MA09: Culture: Access - Innovation

MA09: Culture - Access - Innovation

making collections accessible to more people in new ways

15 - 17th April 2009

One hundred and twenty museum and art gallery people from around the country gathered in Gisborne for our annual conference. A highlight for many was the day spent at Whangara Marae. After the formal welcome, Dr Apirana Muhuika (Chair, Te Rungana o Ngati Porou and Tairawhiti Museum Trust Board) talked about the importance of the museum to all the peoples of Tairawhiti. Derek Lardelli then told the whakapapa of the 'whale rider' wharenui. Keynote speaker Dr Ngahuia Te Awekotuku (Te Arawa, Tuhoe, Waikato), Professor of Research and Development at the University of Waikato, shared her experience of museums as sites of contention, where Maori stories – both 'authentic' and constructed – are being told.

At Thursday evening's awards dinner, a celebration of excellence, there was a surprise announcement of a Fellowship of Museums Aotearoa for Dr David Butts, Director of the Tairawhiti Museum. The citation emphasised his long service, positive influence and contribution to the development of the museum sector in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Others celebrated on the night were the three winners of Museums Aotearoa’s annual awards for excellence: the Selecon Award for Exhibition Excellence was won by Nelson Provincial Museum for Unpicking the Past;Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House at Canterbury Museum won the Innovation Award; and Warwick Smith won the Individual Achievement Award.

Josephine Hughes, designer at the Hawke's Bay Museum & Art Gallery was announced as the recipient of the prestigious Clark Collection / Creative New Zealand Scholarship for 2009. And the ATTTO Achievement Award for Excellence in Workplace Training was presented to Canterbury Museum.

Friday's conference sessions were headlined by Dr Kylie Message, of The Australian National University's Research School of Humanities. Using the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington as a case study, Message explored the roles of a museum of indigenous cultures, and what constitutes success or failure in meeting such expectations. Kylie's paper has now been published online in Museum and Society, vol 7 no 1.

Other Friday presenters gave insightful examples of collaborative and innovative museum practice closer to home.

At the AGM three members of the board were elected. Lelsey Colsell continues to be Chair of Museums Aotearoa, Greg McManus was elected by the Individual Members and Michelle Hippolite was elected by the Museum Members.

We were warmly welcomed by our generous hosts, Tairawhiti Museum, a museum that actively encourages participation and access for all. Gisborne was a fitting place in which to talk about issues of access to our culture.

The Museums Aotearoa 2009 conference was hosted by Tairawhiti Museum and opened up discussion and offered insights into how we can use collections effectively, providing access to diverse audiences through traditional and innovative means.

See Lynda Kelly's blogs from MA09 (scroll down to NZ Conference)

MA09 Programme


The 'reflexive museum' - opening the door to behind the scenes
Philipp Schorch, Reseach Associate, Te Papa


MA09 Photographs

Phillipa Tocker addressing the welcome gathering at Tairawhiti Museum
Photo by Dudley Meadows, Tairawhiti Museum


Welcome Function at Tairawhiti Museum
Photo by Dudley Meadows, Tairawhiti Museum

Education workshop
Photo by Dudley Meadows, Tairawhiti Museum

Whangara Marae
Photo by Dudley Meadows, Tairawhiti Museum

Whangara Marae
Photo by Dudley Meadows, Tairawhiti Museum

MA09 dinner guests at the Poverty Bay Club 
Photo courtesy of Te Runanga o Ngati Porou (photo Nikorima Thatcher)


Chair of MA Board, Lesley Colsell announcing David Butts as Museums Aotearoa Fellow
Photo courtesy of Te Runanga o Ngati Porou (photo Nikorima Thatcher)

Canterbury Museum recipients of the ATTTO Excellence in Workplace Training Award.
Photo courtesy of Te Runanga o Ngati Porou (photo Nikorima Thatcher)

Peter Millward accepting the Selecon Award for Exhibition Excellence on behalf of Nelson Provincial Museum by judges Jane Legget (left) and Priscilla Pitts.
Photo courtesy of Te Runanga o Ngati Porou (photo Nikorima Thatcher)


Josephine Hughes (left) current Clark Collection/Creative New Zealand Scholar for 2009 with Phillipa Tocker
Photo courtesy of Te Runanga o Ngati Porou (photo Nikorima Thatcher)


MA09 Logo Concept

Museums Aotearoa wanted local input into the design for the annual conference logo and promoted a competition through Creative Tairawhiti and through art schools and media in the Gisborne region. The winner of the competition, Wade Manson, outlines his design concept and inspiration below:

Thinking about the possibilities for a logo for Museum Aotearoa’s 2009 conference, graphic designer Wade Manson knew he wanted a clean, contemporary look that drew on the philosophies of both the organisation, and the theme for its annual get-together.

'The main theme present in my design is the cultural element, especially in the colours & the use of the koru. The colours, black and red, represent the Maori story of creation, while the korus represent growth, strength & new life. The modern style of the koru represents innovation. The orange colour represents the district being the first city to see the sun.

The structure of the logo represents my interpretation of a museum and accessibility. The use of the white space & the block form of the logo gives that sense of a structured organization. By splitting the panel I have shown that museums are made up of rooms with separate displays but they are always connected in some way to another with the use of the korus & the curves on the edge of the panels, which brings it all back into one element. The ‘09’ is cut off to show there is always more around the corner when at a museum.'