Museums Position Paper 2018

31 July 2018

Museums Aotearoa prepared a position paper for the incoming government to inform new Arts, Culture & Heritage Ministers of current issues across the museum and galleries sector. Subsequently, Associate Minister Hon Carmel Sepuloni gave a speech to the MA18 conference in May, and MA Board and staff are in ongoing discussions with the Ministry for Culture & Heritage to prioritise and action specific opportunities identified. 

Download Museums Position Paper

Download Minister Sepuloni's 22 May speech


Fire Services Submission by Museums Aotearoa

Update July 2017: The Fire and Emergency New Zealand Act was passed in May 2017. MA is continuing consultation on the regulations and transition arrangements for the new levy regime, due to come into force on 1 January 2019. We expect more detail to be approved by Cabinet in August 2017.

17 August 2016: Following our Pānui on 12 August 2016 which outlines the implications of proposed changes to the Fire Service, we have been drafting submissions on behalf of MA for the closing date of Thursday 18 August 2016. 

There are two submissions closing on 18 August 2016:

  • on the Bill which has passed its first reading and is now before select committee;
  • and to Department of Internal Affairs on proposed regulations.

By making joint and individual submissions we highlight the importance of the issue for the sector.

Here is what MA is doing and how you can take part.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill before the Government Administration Select Committee

This Bill, when enacted, will form a single Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) service, and provides for it to be funded via a revised and expanded fire service levy on property insured. While DIA has been working on the review for some while and has received submissions for the arts culture and heritage sectors, the MPs on the select committee are probably hearing from us for the first time. We need our sector voice to be heard - MA has written a submission which you are welcome to endorse or adapt.

Download the MA submission on the FENZ Bill here

We suggest that, if you use the MA submission, you add a covering note that adds your own perspective and highlights any aspects that you think will particularly affect you. 

To access information about the Bill and make a submission online, visit:
DIA Proposed regulations to support Fire and Emergency New Zealand

In tandem with the Bill going through parliament, DIA is preparing the way for the regulations that will be required by FENZ. This discussion document invites submissions on such things as levy exemptions, information required by FENZ and the phasing in of regulations. It is largely about the level of compliance that is being proposed, which to us seems onerous.

There is not (yet) any detail about the levy rate - consultation on this is expected in 'late 2016'.

We are making a very brief submission to DIA, and appending our more detailed submission on the FENZ Bill to it. If you wish to make a submission to DIA, we suggest that you refer to the MA position in respect of the Bill, and make any further comments about the proposed regulations that are relevant to you.

Download the MA submission to DIA here

To access the DIA discussion document and make a submission, visit:

You can make submissions to DIA and the Select Committee using online forms, submitting your document online, or by email.

The submissions are both due on Thursday, 18 August.



International Museum Day 2014

16 May 2014

NZHPT collection disposals from Highwic

15 January 2014

 2014-01_nzhpt_deaccession_advert.doc (Word doc)

International Museum Day 2013

16 May 2013

Celebrated every year on 18 May, the theme for this year is Museums (Memory + Creativity) = Social Change.  Download the Museums Aotearoa media release (pdf, 35KB) and visit ICOM's IMD website.

Remembering Rodney Wilson

1 May 2013

It is with sadness and respect that we acknowledge the passing of Dr T L Rodney Wilson on 27 April 2013. Rodney was a leader in the museum profession in this country and well known and respected internationally. He lead many of our museums and galleries, was founding director of Auckland's National Maritime Museum, retired after 14 years as Director of Auckland War Memorial Museum in 2007, and was made a Fellow of Museums Aotearoa.

Rodney Wilson accepting Fellowship of Museums Aotearoa, April 2008

Rodney's contribution went far beyond the institutions he worked in. He was a consultant and advisor to other museums and organisations, including Dunedin City museums review, The Shore exhibition centre in Takapuna, the Army Museum Trust Board, Director of ATTTO, Governor of the Arts Foundation, served on the Museums Aotearoa Board from 2005-2007, as well as holding office with Museums Aotearoa predecessors AGMANZ and AGDC. His services to museum and art gallery administration earned him appointment as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007.

As well as his professional achievements, Rodney will be remembered for his sparkling wit, strength of character, determination and passion – for boats, motorbikes, art, architecture, museums, people and living life to the full.

Rodney had been living with cancer for some time, and died peacefully at home. He will be farewelled in Auckland on Sunday 5 May. On behalf of Museums Aotearoa, I have sent aroha and sympathy to his wife Maureen and to his family.

Links to other articles:
Auckland Museum's tribute (includes photos)
Cultural Icons (The Depot)
NZ Herald New Zealander of the Year 2006
Auckland Art Gallery Blog (Ron Brownson)

2013 NZ Museum Awards Winners

12 April 2013

See the Awards page for full details

International Museum Day

15 May 2012

All over the world, around 18 May, museums celebrate their role in society. International Museum Day was established by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) 35 years ago.

Media Release 2012 (pdf)

2012 NZ Museum Awards Winners Announced

20 April 2012

Winners of the NZ Museums Awards were announced at a celebration dinner held in Wellington during our MA12 conference, on Thursday 19 April. Press release below.

 Museum Awards 2012 Media Release (pdf)

New Zealand Museum Awards 2012 Winners and Citations

Project Achievement Award: Innovation and Use of Technology

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu for MyGallery
"MyGallery is an engaging, layered way of mining the collection for a multitude of purposes and audiences – from curators to school students. This on-line project was an ideal use of resources during forced closure, enabling the gallery to provide continuing audience and community engagement. MyGallery is also playful, not taking itself too seriously, and allowing for the unexpected to happen."

Judges award for sustainability:
Waikato Museum for temporary exhibition wall fabrication system
"For recognising the importance of making the best use of resources, re-using materials, and reducing waste without compromising flexibility and usability."

Project Achievement Award: Exhibition Excellence – Art & Design

Joint Winner:
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu for De-Building
"A creative and beautifully produced exhibition, De-Building was timely and conceptually strong. In plan prior to the September 2010 earthquake, it then responded to it, becoming both a more poignant and riskier proposition. De-Building incorporated internationally important artists and new commissions and offered a rich spatial experience. After the February 2011 earthquake cut the exhibition short, the accompanying high quality publication has given it a longer shelf life."

Joint Winner:
Dunedin Public Art Gallery for Still Life: The Art of Anatomy
"Still Life brings together two traditions and two long-established institutions – Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Otago University's Medical School. The exhibition pays due respect to both, offering a clever interplay of science and art. It is intriguing, luscious, instructive and thoughtful, with excellent content, beautifully realised."

Project Achievement Award: Exhibition Excellence – Social History

Highly Commended:
Canterbury Museum for Canterbury Quakes
"Canterbury Quakes has a big story to tell, and is loaded with highly symbolic objects as well as sensitivity. Telling such an immediate story, taking into account the sensibilities of 'shell-shocked' local visitors and bringing it all together for the first anniversary of the devastating February 2010 earthquake was a challenge which Canterbury Museum has met successfully. There is an appropriately strong educational component and planning for a touring version during exhibition development means that this highly charged topic can be shared with the rest of the country."

Waikato Museum for Red, Yellow, (All) Black
"Waikato Museum took a subject that was everywhere in 2011, and turned its rugby theme into a really fresh exhibition, which included information and context for a wide range of audiences. There were sections on how ordinary people were involved with rugby, the science of rugby, analysis of a pro player's routine, of interest for people who knew nothing about rugby and enthusiasts alike. A variety of exhibition techniques included videos of key rugby moments, 'locker room' insights, and good physical interactive elements such as smells and low-tech matching of socks to regions made this really visitor-focussed. Red, Yellow and (All) Black was by far and away the best of the 2011 rugby exhibitions!"

Project Achievement Award: Museum or Gallery Development

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki for gallery redevelopment
"A stand-out redevelopment, well-realised and highly and already making a huge impact on art audiences within and visiting Auckland. This is a world class art museum that values both its architectural heritage and contemporary opportunities, where old and new flow together and engage with the city and park contexts. The Auckland Art Gallery worked with the critical process to achieve a highly considered result. It is leading by example in its building and programming – features including gold star accessibility, sustainable timber features, artists commissions integrated with design and strong curatorial outcomes – all superbly realised."

MCH convenes Heritage Forum

10 April 2012

Lewis Holden, Chief Executive of the Minsitry for Culture & Heritage, has put out a communique about the establishment of a Heritage Forum, bringing together central government departments and agencies working in the heritage sector. The forum will meet every three months, and its purpose is to encourage stronger links and more coherence across the government heritage sector and to be a visible presence promoting government heritage interests at a national level

Download the MCH communique below:

2012 MHC Heritage Forum (pdf 123KB)

Finalists announced for 2012 NZ Museums Awards

4 April 2012

Finalist for the 2012 NZ Museum Awards have been announced. Judges Jock Phillips, Heather Galbraith, Greg McManus and Jane Legget were challenged by the quality and quantity of entries. The winners will be announced at a celebration dinner at the City Gallery, Wellington on 19 April, during the MA12 conference.

Download the media release below:

2012 MA Awards Media Release (pdf 113KB)

Winners announced for 2011 NZ Museums Awards

15 April 2011

Winners of the NZ Museums Awards were announced at a celebration dinner in Nelson during our MA11 confernce in Nelson. Links are to media releases for project winners.

Individual Achievement Award
David Wright, Director, Navy Museum

Project Achievement Award, Innovation and Technology
Whakamīharo Lindauer Online, Auckland Art Gallery (pdf)

Project Achievement Award, Exhibition Excellence – Art
Winner: Beloved, Dunedin Public Art Gallery (pdf), Channel 9 TV clip
White Cloud Worlds, Dowse Art Museum
Back & Beyond & Here, Museums Wellington

Project Achievement Award, Exhibition Excellence – Social History
Winner: Te Ahi Kā Roa, Te Ahi Ka Kātoro, Taranaki War 1860-2010: Our Legacy, Our Challenge, Puke Ariki (pdf)
Finalist: Port Nelson, Haven Ahoy!, Nelson Provincial Museum

Project Achievement Award, Exhibition Excellence – Small Museum
Winner: Bohemians of the Brush: Pumpkin Cottage Impressionists, Expressions Arts & Entertainment Centre (pdf)
Isel's 160th Year, Isel House
Ka Takata Whenua o Waihao, Waimate Museum
Credo and Quest, Whangarei Art Museum

Finalists announced for 2011 NZ Museums Awards

6 April 2011

Judges Priscilla Pitts, Greg McManus and Ian Athfield met recently to evaluate entries for the 2011 NZ Museum Awards. The winners will be announced at a celebration dinner on 14 April, during the MA11 Conference in Nelson.

See the media release below:

Media Release (pdf 113KB)

Museums Aotearoa sends best wishes to colleagues in Canterbury

6 September 2010

Despite the shock of the Canterbury earthquake, we are very pleased that the damage to museums and collections appears to be very minor. We have been in touch with museum colleagues in the affected area today. While we have not been able to contact every museum, most that we have heard from say that their buildings are unscathed, and the larger institutions are almost unaffected – except that they will be closed for a few days and Christchurch Art Gallery has transformed into a Civil Defence centre. The same goes for collections – it seems that museums have been very good at securing their objects on display, using museum wax, fixed mounting techniques and other means which have minimised movement and damage.

Others have not faired so well. There has been some chimney damage at Okains Bay Museum and the Lyttelton Timeball Station. The Logie Collection of antiquities at Canterbury University has sustained significant damage. And our sympathies go to William Cottrell, whose Gunyah homestead near Mt Hutt was badly damaged when 6 chimneys fell through the roof, and some of the collection of colonial furniture smashed. Other historic homes and buildings have been badly damaged, some probably beyond repair, including Christchurch Repertory Theatre, Homebush and Ohinetahi homesteads. It has been reported that the Kaiapoi Museum has also suffered badly, but we have no further details.

If there is anyone wanting assistance, please do let us know. Staff at the larger museums have offered help and advice, and Museums Aotearoa can put you in touch with someone with suitable expertise.

We are extremely thankful that the earthquake happened at 4.30am when so few people were about to get in the path of falling facades and verandas in the inner city. Taken on a global scale, the people of Canterbury have got off very lightly. And it is a powerful reminder to us all to think again about our preparedness, both professionally and personally, for when the next earthquake strikes.

Check out National Services Te Paerangi for helpful resources and contacts, here.

Lotteries fund to support World Cup festival events announced

28 July 2010

Public events as part of next year’s nationwide Rugby World Cup festival will be supported by a new $9.5 million lotteries fund, Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully and Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy announced today.

“During Rugby World Cup 2011 we will be staging a nationwide festival which will showcase the best of New Zealand’s arts, food and wine, heritage, entertainment, experiences, and lifestyle,” Mr McCully said.

“The New Zealand 2011 Festival Lottery Fund will support all sorts of community events associated with the festival. This could include everything from concerts, fairs and exhibitions, to street markets and parades.”

Funding can go towards management and operating costs, artists’ fees, publicity and production costs.

“Rugby World Cup 2011 will be the largest sporting event ever held in New Zealand, and we want to maximise community involvement,” Mr Guy said.

“With 23 centres hosting either games or teams, the celebrations and the economic benefits are going to be spread throughout the country. This funding will ensure the opportunities to be part of the Rugby World Cup festival are equally widespread.”

Mr McCully said the lottery fund would complement the significant investment that regions and the government were already making in the nationwide festival.

The fund will be administered by the Department of Internal Affairs, and decisions will be made by members of the 2011 Group – Bob Parker, Sir David Gascoigne, Bob Harvey, Sharon Hunter and Wally Stone. Applications for grants open today, and close on 17 September. Recipients will be advised in early November.

The funding has been allocated by the Lottery Grants Board, which distributes the profits of New Zealand Lotteries (including Lotto and Instant Kiwi) to various statutory bodies and distribution committees.

For more on this fund and other lottery grants see

For the NZ 2011 Festival programme, see

Download application information:

Information Sheet (pdf, 150KB)
FAQs (pdf, 100KB)
Application Form 2011 (Word, 275KB)

Museums Aotearoa Media releases

Tribute to Dr Seddon Bennington
17 July 2009

It is with sadness and warmth that Museums Aotearoa remembers Dr Seddon Bennington, not only leader of Te Papa, but also Deputy Chair and Board member of Museums Aotearoa for the last 4 years. Our thoughts go out to his family and to all our colleagues at Te Papa.

Museums Aotearoa tribute to Dr Seddon Bennington (pdf)

To read Te Papa's message of condolence and to make a personal tribute, see the Te Papa Blog.

Funeral Arrangements for Dr Seddon Bennington
19th July 2009 - Press Release from Te Papa (Word)

General Election 2008 - discussion paper

29 September 2008

Museums Aotearoa today sent a discussion paper to the political parties contesting the 2008 general election. It sets out some key issues for the museum sector, and invites each party to articulate their cultural policy.

Download the discussion paper below

MA Discussion Paper (pdf, 49KB)