On the road in the North Island – November 2019

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

Since my last On the road blog post back in August, I have visited many magnificent museums, galleries, iwi organisations, archives in and around Auckland, Rodney and Northland and have also helped organise and attend a number of hui and workshops.

Many thanks must go to the wider National Services Te Paerangi (NSTP) team and Vicki-Anne Heikell, Field Conservator at the National Preservation Office (NPO), Alexander Turnbull Library for support with this mahi across the country.  Kia ora!

In early December I’ll be on the road again, this time heading south to Wellington to do a few more museum visits, spending time meet with the NSTP team and others to discuss schedules for the year ahead.

Devonport Museum governance members and dedicated collections volunteers with Paper Conservator Vicki-Anne Heikell. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

Undertaking an assessment of Devonport Museum’s wallpaper collection, using a microscope converter to get up close and personal. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

While on the road I saw many of you working hard to wrap-up projects (and trying to fit in a few more) before Christmas is upon us, and its great to see our museums full of welcome visitors. Be sure to take the time to celebrate this year’s achievements and find some time to rest and relax.

Northland Museums Association Preservation of Photo Collections workshop held at the Packard Museum in Maungatapere. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share where you and your organisations are at on these visits. Some of you are facing challenges, which at times can seem insurmountable, but hui such as those organised by Northland Museums Association (NMA) are a great occasion to come together, to share struggles, and to offer solutions and matauranga.

It’s a real privilege to work with our museums, to be a part of this community and to help come up with strategies to get projects, your priorities and aspirations moving in the right direction.

Leigh Bosch and Toni Walmsley, Helensville Museum, Natalie Brookland and Georgia Kerby, Kiwi North working alongside others to identify the differing types of photographs. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

During the recent Preservation of Photo Collections workshop, NMA members got a chance to get hands-on with different items, learning how to handle photographs and identify the various types using online resources like Graphic Atlas, a tool that helps with the identification of printed materials including photographs. 

Another extremely useful resource shared during the workshop was the Canterbury Photography Blog, which holds information about NZ photographers and their successors.

Check out Graphic Atlas

Discover Early New Zealand Photographers on the Canterbury Photography Blog

NMA members John Swinney, Northland Medical Museum and Bill Fitness, Kaipara Vintage Machinery getting technical. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

While on the road Vicki-Anne pulled out a nifty little Microscope Converter, which provides 30x magnification. During numerous hui and workshops she shared how this could be easy attached to a media device, such as your cellphone. It is an extremely cost effective tool and is useful when working with photographs, textiles or even for those hard to see hallmarks on precious metal items.

Check out the Smartphone Microscope Convertor (from Kmart!)

NMA Workshop ending on a high note!

Thank you Tracey Wedge, NMA Chair, Geraldine and Yvonne from the Packard Motor Museum, Vicki-Anne and all the NMA members for making the NMA Preservation of Photo Collections workshop such a success.

Find out more about managing and care for your photographic collections:

Northland Inc. Destination Marketing Assistant Lisa Cunningham, sharing how they can support Northland Museums to be trade ready. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

Lisa Cunningham, Destination Marketing Assistance from Northland Inc shared with NMA members some insights into digital marketing, including how to leverage social media platforms, and reaching and growing audiences.

A highlight for me was hearing about the Northland Journeys project. I’m sure NMA members look forward to further discussions about how Northland Museums could be better profiled and the possibility of creating a Northland arts, culture and heritage journey.

Explore Northland Journeys

Thank you to Sarah Archer, previous Manager at the Clapham National Clock Museum, and now Trade Marketing Manager at Northland Inc. for making connections. It’s great to know that Northland Inc has a team member who has firsthand experience of museums.


Debbie Philpott and Brian Denton outside Northland’s Firehouse Museum in Kaikohe.
Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

Hokianga Archive and Museum in Omapere. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

Thank you to Hokianga Museum Curator Rae (Raeone) Dellaca and team for hosting Vicki-Anne and I recently. This powerhouse team have been undertaking a few collection development projects, and are looking to re-develop some of their displays in the year ahead. The recent Dog Tax War exhibition created by Hokianga Museum Volunteer Sandy Clarke was extraordinarily informative and has been a hit with museum visitors. 

Learn more about the Dog Tax conflict in Hokianga

Sandy and Rae have not only been volunteering numerous hours a week at their museum, but they’ve also been completing their Service IQ NZ Certificate in Museum Practice. It’s been fantastic seeing more museums undertaking this qualification, and to be able to support your completion. Keep up the great work Hokianga, and I look forward to catching up again!

Find out more about the Service IQ NZ Certificate in Museum Practice

A beautiful spot to support local artists: Hokianga Toi Box. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

Toi Box: Hokianga Community Art Gallery, is an artist run community art gallery in one of the best spots in Aotearoa. If you’re travelling through Opononi these holidays please be sure to stop in and show some love.   It’s an outstanding community project that took less than $20k to complete, with generous support from funders and community in-kind materials and services.

This is a wonderful kaupapa that left me and Vick-Anne thinking what other groups and communities could also achieve.

Check out the Hokianga Toi Box on Facebook

Kings Theatre Creative Gallery owner and Te Hononga Kawakawa Hundertwasser Memorial Park project facilitator Laurell Pratt outside Te Hongonga building site with Vicki-Anne Heikell. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

Anyone who has traveled up north will likely remember the Kawakawa Hundertwasser toilets, built approximately twenty years ago. Now a much bigger project in tribute to Hundertwasser is underway in Kawakawa.

Te Hononga is a community-led project that will encompass a community gallery with workshop spaces, a library with council services, a viewing platform looking out over the Hundertwasser Memorial Park and a native nursery, sculpture park, walking and cycle trails, built and designed in keeping with the environment and using natural materials and resources. Construction started earlier this year and it’s aiming to open in February 2020.

All those planning to come to the next MA Conference in Waitangi please be sure to take the time to stop into Kawakawa and visit this new community space.

Find out more about Te Hononga

Hear the members of the Kawakawa community share their thoughts about the project

Russell Museum’s governance and staff, including Director Kerry Powell and Museum Curator Kate Martin, in front of their new interactive AV experience. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

The Russell Museum team have worked with their community and other experts to develop a new interactive digital table, it’s a great story telling map that helps to show visitors how the Eastern Bay of Islands and its ecology were first formed and developed, and is an important feature of their Tuia 250 exhibit – Īpipiri (the Eastern Bay of Islands).

Next to Russell Museum, Haratu – Kororāreka Marae and the area surrounding was the waka launching and display space during the recent Bay of Islands Tuia 250 commemorations and celebrations.

Warkworth Museum Manager Victoria Joule with the Silverdale Museum team showing you certainly can have fun while learning about preservation of collections! Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

Thank-you to the wonderful Warkworth Museum kaimahi for your outstanding kai, and tautoko of the Rodney Museums Association Workshop – we couldn’t have done it without you!

No-one went hungry during the full day Rodney Museums Association Workshop, thanks team. Photographer Vicki-Anne Heikell, NPO

Vicki-Anne and I had many wonderful opportunities to appreciate the mighty Kaipara from several vantage points during this trip, and we got to see, hear and appreciate the heritage that has come from this area and its many interconnected communities.

A perfect end to a couple of weeks on the road – a rainbow captured in front of Tinopai wharf, not far from The Kauri Museum and looking out over the impressive Kaipara. The wharf features numerous plaques acknowledging the many local families. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

I hope you all have a safe, prosperous Christmas and New Year and I look forward to hearing and seeing you soon. 

Nga mihi, na

Sally August
Kaiwhanake Whare Taonga | North Island Museum Development Advisor

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