2018 ServiceIQ New Zealand Museum Awards - Winners Announced

Published on 20 May 2018

Museum project excellence award held on 20 May 2018.

The most engaging, visionary, resourceful and innovative exhibitions, programmes and museum projects were celebrated this evening with a gala event at Christchurch Art Gallery.

Every year, the judges face tough decisions in shortlisting and awarding winners. 2018 was no exception, with over 60 entries across the categories. The list of winners includes a diverse range of museums and art galleries, proving that size, budget and location are no barrier to recognition. What all winners did have in common were inspired approaches to engaging our communities in art, science, history and culture.

This year, a new individual achievement award, commemorating museum legend Mina McKenzie, was presented, by Mina’s grand-daughter Emma McKenzie. The award recognises the significant contribution of an individual to their institution, community or the museum sector. The inaugural recipient of this award is Awhina Tamarapa, who has made a significant contribution to the embedding of Matauranga Māori in New Zealand museums, from governance through to operational levels.

The Museum Project Award went to the visionary Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, in Foxton. This project was developed through a ground-breaking three-way cultural partnership. The result is a feeling of real community ownership for the centre. 

MOTAT’s ‘Changing Gear’, which tackled the topical issue of cycling, won the award for Exhibition Excellence – Social History. An extremely timely exhibition, it demonstrated how a museum can operate as a platform to inform debate and shape attitudes.

In the Science and Technology category, Kaikoura Museum’s ‘New Normal - The Kaikoura Earthquake Exhibition’ was the unanimous winner. It connected closely with the local community and used a variety of ways to engage audiences in science, achieving a lot with limited resources.

Hastings City Art Gallery’s co-curated exhibition #keeponkimiora brought together artist Edith Amituanai and Kimi Ora Community School and was the winner of the Art category. The judges admired the collaborative ethos of the project that saw students involved in all aspects of the exhibition. 

Otago Museum and MTG Hawke’s Bay were joint winners of the Exhibition Excellence - Taonga Māori category. Both demonstrated best practice in collaborative relationships between iwi and museums to exhibit taonga Māori collections. MTG’s ‘He Manu Tīoriori 100 Years of Ngāti Kahungunu Music’ was praised by judges for its success in reconnecting audiences with a musical tradition stretching back 100 years. Otago Museum’s Tūhura Otago Community Trust Science Centre impressed with its truly bicultural approach, enabling visitors to engage with both Te Ao Kai Tahu and Western science.

Two projects outside the box featured in the Most Innovative Public Programme Award. Taupō Museum’s fun and highly popular ‘Dog Show and Gallery for Dogs’ and Otago Museum’s ‘Extreme Science - Taking Science to the Chathams‘. The judging panel commented that, “These two programmes were at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of resources available to each institution to make the programmes occur but what we loved about both were that they connected with communities in genuine, innovative and engaging ways. Both programmes are proactive and foster access, awareness and make real and tangible connections."

Awards host Christchurch Art Gallery was a finalist in the Exhibition Excellence – Taonga Maori Award with ‘He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land’ and won the Museum Shops Association of Australia and New Zealand Award for Best New Product or Range (over $1 million turnover), with their ‘Look Mum, No Hands’ range developed with artist Wayne Youle. The Dowse Art Museum’s collaborative ‘The Pattern Project’ was also a winner in this category for (under $1 million turnover).

In 2017, a new Arts Access Aotearoa Museum Award was offered for the first time, aimed at increasing the sector’s focus on accessibility. The 2018 award was won by Canterbury Museum’s candid and moving exhibition, ‘The Bristlecone Project’, with judges Richard Benge, Executive Director, Arts Access Aotearoa and Award winning journalist and communicator, Robyn Hunt ONZM, Principal Consultant AccEase, stating that, “The Bristlecone Project exhibition is a powerful example of how museums can include the voices, stories, experience and history of people who have previously experienced exclusion. It had a high standard of accessible features and demonstrated how to include impactful ‘unsafe’ stories in a ‘safe’ museum.”

The ServiceIQ New Zealand Museum Awards are generously supported by ServiceIQ. Abbe Todd who represented ServiceIQ at the Awards ceremony, congratulated all the finalists and winners, saying that, “Museums and galleries are the special places where our stories are told. They connect us, and our visitors, to all those wonderful stories and carry them into the future for generations to come. The winners of every category should be congratulated, and seen as an inspiring example of what can be achieved when dedication, education and entertainment combine."

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