Announcement of first recipients of funding under the Regional Museums Policy for Capital Works, Puke Ariki, New Plymouth

  • Judith Tizard
Arts, Culture and Heritage

Maunga Taranaki tena koe
Ki nga iwi katoa i noho mai i raro i tona tihi tapu
Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa
Kua riro mai to honore nui ki runga i ahau
He ra whakahirahira
Mo tenei kaupapa rangitira
No reira, tena koutou tena koutou katoa

Greetings to Mount Taranaki
To all the tribes who live beneath his sacred peak
I sincerely greet you all
I am honoured to be here
This is indeed a momentous occasion
With a very significant theme
No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa

My Parliamentary colleague Harry Duynhoven, MP for New Plymouth;
Your worship the Mayor of New Plymouth Claire Stewart, District Mayors and councillors, regional leaders and representatives of Puke Ariki Foundation Partners;
Members of Komiti Maori;
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, friends of Puke Ariki all.

Welcome to the announcement of the first recipients of funding for capital works under the government's new Regional Museums Policy

I bring the greetings of the Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage, Helen Clark.

When we wrote our policy on arts and culture, we said "it is vital that our national and regional collections are restored, maintained, developed and displayed."

The Regional Museums Policy has been developed with this in mind. The Regional Museums Policy delivers on the government's commitment to helping ensure the preservation and accessibility of our cultural heritage.

The primary responsibility in supporting regional institutions lies with the regions in which those institutions are based. But we believe there is a role for central government in preserving and protecting collections of national significance.

Making money available to projects undertaken by regional museums and galleries is in our view a most effective way to deliver support right to the coal-face, directly to the projects that serve to preserve our nationally significant heritage for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

We are committed to preserving our cultural heritage for three main reasons:
„h Culture is at the heart of a society;
„h Cultural activities generate economic wealth;
„h Cultural awareness helps us to develop our broader sense of national identity and our place in the world.

The Regional Museums Policy was announced only three months ago ¡V here we are today announcing the first grants to be made under the Policy.

We have available for the 2001/02 year, $2.55 million GST inclusive. We have decided to fund three projects.

This decision has been the result of careful analysis of a number of applications according to criteria specified in the Regional Museums Policy.

The three successful applicants have shown that they fit within the criteria and are fully consistent with the government's objectives of encouraging institutions that work to ensure their own effective development.

„h The first project

We have decided to give $30,000 towards construction of the Eastern Southland Gallery's Dr John Money Wing;

The Eastern Southland Gallery's redevelopment project is in large part due to the very generous decision by Dr John Money to give his personal art collection to the gallery.

In addition, Ralph Hotere has gifted a collection of his works for permanent exhibition. I am sure everybody here will appreciate the significance of these gifts in terms of their intrinsic value. They signal a confidence in the Gallery's ability to care for and display these items.

The government shares this confidence. We recognise that the development at the Eastern Southland Gallery will offer a great deal to the cultural life and economy of the Southland community, as well as visitors from the rest of New Zealand and the world.

„h The second project

We have decided to give $320,000 towards construction of the Wairarapa Arts and History Centre

The new Wairarapa Arts and History Centre, which replaces the Wairarapa Arts Centre, has enormous significance to the Wairarapa region.

The lack of space until now has meant that important cultural and historical material such as Taonga Maori from throughout the Wairarapa has been lost to the region, or stored away from public access.

The new gallery space means these treasures can be put on display. Many people have already been inspired to come forward with more artefacts of great significance. The new museum and gallery will tell many stories of the history of the region, and the meeting and interaction of Maori and Pakeha cultures. I greatly look forward to watching it become a central cultural institution for the Wairarapa.

The new centre is on track to open in late November.

„h The third project

The remainder of this year's funding, which is $2.2 million GST inclusive, will go to Puke Ariki.

In addition, I would like to signal our intention, (albeit not a legally binding commitment), to make a further contribution of $2 million to Puke Ariki over the next two years.

Here we stand - or some of us hang - on the site of an ancient pa that became in later years the administrative centre of colonial Taranaki. This place is steeped in history. Every molecule of the land has a story to tell. Puke Ariki, a project of what I consider to be quite exceptional vision, will seek to tell those stories.

Puke Ariki seeks to combine in a unique way the services of the Taranaki Museum and the New Plymouth District Library. The thing that perhaps strikes me most about the Puke Ariki concept is its focus on a holistic experience for visitors ¡V using a variety of media to display the material.

People entering Puke Ariki will be drawn irresistibly into a journey that takes them through time from the region's geological roots to the different aspects of its colourful human history.
They will come out richer in knowledge and understanding of the stories of this unique region and the part it has played in shaping the history of New Zealand as a whole.

The new development will allow unprecedented public access to the Taranaki collections, including the much-treasured taonga Maori collection, 95% of which have had to exist in storage.

Puke Ariki is a combined effort of the region as a whole

Given the criteria with which we have made this decision, I would like to pay tribute to the extent to which Puke Ariki is a combined effort of the region as a whole.

Foundation Partners: The New Plymouth District Council, The Taranaki Regional Council, The TSB Community Trust

The eight major Iwi, represented by Komiti Maori.

And the key corporate and community organisations: Westgate Port Taranaki, Shell Petroleum Mining, and Methanex

This shows how important partnerships are in working together to preserve our heritage and build resources for present and future generations.

I am confident that Puke Ariki will prove an outstanding asset for the Taranaki region and the country as a whole.

It is for all these reasons that this Government is committing a total of $4.2 million over three years to the Puke Ariki Museum and Library Project.

I'm delighted central government can provide what could be thought of as a financial vote of confidence to the project and all those involved with it.

Congratulations to all successful applicants

I would like to congratulate all three successful recipients. Your enthusiasm and expertise show what can be achieved with vision, community pride and dedication to excellence.

John McDonald, the Funding Manager for the Wairarapa Arts and History Centre told me: "In terms of smaller communities in New Zealand, the Regional Museums Policy has been a God-send".

I'm pleased that the Regional Museums funding recognises your commitment to preserving New Zealand's heritage.

I wish you all the very best. No reira, Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.