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Artefacts Safe After Fire at Waikato Museum

Artefacts Safe After Fire at Waikato Museum
1 JUNE 2014

For Immediate Release

Artefacts housed at Waikato Museum (Te Whare Taonga O Waikato) are safe after a small fire at the Hamilton City Council-owned facility today.

Council’s General Manager Community, Lance Vervoort, said the museum would be open for business tomorrow (2 June, Queen’s Birthday Monday) despite a small fire near Te Winika, the 200-year-old canoe which is one of the museum’s most prized treasures.

The small fire broke out near Te Winika this evening (1 June), and although there is some minor damage to carvings near the waka, Mr Vervoort said the museum’s sprinkler and alarm systems had worked properly, meaning the New Zealand Fire Service was able to respond very quickly.

“We are very relieved,” Mr Vervoort said. “The museum houses thousands of important historic artefacts and artworks, but thankfully the fire damage is very minor and isolated to one corner of the museum. There is some water damage on lower floors visitors don’t have access to, but that will be cleaned up quickly.”

Mr Vervoort said three museum galleries would be closed for a couple of days while clean-up work was undertaken. Museum management would liaise with Tainui on how to repair damage to the carvings and some parts of Te Winika, which was being worked out.

Council and museum management will await the outcome of the New Zealand Fire Service investigation before commenting on the cause.

Te Winika was gifted to Waikato Museum by Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu in 1973.


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