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Northland museums help activate region

16 September 2004

Northland museums help activate region

Northland museums are set to go ahead under a strategic development plan being produced for the Northland museum sector, part of a regional partnership project with National Services Te Paerangi.

Developed in partnership with National Services Te Paerangi, the project is contributing to the Major Regional Initiative (MRI), ‘Activate Northland’. Led by economic development agency Enterprise Northland with the Northland Museums Association, the MRI aims to build capability in the Northland tourism industry, to foster economic growth and employment in the region.

Museum consultant Ken Gorbey has led the development of the museums strategy in consultation with a steering group from the Northland Museums Association. He says the focus is on attracting Interactive Travellers to the area, and that museums have a major role to play in doing that. ‘Northland is studded with museums, and museum opportunities waiting to be realised.’

As part of the project, Ken has developed a conceptual framework (the Coastal Pathway, the Kauri Forest and the Spiritual Journey) with the region. It is a statement about how the unique elements of the region can be expressed, and sets out a vision of the region as a series of interlocking cultural and natural experiences. He sees it as a tool that helps museums determine a place for themselves, and define the product they’re offering. ‘They need to know what they’re doing that’s unique.’ Ken has also developed a model that categorises museums based on their status and position, and offers them the chance to work towards greater status and improve their performance through planning. ‘Each and every museum in the North has the ability to contribute more fully to the economic growth of the region. They can do this by developing as a unique visitor experience as well as improving their museological performance.’

Dr Jennie Harre Hindmarsh, Director Te Papa National Services Te Paerangi, announced during the launch event held in Whangarei, that Northland was “recognised nationally as the first region to undertake a successful partnership in the production of a sector strategy”. Furthermore, the sector has been successful in receiving support from National Services Te Paerangi for a series of workshops that will formally address regional training requirements.

Kiri Goulter, Project Manager Enterprise Northland, says the museum and cultural sector is ‘highly important’ in terms of contributing to the region’s economic development. ‘Tourism is the second highest generator of revenue in Northland. As our MRI is focused on tourism, it’s critical that we provide support to develop an agreed strategic direction and leadership for a sector that’s a real driver for visitors to the region.’

The museum strategy, Northland Museums as Attraction: A Rich Tapestry of Experiences, is available on www.enterprisenorthland.co.nz.

ENDS

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