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Puke Ariki Nationally Recognised

9 December 2003

Puke Ariki Nationally Recognised for Making a Difference

An influential national magazine has singled out Puke Ariki for making a difference in New Zealand in 2003.

The latest edition of North & South magazine has its ‘Those who made a difference’ list for year, acknowledging “New Zealanders from all walks of life who stood tall and with grit, determination, innovation and energy made their mark”.

Coming in at number two is Puke Ariki, the world’s first fully integrated museum, library and visitor centre, which opened in New Plymouth on June 14.

Manager Puke Ariki Suzanne Porter says the accolade is immensely valuable.

“Here in Taranaki we’ve known how special and ground-breaking Puke Ariki is, and we’ve had a lot of interest from library and museum professionals in other countries who have been watching closely to see how we’re doing.

“I always thought that getting other New Zealanders to recognise the innovation of Puke Ariki was going to be the biggest task. Now we have one of the country’s most influential national publications saying that Puke Ariki has made a significant difference to New Zealand – this is independent endorsement that no amount of money could ever buy.”

The North & South article recaps the history of the Taranaki Museum and New Plymouth Public Library, and the effort it took to get Puke Ariki approved and built.

The magazine singles out the “prime movers behind the project” for getting the facility constructed: New Plymouth District Council general manager customer services Barbara McKerrow (then manager customer services), Puke Ariki researcher Ron Lambert (then director of the Taranaki Museum), and Deputy Mayor Lynn Bublitz.

North & South also refers to Puke Ariki being the first museum in the country where Maori stories are told by Maori, and describes the North Wing as a “striking piece of architecture”.

“With Te Papa setting the benchmark for museums, Puke Ariki is proof that they needn’t be the sole preserve of New Zealand’s big cities,” says the magazine.

The other New Zealanders to make the list are author Michael King for his Penguin History of New Zealand, author Lynley Hood for A City Possessed, film maker Niki Caro for Whale Rider, prison reformer and creator of the Good Man Project, Celia Lashlie, inventor of the amphibious sports car Aquada, Terry Roycroft, book editor Harriet Allan, coroner Ian Smith for his work on discussing youth suicide and euthanasia, and runner Adrian Blincoe for his success on the world stage.


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