On the road in the South Island – January 2020

by Judith Taylor, South Island Museum Development Adviser |
Kaiwhanake Whare Taonga

On my recent visit to Marlborough Tauihu, museums shared their recent development stories and discussed requests for assistance from NSTP.  Responses to Tuia Encounters 250 and organisations creatively turning disasters into opportunities were highlights. 

Havelock Museum reaps rewards

The Havelock Museum volunteer committee have always worked steadily on their redevelopment plans. Over the last ten years they have planned and completely redeveloped one of their buildings with a new roof, covered windows and displays. There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to their professionally designed exhibition area that has encouraged them to carry on to the next project, and to respond to visitor survey feedback. As requested a new area will focus on Ngāti Kuia and Rangitāne history and the area’s family histories. A feasibility study is being prepared.

Time and effort has also gone in to ensuring that the buildings are maintained, things run smoothly, the collection policy is followed, collections are safely housed and machinery is described, is off the ground and undercover.    Tools to help with planning are available through NSTP Museum Development Advisers, Iwi Development Adviser and through NSTP resources on the Te Papa website.

Find out more about the Development Adviser service

Browse the Running a Museum How to guides on the Te Papa website

Rising from the Rubble

Flaxbourne Museum at Ward was demolished after the Kaikoura/Waiau earthquake. The tiny museum was an essential repository for precious local collections and archives.  The museum now has a new trust, Flaxbourne Heritage Trust, and plans for a new small scale museum and library have been drawn up. They have just heard that a major Lotteries grant has been approved so that work can start in earnest. The museum and community has been through such hard times, the new development has huge community support and will provide a rejuvenating hub for the rural area and attraction for visitors. The Flaxbourne area has a rich and fascinating history to share.

Watch this space. Sally Peter, who along with Jack Taylor, is a stalwart guardian of Flaxbourne’s heritage. Sally is outside the gates of the proposed site. Photo Judith Taylor, Te Papa

Disaster response

Collections stored offsite following emergencies can be at greater risk. Sadly the Flaxbourne Museum also suffered a theft of some stored items at the end of last year. ICCROM and UNESCO have produced Endangered Heritage: Emergency Evacuation of Heritage Collections, a practical handbook available for free download.

Download Endangered Heritage: Emergency Evacuation of Heritage Collections

 You can contact NSTP for assistance with disaster preparedness, whether that is developing an emergency plan or running a workshop in your area.

Find NSTP contact details

Tuia Encounters 250

Museums in the region are participating in Tuia Encounters 250 celebrations with exhibitions and events. Cook’s Endeavour sailed into Meretoto Ship Cove in Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound in 1769. It is also ten years since the repatriation of ancestral remains to Te Pokohiwi a Kupe (Wairau Bar) overseen by Rangitāne o Wairau.

The Millennium in Blenheim collaborated with Ngā Pakiaka Mōrehu o Te Whenua Trust (formed following Treaty of Waitangi settlements with Rangitāne o Wairau, Ngā Apa ki te Rā Tō and Ngāti Kuia settlements in 2014) and Dr Peter Meihana (Ngāti Kuia, Rangitāne, Ngāti Apa, Ngāi Tahu) who curated an exhibition Te Pokohiwi O Kuperevisiting Past Voyages. This exhibition of contemporary iwi art created by local iwi artists, taonga and art works from public collections, retells the stories of the ancestors who discovered Tauihu such as Kupe and Te Hau. Artists include Clarry Neame, Keelan Walker and Lewis Smith.

Embroidering history

The Marlborough District Museum at Brayshaw Park also has a Tuia 250 exhibition and a community initiated embroidery project that illustrates extracts from the diary of Joseph Banks, written by Banks in Meretoto – Ship Cove while on board the Endeavour in early 1770. The 18 embroideries were designed by Caroline della Porta, and are being completed by the Marlborough Embroiderers Guild. These will be used as a learning resource for heritage education.

One of the pieces from Marlborough District Museum’s embroidery project. Photo courtesy of Steve Austin, Marlborough Heritage Trust

Visitor growth and strategic planning in Picton

The ship Edwin Fox (HNZ Cat 1) is probably New Zealand’s largest wooden artefact. It is a major attraction for visitors arriving and departing on the Cook Strait ferry. Edwin Fox Maritime Museum Manager Karen McLeod said interest in the ship has grown annually and especially since it featured on the internationally screened TV show Coast. Plans for future developments are being considered and in the meantime ongoing condition checking, dry dock and ship maintenance and improvements are constant to preserve the ship and keep the exhibitions working.

Read about the ship’s history on local history website The Prow

The Edwin Fox, New Zealand’s largest wooden artefact. Photo Judith Taylor, Te Papa

The Picton Historical Society Museum has a new committee taking the museum forward with a fresh strategic plan. The committee hopes to complete the NZ Museums Standards Scheme.

Find out more about the NZ Museums Standards Scheme

Picton Historical Society new committee members (from left): President Beryl Bowers, VP Carol Dawber, Treasurer Steve Hall and Manager Alison Hinkley. Photo Judith Taylor, Te Papa

Car crash recovery

Renwick Museum turned a disaster into an opportunity. A car crashed into their building and totally demolished the old bullock dray and model bullocks outside, but dedicated committee members Ray and Sharon Welburn commissioned a “new” dray and bullock made from repurposed materials and a great street side mural of Renwick’s early days. This museum focuses on the history of Renwick township. 

Other completed improvements at the museum include a new gallery space with lights purchased through a Helping Hands Grant, collection cataloguing, labelling and inventory project, family history charts, digitisation of oral histories, fresh interior painting and new interpretation screens and labels.   

Find out more about the Helping Hands Grant from NSTP

Ray Welburn with the new plantings and mural at Renwick Museum. Photo Judith Taylor, Te Papa
Dray and bullock made from repurposed materials at Renwick Museum. Photo Judith Taylor, Te Papa

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