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Loving our museum

Tairawhiti Museum has been packing in the visitors and they like what they have seen.

Museum director Eloise Wallace, in presenting her annual report to Gisborne District Council, said the museum received 45,074 visitors in the year ending June 30 and recorded a 94 percent approval rating.

Mrs Wallace said the museum reached its visitor target and she was ‘‘really pleased’’ with the approval rating.

Respective targets are 45,000 visitors and 90 percent approval.

The museum showed more than 20 exhibitions and displayed the works of more than 100 local artists.

The TaoNga Pare-Mata exhibition — a significant collection of taonga Maori from Tairawhiti, known as the Campbell Collection — won two national awards.

That success showed Tairawhiti Museum was one of the leading regional museums in New Zealand, Mrs Wallace told councillors, who were sitting as the finance and performance committee.

The museum did not meet the Ministry of Education contract in terms of student visits but its contract had been renewed.

There were 7269 student visitors, which was short of the target of 8600.

Mrs Wallace attributed the student shortfall to staff changes.

The ministry was “really happy with the service’’ and emphasised the importance of quality and partnership.

The contract was extended to 2021 without the museum needing to re-tender.

The museum had “trusted provider status” with the ministry, It meant the ministry was trusting of the programmes, which gave museum staff confidence, Mrs Wallace said.

In his written report, Gisborne Museum of Art and History Trust chairman Michael Muir said the museum worked closely with council.

The planned roof repair project had not been completed in the just-ended financial year but would be completed in the next.

Total earned income, excluding interest and grants, was $92,942 compared to $91,659 in the previous year.

Grants totalled $24,830, up from $5094 during the previous year.

District council funding totalled $722,495 or 70 percent of revenue of $1.027 million.

The Ministry of Education provided 16 percent ($164,380) of revenue.

Other revenue sources included shop sales, entry fees and exhibition income.

Councillor Shannon Dowsing said he wanted to see the museum stating a target in terms of increasing revenue.

The council provided a “disproportionately large investment” in the museum, he said.

“That’s not a bad thing because you do an incredible job. I just think it’s an area with opportunities to find additional funding partners.”

Mrs Wallace said the New Zealand museum funding environment was difficult. It was not easy to know what granting opportunities might arise.

Mayor Rehette Stoltz congratulated Mrs Wallace on the museum’s performance.

The museum had played a large role during the Tuia 250 commemorations, with the return of taonga, staging exhibitions and in engaging with mana whenua and visitors, she said.

STEERING THE SHIP: Tairawhiti Museum director Eloise Wallace, standing in the wheelhouse of the Star of Canada permanent exhibit, has told Gisborne district councillors the museum is one of the leading regional museums in the country. Picture by Liam Clayton