The winners of a youth essay competition were announced at an event held at Tauranga Art Gallery on Wednesday evening.
Lilli Scott, a Year 13 student from Aquinas College, won the $1000 first prize for the senior section, with Liv Donovan-Grammer, a Year 12 student from Otumoetai College coming second, winning $500.
In the junior section, Amy McAulay and Carla Roberts, both Year 10 students from Otumoetai College won first and second place respectively.
The essay competition was launched to raise youth interest in the city’s proposed new museum on Cliff Road. Judged by Labour List MP and past principal of Merivale School Jan Tinetti, the competition attracted many entries from secondary schools across Tauranga.
The title of the essay was ‘Define your idea of a modern museum, and justify why Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty would benefit from it’.
Promoted by Taonga Tauranga, a voluntary group of Tauranga residents supporting the museum project, the essay competition was created to encourage youth to pen their thoughts on having a museum as the Council’s referendum approaches. Taonga Tauranga believes youth are possibly the largest user group for the future museum but don’t get a voice in the referendum.
The two categories were Years 9 and 10, and Years 11,12 and 13. The word limit was 800 to 1,000 words in both categories. The competition opened for entries from March 12 and closed midday on March 27.
Lilli Scott, titled her essay “Tauranga’s Modern Museum’, and she summed up her thoughtful words with a quote from Michael Crichton who said ‘If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.’ She felt, and to quote Lilli, that ‘although the tree of Tauranga’s history is relatively young, it is of huge significance and beauty.’
Likewise, Liv Donovan-Grammer, outlined how the future of Tauranga waits for the creation of a museum. “Ki te kahore he whakakitenga ka ngaro te iwi” – without foresight or vision the people will be lost – writes Liv, quoting Potatau Te Wherowhero. Her interesting essay discusses the use of augmented reality and interactive exhibits to bring history and culture alive.
Junior essay winners Carla Roberts left, and Amy McAulay. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford
Both essays touched on the growing and evolving multicultural heritage of Tauranga Moana.
Carla Roberts, who is a member of the Tauranga City Council Youth Advisory Group, highlighted in her essay how museums generate ideas which generate motivation which generates success. She felt that siting the museum on Cliff Road would have cultural significance for local iwi, being also an old pa site.
Amy McAulay clearly and succinctly set out the economic, social, cultural and educational benefits of having a modern museum, providing examples.
The essay competition was sponsored by Classic Builders and Holland Beckett Law - HOBEC.
“The museum project will be an attractive addition to Tauranga providing a worthy showcase for the city’s heritage,” says Classic Builders director, Peter Cooney.
Locally established over 20 years ago, he says that Classic Builders has a strong interest in seeing that the cultural development of the city is equally as important as other development initiatives and that the company is pleased to support the essay competition for this reason.
The other sponsor for the competition, Holland Beckett Law, has been part of Tauranga’s story for over 80 years.
“The firm has an important role to play in promoting the benefits a museum will bring to Tauranga,” says HOBEC partner Simon Collett. “We have always maintained a trustee presence on the Tauranga Moana Museum Trust for this reason.”
HOBEC sponsored the first prize of $1,000 and second prize of $500 in the Years 11, 12, 13 category.
Each winner of the Years 9 and 10 category receives a return trip to Dunedin to visit the studios of Animation Research Ltd (ARL), the company creating innovative graphics that enhance the viewers experience when watching the Americas Cup, Cricket and World Golf tournaments and visit Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, which incorporates ARL technology into its exhibits. The museum recently underwent a $37m revamp.
The four students from each secondary school whose essays were submitted for judging were invited to the Classic Builders sponsored prize giving at the Tauranga Art Gallery.