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Last minute donation concludes fundraising

Last minute donation concludes fundraising

With a generous grant of $2,500,000 the ASB Community Trust has completed the necessary funding for Auckland War Memorial Museum to open the much awaited Grand Atrium Building Project on time to the public in early December this year. It also rounds the total donated to the Museum since March 1990 to an unprecedented $18,000,000 making Auckland Museum the Trust’s largest grantee since its formation in 1988. The $12,900,000 in total grants for the Atrium project are the largest ever dispersed for a single project.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum is immensely grateful for the major funding it has received from the ASB community Trust during both its first stage of refurbishment (1994-99), and its subsequent Stage II extension and development (2000-06). “A total of $18,000,000 has been donated to the Museum over its two stages of development” said Museum Director, Dr Rodney Wilson. “I invite Aucklanders to think what our city would be like if there had been no ASB Community Trust” he said. “The Trust has received two tranches of capital from the sale of the ASB Bank to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia a decade and a half ago, and through prudent investment and management has increased that capital by a third while, at the same time, distributing more than half a billion dollars to the Auckland Northland Region. This money has gone into cultural, educational, sporting, health and welfare projects – large and small – to the immense benefit of the region. Who would have provided that money, had there been no ASB Community Trust?” he asked.

The Trust says it gave the atrium project strong financial backing because the museum is valued by the community.
“We see the atrium project as enriching a national cultural resource,” said ASB Community Trust CEO Jennifer Gill. “The museum advances our national aspirations and expresses a national sense of identity and character. It also provides an educational arena to learn and compare our cultures, national and international differences and identities. It receives half a million visitors a year and, since our first major donation towards the refurbishment in November 1995, more than four million people have benefited from the enhanced exhibitions and amenities,” Ms Gill concluded.

The ASB Community Trust’s decision to provide a final major grant to close twelve years of capital fundraising for the redevelopment of Auckland War Memorial Museum, completes one of the country’s largest fundraising initiatives. In that period a total of $108,000,000 has been raised from Government, special Local Government levies for the Stage I development, and a host of charitable entities, NZ Lottery Grants Board, individuals, families, family trusts and corporates. ASB Community Trust has been a lead donor, along with Government and Local Government. ”Without the ASB Community Trust, the strengthening of the Museum building, its modernization and its extension to provide modern amenities for collection care, visitors and the Museum’s educational programmes would probably not have been possible”, said Dr Wilson. “We were delighted and relieved to receive the Trust’s decision”, he said. It has been a long, hard haul and their decision to grant the last remaining funds required to complete all works was a huge relief”.

In December, this year, the wraps will come off Auckland War Memorial Museum’s final stage of redevelopment – the Grand Atrium. Refurbishment of the existing building commenced in late 1994 and although the redevelopment has taken place in two discrete stages, separated by restoration of the Museum Library in 2000 and 2001, the Museum will have seen continuous building activity for twelve years. During that time the original building has been seismically strengthened, and the building fabric restored, new services introduced, some new galleries built, all its exhibitions renewed, Conservation laboratories and a new Herbarium built, the Library restored, a two storey underground carpark built, storage facilities for the Museum’s heritage collections added, workshops and security facilities provided, an 850m2 special exhibitions gallery provided, an additional retail shop and café introduced, the Stevenson Discover Centres added, a 200 seat amphitheatre included, office and work space provided for staff, and a major roof top Events Centre constructed. Two new Applied Arts and Design galleries will also open in October and November concurrently with the second stage development. Apart from the building of a new museum – Te Papa – in Wellington a few years ago, this is substantially the biggest museum building project undertaken in New Zealand for many decades.

The outstanding achievement of presenting a new world class facility to the people of Auckland will be celebrated with a function at Auckland Museum on Monday 17 July at 6pm, preceded by guided tours at 5.15pm. The Prime Minister Helen Clark will be the keynote speaker. In addition to acknowledging the generosity of donors to the Museum she will also make an important announcement regarding some structural changes to the ASB Community Trust.


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