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Okeroa: Relaunch Of NZMuseums Website

Speech Notes

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage


Te Papa, 17 September 2008

Kia ora koutou katoa

It is a real pleasure to be here today to launch the new NZMuseums website.

I would like to acknowledge National Services Te Paerangi for its work with the museum sector. Your invaluable contribution to developing this new website will help connect New Zealanders and international audiences with collections held by museums, iwi and cultural organisations throughout the country.

Digital technology is helping us become more proactive in the way we receive and send information. We can communicate with friends and loved ones through email, Facebook and other social media tools.

We are able to comment freely and candidly on a range of topics through blogs. News is updated to the minute on newspaper websites, which keeps us informed on current affairs.

The NZMuseums website will add to that digital experience. Through one website address we are going to have easy access to unlimited information about museums, iwi and cultural organisations. The museum directory, online collections and sections dedicated to news, blogs and current exhibitions will enrich the experiences of visitors.

With online collections, we no longer have to wait in lines to view collections. Nor will permanent exhibitions be restricted to the confines of museum buildings. Whether we are at home, in the classroom or in a different city, we can discover and explore the search engine and click the mouse.

This is will mean a greater exposure for our smaller, largely voluntary, museums like the Te Aroha, Firth Tower and Morrin Museums in Waikato or the Owaka Museum in Otago. We can access hidden gems like the Kotuku Diaries in the Firth Tower Museum, which is a fascinating insight into the comings and goings of the steamship Kotuku in her travels up and down the Thames Estuary, to Auckland and the Bay of Plenty.

Visitors are able to discover the beauty of Maori art such as the Te Takapou Whāriki o Taranaki (The Sacred Woven Mat of Taranaki) exhibition in the Puke Ariki Museum. Puke Ariki also contains a collection of exquisite Taranaki carvings; many from Te Atiawa Iwi, who are famous for producing master carvers.

Our major museums will receive wider exposure and visibility. Te Papa’s online collection unearths a wonderful Mark Adams photograph of noted New Zealand artist Tony Fomison getting a Samoan tattoo using the traditional method.

I was fascinated to read through Auckland War Memorial Museum’s online collection about the1.3 kilogram piece of space rock that crashed through the roof of a house in Ellerslie in June 2004. I found out the 4,600 million year old meteorite is only the ninth meteorite ever found in New Zealand and the first to hit a home.

All of these objects and stories of local history represent the bigger picture of our nation's history. Through this excellent user-friendly website, we as New Zealanders will be able to engage with our history and culture.

The launch of this website is in line with the government's Digital Strategy 2.0 launched in August, and current projects such as Digital New Zealand.

The Digital Strategy is about people and their ability to connect to the world. It’s about bringing all New Zealanders on the journey by breaking down the digital divide.

NZMuseums is assisting a large community - the museum, culture and heritage sector - to get out there to a global audience, to be online in a digital world.

No country has more to gain from this digital revolution than New Zealand. Through it we overcome our remoteness, leverage our inventiveness and show off our uniqueness.

The ability to access museum resources online will encourage potential visitors to come to the physical museum. This hopefully will result in the forming of a lifelong relationship with museums, where they visit a museum and its website repeatedly, visiting the museum when they can, and its website when they cannot.

This site certainly has inspired me to visit some of these museums that I haven't come across before, in the near future.

I look forward to seeing the site develop over time, to finding more and more objects and stories as museums add more content and as new museums come online.

It’s great to see the museum sector come together in this innovative way to help Kiwis everywhere to discover, engage and share their heritage with the world.

NZ Museums is a great marketing tool for the museum sector. By searching this site one can find the history and beauty of Maori taonga; the adaptability of the colonial and recent settlers to New Zealand; the many pieces brought here as reminders of 'home'; and items that show innovation and change through the years to the present day, amongst other stories.

It is my pleasure to officially launch the NZMuseums website and to wish you every success for the future.


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