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Technology museum looks to the future

May 2019

l-r Helen Ovenden, Rob Beale, Glenda Stokes and Peter Omer

Over its 50-year lifespan the East Coast Museum of Technology (ECMoT) has created a collection to rival that of its bigger and more well-known relative in Auckland with some unique exhibits that MOTAT doesn’t have.

ECMoT was established in 1967 by residents concerned about memorabilia that was leaving the district in the wake of the Cook Bi-Centenary. Since that time the one hundred percent volunteer run organisation has grown to fifteen acres of exhibits that showcase 20th Century life on the East Coast.

Peter Omer, ECMoT Chair, says they feel they have a responsibility to keep it going for future generations.

“If we don’t have a place like ECMoT the kids of tomorrow won’t know what went before. But it’s really difficult because we need the dollars to do it.”

Rob Beale has been volunteering at ECMoT for decades. He feels like his kids have grown up there and remembers sitting them in their carry cot on tractors so they could watch him as he worked.

He especially enjoys the camaraderie of working with a group of volunteers with so much varied expertise.

“We’ve got volunteers of all ages with more younger people becoming interested and involved with the work we do. We can have 12-15 people working on each project at one time or another, it really is team effort.”

Rob added that ECMoT complements the museum in town.

“Tairawhiti Museum does the storytelling of our history. Whereas we have the things the museum talks about which visitors can touch and interact with hands on experiences.”

ECMoT has survived over the years with the generosity of grants, donations and many hours of volunteer time.

ECMoT Secretary, Helen Ovenden, says they have big costs ahead of them with seismic upgrading of the main building and long term plans for improving the museum.

“We are working hard to create stepping stones to get there. We established an endowment fund at Sunrise to help secure a regular source of income for the future of ECMoT.”

Glenda Stokes, Sunrise Executive Officer, says ECMoT is part of the fabric of our place. “My own children always make time to visit ECMoT when they come to Gisborne and now they also take my mokopuna. It’s a treasure I’m sure our community would like to support and now they can with a donation to their endowment fund at Sunrise.”

All donations to the East Coast Museum of Technology Endowment Fund are invested, protected and grown to keep up with inflation. The surplus investment income will be returned to ECMoT each and every year forever.


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