Museum visitors treated to interactive thrills

It’s been great to see both the museum and library bustling with children and families this week. And we’ve been getting great feedback from parents about all the activities for the children in the museum and the interactive elements within our exhibitions – I’ve no doubt the library has been receiving the same. This week we were privileged to have a talk from Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre and we learnt about the range of programmes and work they do particularly with young people. That has certainly got my thinking cap on about possible future collaborations we might engage in, particularly around enriching our Matariki offering and activities for children.

Over the coming week the team will be installing a new display in the Octagon cases at the library end of the building. Put together by our Educators and library staff, this small display features both books and items borrowed from staff and friends. It’s also been a great opportunity for different staff to try their hand at curating. Only one of the collaboration projects we’re working on with the library team – others include upcoming public programmes, conferences and more.

The Octagon display is based on the theme of navigation and sailing, with each of the four cases having a slightly different focus: navigation, propulsion, Matariki and life at sea. Covering subjects such as navigation methods used to ensure you reached the right destination while traversing across vast oceans, and the means by which vessels are propelled through the water including wind, rowing and engines. The display touches on Matariki (also known as Pleiades), a cluster of stars, and the importance their reappearance in the sky plays in the Maori calendar. While another area explores how sailors kept themselves busy and entertained during long stretches at sea, such as making ships in bottles, tying elaborate nautical knots or creating scrimshaw.

Sitting alongside exhibitions Steadfast Steamers, Tenei Tonu, George Nuku: Bottled Ocean 2118 (opening 24 August) and our ongoing Napier Port education programme, the museum is well immersed in things nautical. We also touch on the beautiful Atea a Rangi Star Compass at Waitangi (near Clive). With a series of pou and a gateway this installation is based on a compass and references local stories and alignment with the stars. There’s information at the star compass on the amazing navigational skills of Maori who settled in New Zealand, as well as information about the historical and natural significance of the area. I can highly recommend Atea a Rangi as a place to visit.

Another thing we’re inviting people to do, is contribute to the George Nuku exhibition, set to open in late August. Utilising recycled see-through plastic bottles (such as water and fizzy drinks) George will work with school students to create new works of art. These will then join existing works George has made and come together to create the final exhibition George Nuku: Bottled Ocean 2118. Imaging a futuristic underwater world this exhibition will create a wonderful immersive experience.

We hope you’ll help by added to the materials required to make the new artwork (we have a large collecting crate in our front foyer) and then come back to see the finished product when the exhibition goes on display.

  • Marine Parade 1928 to 1938, local historian Michael Fowler, Today, Saturday 14 July, Century Theatre starts 3:30pm. Free entry
  • NZ Mountain Film Festival, amazing films celebrating Kiwis getting out there and doing it, Saturday 21 July, starts 7:30pm. Tickets available from MTG.

Star Compass_14 July 2018

Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG

Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 14th July 2018

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