number of dedicated local radio buffs. I found out that its original radio licence started in the 1920s in my home town of Gisborne, before being moved to Wellington for a short period and then onto Foxton where it’s still in operation. This museum holds a wealth of interesting collections and the opportunities for community engagement, hands-on education programmes and events are endless. I wish them all the best with their continued developments.

MAVtech – National Museum of Audio Visual Technology governance and development project supporters including Janet Ellery, People and Partnerships Leader from Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History and Foxton Beach local. Photo by Sally August, Te Papa

For all museum, gallery, iwi / hapu and care or taonga and museum development queries please feel free to contact our team via email on natserv@tepapa.govt.nz.

The team and I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at one of the upcoming events or hui around the country.

Nga mihi, na

Sally August
Kaiwhanake Whare Taonga | North Island Museum Development Adviser

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *