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QRS donation acknowledges mahi of museum supporters

Museum canva

Christmas has come early to Wairoa Museum after local company Quality Roading and Services announced a $40,000 donation to the museum this week.

Museum manager Angela Smith says the funding boost celebrates and acknowledges the years of commitment and mahi by hundreds of volunteers and friends of the museum.

“We’re enormously grateful to the QRS whānau for the donation. A lot of people have sacrificed much time and effort so our community can have this significant educational and state-of-the-art venue,” she says.

QRS chief executive Jeremy Harker says QRS staff and board members hope the donation will help the museum’s journey to inspire curiosity and lifelong learning.

“The Wairoa Museum is an important part of the district’s fabric. It provides a sense of community and place by celebrating a collective heritage, and it offers a great way for locals and visitors to get to know the history of our district.”

“At QRS we’re humbled to be playing our own small part in helping staff and volunteers to continue that work, to enable the Wairoa community to acknowledge its history with pride, and to provide learning opportunities for future generations.”

Wairoa Museum began life as part of Wairoa’s library in 1975. These days it’s housed in the old Union Bank of Australia building on Marine Parade and registered with the NZ Historical Places Trust.

The museum presents historical displays related to Māori and European history from the Wairoa area and surrounding districts. The strength of the museum lies in its photographic collections presenting a pictorial history from the 1890s through to present day. There’s a very strong collection of Māori taonga including a carving of Māori chief Te Kawiti dating back to the 1700s.

A Wairoa District Council annual grant covers salaries and building insurance. Bequests, fundraising, and entry koha, cover the ongoing operation including rates, other insurance, repairs, maintenance and security.  Funding applications, if successful, help pay for conservation, and for education and exhibition programmes.

These days the museum also stays open thanks to the efforts of the Wairoa District Heritage and Museum Trust and it’s 11 volunteer trustees, a strong Friends of the Museum working group, and three staff including registrar Nigel How, and curator Mike Spedding.

Known as the museum without walls, manager Angela Smith says the museum is a living entity linking people, history, taonga and place.

She made special mention of the late Bruce Mackay, who passed away earlier this year and whose legacy has helped leave the museum in good stead for the future. “Bruce was a founding member and patron of the museum and one of our most passionate supporters.”

Ms Smith says the priority for the museum’s exhibitions and public programmes for the next 12 months is to collaborate and foster local art and history.

Currently on display is The Wairoa Star 100th Anniversary exhibition to February 2022.

Coming up:


* Toihoukura School of Māori Visual Art and Design, Gisborne, exhibition of art from students whose whakapapa connects them to Wairoa.

*History of the Country Women’s Institute

*Te Taniwha, a collaborative project between local historian Richard Niania, photographer Joyce Campbell, and local woman Vicky Smith.

Wairoa Museum, Marine Parade, is open Tuesday to Friday, 10am-2pm.

16 November 2021

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