Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry announced a $1.5 million grant today for the redevelopment of Whakatāne's Museum and Research Centre.
The minister says the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund grant will enable the museum to display more of its impressive collections, redevelop and earthquake strengthen its building.
“The museum's extensive collections reflect the Bay of Plenty's history from the 1860s onwards and include archaeological material, rare books and photographs – some 600,000 images and 100,000 objects in total.”
Highlights include two rare items connected to the voyages of James Cook - a Resolution & Adventure Medal and a try pot dating from his second journey to New Zealand in 1773.
There is also a substantial taonga Māori collection, with items from Ngāti Awa, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Ngāti Rangitīhī and Te Whakatōhea, and the internationally significant Te Kōhika Collection of prehistoric archaeological material.
“Currently just a small part of the collections are accessible at any one time and the public, including researchers, need better access to ensure they remain relevant and meaningful to them,” says Maggie.
The redevelopment will also see a new lift to improve accessibility, an education and teaching space, improved working areas for staff and energy-efficient climate control.
“I would like to acknowledge the work of local MP Hon Anne Tolley, who has been a major advocate and supporter for this important community project.”
Construction is due to start early in the New Year and is expected to take around 12 months to complete.
Whakatāne Museum and Research Centre becomes the second recipient of funding from the newly reconfigured Regional Culture & Heritage Fund, following a grant to the Nelson School of Music announced earlier this month.
For more information about the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund visit the Ministry for Culture and Heitage's website.