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Museum Medals Honour Outstanding Individuals


For immediate release
Friday 1 March

Auckland War Memorial Museum has honoured the careers of five outstanding individuals in its Museum Medals ceremony, held last night.

The medals for 2018 were presented to:

Dr Mike Wilcox - Associate Emeritus of Auckland War Memorial Museum
Gil Hanly - Companion of Auckland War Memorial Museum
Siobhan Leachman - Companion of Auckland War Memorial Museum
Dr Glyn Harper -Fellow of Auckland War Memorial Museum
Matekino Lawless - Fellow of Auckland War Memorial Museum

Auckland Museum Chief Executive Dr David Gaimster says “It is a pleasure to recognise the major contributions the recipients have made to their areas of study and to be able to acknowledge innovation across such diverse disciplines. It’s privilege to celebrate their achievements alongside their whanau, friends and colleagues.”

Dr Mike Wilcox was made Associate Emeritus of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which recognises Museum staff or volunteers’ noteworthy achievements. His contributions to the Museum’s Botany Department have been unique and valuable.

Gil Hanly and Siobhan Leachman were both made Companions of War Auckland War Memorial Museum, recognising their achievements to the public service of Auckland Museum.

Dr Glyn Harper and Matekino Lawless were both made Fellows of the Auckland War Memorial Museum acknowledging exemplary scholastic achievement relevant to the Museum’s activities.

The event also featured guest speaker Moana Jackson, lawyer and internationally recognized expert on the Treaty of Waitangi and constitutional issues.


2018 Museum Medal Recipient Profiles

Dr Mike Wilcox
Associate Emeritus of Auckland War Memorial Museum

Mike Wilcox studied at the University of Auckland (BSc, 1963), the University of Oxford (MA in Forestry, 1966) and North Carolina State University (PhD in Forest Genetics, 1973). From 1959 to 1990 he worked for the NZ Forest Service and the Ministry of Forestry as a forester, scientist and research director.

In 1981 he spent five months in Australia on an ANZAC Fellowship based with the CSIRO in Canberra, researching eucalypts in their natural environment.

From 1990 to 2004 Mike was a forestry consultant with a private company in Auckland, mainly working on international afforestation projects.

Mike joined the Auckland Botanical Society in 1994 and served as president from 2002 to 2012. He was made a Life Member in 2012. He has been a regular contributor to the Society’s activities of field trips, botanical camps, publishing journals and presenting lectures.

In 2015 Mike began work with Auckland Museum, initially as a volunteer and later as an Honorary Research Associate in the Botany Department, assisting with curation work, particularly of marine algae, and with the identification of trees in Auckland city. In 2018 his book The Seaweeds of Auckland was published – the culmination of his major project as a Research Associate.

As a result, the Museum’s seaweed collection has been strengthened with new discoveries, allowing identification and databasing to be updated with the latest taxonomy.

In 2004 Mike was made a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Forestry and received the Thomas Kirk Medal for high scholarship in contributions to scientific forestry in New Zealand. In 2015 he was awarded the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gil Hanly
Companion of Auckland War Memorial Museum

Social documentarian and activist Gillian Hanly (née Taverner) is renowned for her iconic images of the protests that have shaped New Zealand society over the past 35 years.

Born in Manawatu in 1934 and home-schooled initially, Gillian finished her early education at Nga Tawa College before enrolling at Ilam School of Fine Arts to study painting.

After graduating with future husband and fellow artist Pat, she travelled internationally – sparking an interest in photography.

Passionate about social change, Gillian and Pat were involved in many key protest movements and Gillian soon began taking photos for Broadsheet magazine, documenting from the frontline the 1981

Springbok Tour protests, the 1983 hikoi to Waitangi, the 1982 Bastion Point protest and the anti-nuclear movement protests.

Gillian was working as photographer for Greenpeace in 1985 when the Rainbow Warrior was sunk and took many of the iconic images associated with the vessel and the police investigation.

Over the years, her political involvement grew as she furthered her relationship with different movement leaders. Gillian is well known to the Maori community for her activism on land, language and sovereignty rights and for her presence in Waitangi.

She has travelled worldwide – particularly to follow her passion for photographing gardens; she is now involved in the Auckland gardening scene, photographing gardens and gardeners.

Siobhan Leachman
Companion of Auckland War Memorial Museum

Siobhan Leachman is a digital volunteer for a variety of museums and libraries, citizen science and digital humanities projects.

She began her volunteering with the Smithsonian Transcription Centre, contributing to and giving suggestions on improving the project. Siobhan has written articles and blog posts on her experience and has had her volunteer efforts documented by The Wall Street Journal, NBC news and Al Jazeera.

She was invited by the Smithsonian Institute to be a panellist on the Build the Crowdsourcing Community of Your Dreams session at the 2016 South by Southwest Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas.

Siobhan also co-authored a paper that was published in Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals. At the end of 2016 she presented at the New Zealand National Digital Forum. In addition, Siobhan volunteers with the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), and was invited by BHL to present at the 2018 joint conference of the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections and Biodiversity Information Standards held in Dunedin.

She is a Wikimedian, writing articles and editing English Wikipedia, contributing to Wikimedia Commons and curating data in Wikidata. As a result of this and her work with BHL, Siobhan was awarded a travel scholarship to attend and present at the 2018 WikiCite conference in Berkeley, California.

While participating in Wikimedia projects Siobhan became actively involved with Auckland Museum, collaborating to more widely share the Museum's collections and staff expertise.

Dr Glyn Harper
Fellow of Auckland War Memorial Museum

A decorated military historian, Glyn Harper is Professor of War Studies at Massey University in Palmerston North.

Glyn joined the New Zealand Territorial Army while studying at the University of Canterbury. After graduating with a master’s degree in modern history and a diploma of teaching he moved to Australia.

He taught for seven years, then joined the Australian Army where he completed his PhD on the New Zealand commander Sir Howard Kippenberger at the University of New England.

In 1996, Glyn transferred to the New Zealand Army where, as commanding officer of the Military Studies Institute, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Glyn was the New Zealand Army’s official historian for the deployment to East Timor and is the best-selling author of more than 20 books for adults. He is also an award-winning author of 12 books for children.

After retiring from the Army in 2001 Glyn joined Massey University. He was Director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies for six years and was instrumental in establishing the Centenary History project.

He is Massey’s Project Manager for the Centenary History and has written two of its 14 volumes.

Glyn is a board member of the War History Heritage and Memory (WHAM) Research Network and a member of the Centenary History project’s Governance Group. In 2010, Glyn was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in the USA and, in 2012, was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to historical research.

Matekino Lawless
Fellow of Auckland War Memorial Museum

Matekino Lawless is a respected elder. She is a member of the Kahui Whiritoi (under the auspices of NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aotearoa National Weavers Organisation) and is a well-known weaver, both nationally and internationally.

Matekino has been weaving for over 70 years and tributes her learning to the people of the Ngati Pikiao tribe, Te Arawa.

During her early weaving years, Matekino preferred to weave within the comfort of her home with her family. Her passion for weaving eventually encouraged her to look beyond her family and to share her expertise of toi raranga, whatu and tukutuku.

The contribution Matekino has made to weaving has gained national recognition and she was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal and Creative New Zealand’s Te Waka Toi: Kingi Ihaka Art Award and the Te Waka Toi Supreme Award, Te Tohu Aroha mo Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

Her valued skills continue to be recognised throughout New Zealand and more recently she has accepted invitations to teach internationally with her daughter, Christina, as an inter-generational team.

In 2013 a short-term residency at Evergreen State College’s Longhouse Education and Cultural Center in Olympia, Washington, provided a unique opportunity for Christina to accompany her mother, in a mother-and-daughter residency. This was followed by a two-month residency at the University of Hawai’i Manoa.

Matekino’s work can be seen in the United Nations General Assembly in New York as well as in museums, galleries and private collections both in New Zealand and overseas.

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