Rotorua’s Museum of Art and History is to get a $7.5 million government grant to complete its centenary redevelopment project, Prime Minister and Minister Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark announced today.
The funding is from the Government’s Regional Museums Policy for Capital Construction Projects, and will contribute towards the cost of the final stage of the Museum’s multi-year project.
Helen Clark, who was at the Rotorua Museum to make the announcement, said that the Labour-led Government had set up this dedicated fund in 2001 to support the building and refurbishment of museums and galleries with nationally significant collections.
“As Prime Minister and Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, I have worked on behalf of our government to see that our heritage and culture is showcased and celebrated. That is why we have made this commitment to the Rotorua Museum project.
“The Rotorua Museum of Art and History occupies the iconic and much photographed 1908 Bathhouse building in Government Gardens, Rotorua, and is registered as a Category I Historic Place,” Helen Clark said.
“This project will redevelop and complete the building to the architect’s original design, while also ensuring the discrete installation of modern museum technologies, such as the specialised air-conditioning needed to protect the collection from the area’s hydrogen sulphide laden air.
“The museum’s redevelopment project involves three stages. Stage II, the construction of the Northern Wing is well underway, with Stage III – the refurbishment of the existing south wing galleries, and a further southern extension - scheduled to commence in 2009.
“Once completed, these galleries will provide dedicated exhibition space for the display of tonga Mori; a low-light level gallery suitable for fragile historical artworks and smaller tonga; a Tarawera Eruption Gallery; a B Company of the 28th Mori Battalion Gallery, and two additional changing exhibition spaces.
“The Rotorua Museum of Art and History holds nationally significant collections consisting of over 100,000 objects. Collection holdings include: tonga Mori; fine and decorative arts; social history; a photographic collection of over 70,000 images; and extensive ephemera archives. Artists represented in the Museum’s collections’ include Blomfield, Hoyte, Goldie, and Colin McCahon.
“It is the breadth of these collections which enables the Museum to share stories relating to regional pre-colonial history; early contact between Mori and Pkeh; Rotorua as the birthplace and centre for government tourism promotions; the history of Rotorua as a spa town; and the 1886 Tarawera Eruption and the subsequent loss of the Pink and White Terraces.
“Rotorua is one of New Zealand’s most internationally recognised centres of tourism. Its collections give all visitors the opportunity to reflect on New Zealand’s Mori and colonial history, our changing values, and how we forged our unique identity as a nation.
“The 17.5 million government funding is to be spread over three years, with an initial grant of $3.156 million in 2008/09. Subsequent grant allocations will be confirmed annually, subject to the project progressing to plan,” Helen Clark said.
The Regional Museums Policy for Capital Construction Projects was established by Government in 2000/01. It recognises nationally significant collections held by key regional museums, in addition to those collections already held by Te Papa in Wellington.
The Policy enables eligible regional museums to apply for government assistance when they embark on major capital developments.
Since its inception, and prior to this latest funding announcement, the Policy has provided $71.771 million (excluding GST) in funding support towards ten museum redevelopment projects.
Past recipients have included the Auckland Art Gallery ($30.000 million), Otago Settlers Museum ($6.000 million), Auckland War Memorial Museum ($27.111 million); The New Dowse, Lower Hutt ($1.750 million); and Puke Ariki, New Plymouth ($3.733 million).