This text below has been adapted from the Director’s Note in the June – August 2018 edition of Tui Tui Tuituia! Tairāwhiti Museum’s quarterly newsletter, available on the museum website.
I have recently returned from the Museums Aotearoa annual conference in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Tairāwhiti Museum received acknowledgements in the national museum awards for two projects – Kete-Puāwai: Basket of Evolution and Recovery: Women’s Overseas Experiences in World War One.
Reflecting back on these exhibitions and the special factors that made them stand out on the national stage, I believe the common thread is that these projects were developed in partnerships with our two regional places of higher learning – Te Wānanga o Aotearoa – Whirikoka and Eastern Institute of Technology.
The threads and connections between our tertiary institutions and the museum are many and strong. Although our work differs, our aspirations for communities in Tairāwhiti are easily aligned and collaborating to inspire, tell stories and create together on these projects was an absolute pleasure.
The citation for Kete Puāwai, a finalist in the exhibition excellence Taonga Māori category said “The exhibition achieved a high standard of delivery, cohesion and arts excellence as well as beautifully written text in te reo Maori. A unique opportunity to celebrate and honour Maori weaving, acknowledging the spiritual and cultural significance and meaning within a community context. We look forward to seeing the collaborative partnership continued in future projects”
The citation for Recovery, which received a special mention in the exhibition excellence Social History category said “Judges were impressed by the aspects of this that went beyond the exhibition and which made a big contribution as part of the commemoration period. The exhibition generated new knowledge locally, and nationally, highlighting women’s stories. Tairawhiti Museum has proven that if you look in an area, you can find women’s stories of the Great War.”
My thanks to the students, tutors, administrative and academic staff at these institutions; it is a privilege to work with you and see the creativity and passion you bring to your respective fields of study. Long may these partnerships continue – without your work we would all be poorer and many of our walls here at the museum might lie empty.
Eloise Wallace, director