Sally's on-the-road diary - December 2013 

Visits and meetings over the last few months have taken me to Foxton, Whanganui, Fielding, Masterton, Eketahuna, Pahiatua, Woodville, Auckland, Northland, Te Awamutu, and Napier for the MTG Hawke’s Bay opening. Cluster or network meetings included Northland Museums Association, Whanganui Heritage Trust, and the Waikato Museums Network.

Is there a museum cluster or network active near you? If not, perhaps you could rally local support to form a new cluster network in your region. Or perhaps you’d like to connect with one? Here’s just a quick list of clusters and network groups operating mostly in the NorthIsland:

  • Northland Museums Association
  • RodneyMuseums Association
  • Waikato Museums Network
  • Heritage Hauraki – Coromandel
  • Rangitikei Heritage Group

Other active networks include:

  • Whanganui Heritage Trust
  • Kaitiaki Maori
  • Registrars Network
  • Middle Earth Curators Hui
  • Directors of Small Museums
  • Young and Emerging Museum Professionals

The last Waikato Museum Network meeting was held at Te Awamutu Museum. Many thanks to Anne Blyth and team.

There many benefits to being part of a group of like-minded people! Clusters offer a great opportunity to share knowledge, experiences, and learning. Below is just a quick list of the kinds of benefits you could expect to experience:

  • Museum reports, updates, and project presentations
  • Networking and an opportunity to ask questions of your fellow museum colleagues
  • Peace of mind knowing that others are facing similar concerns or have the same queries
  • Having a strong collective and regional voice
  • Opportunities to work on shared projects with long-term benefits, or to share resources or expertise: e.g. collective marketing brochures, heritage projects, shared storage facility, collection inventory, eHive digitisation projects
  • Cluster training – workshops and expert presentations supported through National Services Te Paerangi’s Expert Knowledge Exchange programme
  • Focused meetings with training topics such as governance, management, strategic planning, and code of ethics, marketing, interpretation, collection care, storage considerations, etc.

If you’re interested in forming a cluster in your region, feel free to contact one of our team to discuss. If there’s interest in your area, we can come along and speak to the museum group about what National Services Te Paerangi does and some of the benefits from working within a cluster.

Contact me at

Taonga tūturu

Honiana Love speaks to the Northland Museum Association in Dargaville about taonga tūturu.

Taonga tūturu are objects that relate to Māori culture, history, or society and are more than 50 years old. At the recent Northland cluster meeting, Honiana Love from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage spoke about the Protected Objects Act 1975 – Guidelines for Taonga Tuturu.

If you are interested in hearing about the act and how it applies to museums, contact NSTP or email Honiana at

Find out more about the Protected Objects Act

Middle Earth Curators Hui

This year’s hui was held on 22–23 October and was hosted by the team at Te Manawa in Palmerston North. Special thanks must go to Tony Rasmussen and Susanna Shadbolt for the efforts they put into this two-day, presentation-packed hui.

The theme this year was Collections and Collaboration, and the hui featured around 15 different keynotes and special presentation sessions. Keynotes included Dr Noel Waite talking about participatory design, and Heather Galbraith on innovative curatorial practice in Aotearoa and overseas. Attendees had the opportunity to visit MasseyUniversity’s School of Maori Visual Arts Te Pūtahi-a-toi, and to hear updates from Steve Watters (Ministry for Culture and Heritage) about World War I projects taking shape around the motu.

Susan Abasa (Massey University), Jen Boland (The Dowse Art Museum), and Donna Takitimu (Te Manawa) talked about different models of community partnership and curatorial practice.

For a quick insight and some inspiring ideas I suggest you visit the website links below:

Pic ’n’ Mix – The Dowse Art Museum
Manawatu Weavers – Te Manawa

Approaching outside-the-walls projects

The Sarjeant Gallery staff spoke about their redevelopment project and curatorial plans, as did Meredith Robertshawe from the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. They both touched on the different programmes and events they have run and are going to be running in future.

You’ll see from the link to the Govett-Brewster website below, especially on the events page, that their art programmes are taking place in numerous places around Taranaki. I must also note that it was wonderful to have Peter Vangioni (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu) sharing knowledge and experience with the group.

Visit the Sarjeant Gallery’s redevelopment page
Visit the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery’s website

Peter Vangioni, Curator from the Christchurch Art Gallery

Tony Rasmussen introducing Dr. Noel Waite, whose keynote focused on Participatory Design

Many of the presentations and discussions made me think and question, and helped to clarify some of my own thoughts about the importance of collaborative practice in museums – the importance of ongoing relationships, connections, and outreach / crossreach, as well as museums and galleries reducing the need to control every element, allowing community groups, iwi, key stakeholders, students, etc to take the lead, allowing our treasure houses to become places for shared control. 

Attendees raised questions about collaborative projects with iwi and vulnerable groups in our communities, for example, projects run with homeless communities, and questioned how ongoing relationships were being maintained and honoured.

Tony and Susanna are rounding up papers as you read this and will have these up on Te Manawa's website in the next couple of weeks. 

I understand that the next hui will be held at The Dowse Art Museum, so keep your ears and eyes open for more information and calls for papers. 

Libby Sharpe from Whanganui Regional Museum talks about Whanganui Heritage Trust’s World War I centenary projects.

World War I centenary

What education programmes, activities, projects and events are you running for the World War I centenary? Below are some links educators in museums and galleries might be interested in:

NZHistory education resources
WW100 education resources
Many Answers website

How is your museum or gallery letting people know about activities and projects you’ve got going on in your area? Do you want to find out what’s going on elsewhere in New Zealand, or perhaps you’d like to add some helpful information for others about the World War programmes, projects, activities you’ve got going on? Have you visited the WW100 website?

Visit the WW100 website
List your projects on the WW100 register

Get your WWI collections on eHive

National Services Te Paerangi is developing a new sub-community of the NZMuseums website – similar to the Kiwi Chicks community site. This will be for museums to share their collection items and stories related to World War I. We’ll keep you posted on how you can get more involved!

Christmas and the New Year holidays are just around the corner. I hope you all have a wonderful break and get the chance to enjoy some of our lovely museums, galleries, and cultural centres around the motu – I know I will!

I’m looking forward to working with you at your place!

Ngā mihi nui, na

Sally August