Answering the Bugles Call

ANZAC Day holds a special place in the hearts of many New Zealander’s and more so over the years of the centenary period for The Great War.  As a young Cub Scout, I can remember proudly preparing my uniform with scarf and toggle, rising early, and making my way to the cenotaph in Hastings to join the Cub Pack in remembrance of those who fought for our freedom many decades ago.  Later I joined the Hastings Citizens Band and gained an appreciation for marching in the parade and leading the veterans from the cenotaph to the RSA for breakfast.  One of the traditions of the band was to cease playing while marching past the memorial outside Saint Matthews on Eastbourne Street.  There was an eerie solemnity of the parade marching to a solitary drum tap and then rousing the citizens’ with Colonel Bogey as if making a loud statement to those who did not rise to join us at 0530hrs – get up!

These young memories have stayed with me forever and ultimately shaped my own citizenship and need to participate in ANZAC services every year without fail.  It is our duty to remember and do our best to curb global conflict and maintain peace through peace.

I have always been and still am a keen bandsman, however it was my time as an army musician with the 7th Wellington and Hawke’s Bay Battalion Band where I truly learned the highest forms of military ceremony and the history of our local territorial unit.  Therefore, it is no surprise that my favourite object in our current World War One exhibition is Dr Frederick de Lisle’s bugle engraved with the insignia of the Hawke’s Bay Regiment.  This bugle was last sounded at Gallipoli and prior to that gave orders at Awapuni Camp and Cairo in 1914, El Kubri Suez Canal in 1915 and then the Dardanelles 25 April – 8 May 1915.

Being a bugler must have needed an immense amount of guts and there are many stories associated with buglers acts of courage under fire.  Buglers often fill my thoughts as I hug my tuba on parade, I really do not know if I would have cut the mustard as a soldier yet alone a bugler!  However many of those courageous young boys that went to the battlefield probably thought the same yet off they marched for God, King and Country under the guise of an overseas adventure.

Our World War One exhibition tells the Hawke’s Bay story well and will close on the 1st of May, this ANZAC Day we are opening the museum doors at 7.00am for families to view the exhibition and learn about our contribution to the war effort one last time.  The gallery will then tell the story of Maori waiata written during World War One with Houngarea marae at Pakipaki as the backdrop.  Pakipaki is where all Maori soldiers from the East Coast congregated for a final farewell before departing via rail to their training camp and then embarkation to Europe.  One of the waiata, E Pari Ra (Ebb Tides), written by Paraire Tomoana was later gifted to the Royal New Zealand Navy as their official Slow March.  The waiata was gifted to the Navy at Pakipaki in 1968, where the band marched up and down the marae playing the waiata as a slow march and have done so ever since.

So as we close one World War One story to tell another, we invite you all to enjoy the museum and World War One exhibition as a free open day.  Nau Mai! Haere Mai!  We Will Remember Them!

Bugle, 9th Hawkes Bay Regiment, gifted to the HB Museums Trust by Mrs Florence Le Lievre.

Bugle, 9th Hawkes Bay Regiment, gifted to the HB Museums Trust by Mrs Florence Le Lievre.

Charles Ropitini Pou Ārahi | Strategic Māori Advisor, MTG Hawke’s Bay

Published in Hawke’s Bay Today Saturday 22 April 2017

 

Volunteers vital part of museum

Volunteers are a vital part of the lifeblood for any healthy museum or art gallery. Volunteering in the arts and culture sector takes many different forms including governance, fundraising, tikanga advice, hosting in galleries and helping behind the scenes. For this column I’m focussing on volunteers who work in the gallery spaces and with the collections.

Volunteers working at the front of the museum (the public spaces) help bring the museum to life. Welcoming visitors into the gallery, they offer additional insights into exhibitions, and also listen to stories our visitors may want to share. Our volunteers know that not everyone likes being approached and they respect that. However many visitors welcome and appreciate this additional service, which personalises their museum visit. There’s nothing more satisfying when you have a connection, emotional response, or epiphany while in an exhibition, than to have someone to share it with. This ability to talk to another person – right there and then – when you are having an experience, really makes for a satisfying and unique visit.

Other volunteers give the gift of music to our visitors. There’s a dedicated group of musicians who come in and play the Bechstein piano, wherever it may be in the museum at that time. Sometimes, as exhibitions change over, a piano player may come in and find the piano has mysteriously moved to another part of the building. We know visitors enjoy hearing the piano and we hope our volunteers enjoy the occasional change of scenery when the piano is relocated.

Behind the scenes and out of the public eye is another kind of volunteer. They come in and help in all manner of ways. Scanning and processing photographs, assisting with getting objects out of storage or back into storage, sewing costumes for our education team, preparing objects for display, mounting textiles onto mannequins, and so on. While there are regular times these individuals work at the museum, they’re also called on when we have big exhibition preparation happening or a particular project to complete. For example when the ‘Uttermost Ends of the Earth: Hawke’s Bay at War 1914-1918’ exhibition was being installed we wanted to fill one of the archways in the Octagon with felt poppies. Who did we call in to make all the poppies – our lovely volunteers of course. They had a working bee round the boardroom table for several hours ensuring we had enough poppies for the effect we wanted.

Staff love our volunteers – they bring an absolute passion and positive energy with them. In appreciation of the work they do, this week we had a morning tea followed by a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum. I’m a firm believer in volunteers and know that we couldn’t achieve everything we do without them. Volunteers are an excellent litmus test for the health of organisations such as this. I’ve seen places where volunteers start leaving in droves and, if that happens, you know there’s something seriously wrong. I’m pleased to say our steadfast group of volunteers continue to show their loyalty. These wonderful people are real community treasures, so next time you’re in the museum, do say hello to them.

HELPING HANDS: MTG Volunteer Carol Dacey

HELPING HANDS: MTG Volunteer Carol Dacey

Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG Hawke’s Bay

Published in Hawke’s Bay Today Saturday 1 April 2017