Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger and members of the Ōtorohanga District Council were among guests given a special tour of Ōtorohanga Museum earlier last week.
They were hosted on Monday evening by members of the Ōtorohanga Museum committee and life members, and those involved with the local historical society. The tour, said new curator Nicky Deeley, was a first and was intended to showcase changes at the museum and highlight future plans.
“We want to show people what we have here and engage them with the project,” she said. “Right now, we’re in the midst of going through the collection and collating it all. We’re keen to let people see what we’re doing, that’s why we’ve left it looking a little unfinished, with ladders and paint brushes still around. It’s a project likely to take a while.”
Nicky, who took over the role about two months ago, said she was eager to encourage community participation in the museum’s reorganisation. “We know the local community is filled with experts, people who know a lot about Ōtorohanga and the artefacts we have here. We’d like them to contribute to what we’re doing here.”
The museum is made up of a collection of historical buildings, including an old police lock-up, a 1912 courthouse, a police office and a 1908 church building, and one that was purpose-built to house an unfinished waka believed to be up to 200 years old. The museum prides itself on being a living museum, with opportunities for interactive participation by visitors.
Joining Nicky in organising Monday’s tour was Ōtorohanga Historical Society president and treasurer, Colin Murphy and Amanda Kiddie respectively. They, and other committee members, squired guests around the different rooms housing the collection.
Also attending were Ōtorohanga District Council mayor Max Baxter, deputy mayor and Waipā ward councillor Roy Johnson, Kawhia/Tihiroa ward councillor Annette Williams, and one-time Ōtorohanga Historical Society president and museum manager, local stalwart Nan Owen.
Also on the tour were representatives from the Ōtorohanga District Development Board, the Ōtorohanga Charitable Trust, the Ōtorohanga Community Board and the Ōtorohanga Business Association.