Auckland War Memorial Museum

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Auckland War Memorial Museum
Tāmaki Paenga Hira (Māori)
Auckland War Memorial Museum rect.jpg
General information
Type
  • Museum
  • war memorial
Architectural style Neoclassical
LocationAuckland, New Zealand
Address Auckland Domain
Inaugurated28 November 1929
Cost£250,000
Renovation cost
  • NZ$43 million (1990s)
  • NZ$64.5 million (2000s expansion)
Design and construction
Architecture firmGrierson, Aimer and Draffin
Awards and prizes NZIA Gold Medal in 1929
Renovating team
Awards and prizes
  • Supreme Award of the New Zealand Property Council
  • ACENZ Innovate NZ Gold Award (Structural Engineering) (expansion)
Website
www.aucklandmuseum.com
Designated27 June 1985
Reference no.94
References
Official history of the museum.
Model of the museum, the new copper dome at the rear. Auckland Museum Model Stage II.jpg
Model of the museum, the new copper dome at the rear.
Part of the entablature on the museum's facade, depicting war scenes on its frieze. Entablature-Auckland Museum.JPG
Part of the entablature on the museum's facade, depicting war scenes on its frieze.
The museum seen from Maungawhau / Mount Eden, showing the wavy shape of the copper dome. Museum from mt eden.jpg
The museum seen from Maungawhau / Mount Eden, showing the wavy shape of the copper dome.
View of The Cenotaph headstones. Auckland War Memorial Museum headstones.jpg
View of The Cenotaph headstones.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira (or simply the Auckland Museum [1] ) is one of New Zealand's most important museums and war memorials. Its collections concentrate on New Zealand history (and especially the history of the Auckland Region), natural history, and military history.

New Zealand Country in Oceania

New Zealand is a sovereign island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses—the North Island, and the South Island —and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island areas of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinct biodiversity of animal, fungal, and plant life. The country's varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks, such as the Southern Alps, owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions. New Zealand's capital city is Wellington, while its most populous city is Auckland.

War memorial Type of memorial

A war memorial is a building, monument, statue or other edifice to celebrate a war or victory, or to commemorate those who died or were injured in a war.

Auckland Region region of New Zealands North Island

The Auckland Region is one of the sixteen regions of New Zealand, named for the city of Auckland, the country's largest urban area. The region encompasses the Auckland metropolitan area, smaller towns, rural areas, and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Containing 35 percent of the nation's residents, it has by far the largest population and economy of any region of New Zealand, but the second-smallest land area.

Contents

The museum is also one of the most iconic Auckland buildings, constructed in the neo-classicist style, and sitting on a grassed plinth (the remains of a dormant volcano) in the Auckland Domain, a large public park close to the Auckland CBD.

Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century. In its purest form, it is a style principally derived from the architecture of classical antiquity, the Vitruvian principles, and the work of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio.

Auckland Domain public park in Auckland, New Zealand

The Auckland Domain is Auckland's oldest park, and at 75 hectares one of the largest in the city. Located in the central suburb of Grafton, the park contains all of the explosion crater and most of the surrounding tuff ring of the Pukekawa volcano.

Auckland Museum's collections and exhibits began in 1852. In 1867 Aucklanders formed a learned society – the Auckland Philosophical Society, later the Auckland Institute. [2] Within a few years the society merged with the museum and Auckland Institute and Museum was the organisation's name until 1996. [3] Auckland War Memorial Museum was the name of the new building opened in 1929, but since 1996 was more commonly used for the institution as well. From 1991 to 2003 the museum's Maori name was Te Papa Whakahiku. [4] [5]

Auckland Institute and Museum is a learned Society in New Zealand.

Early history

The Auckland Museum traces its lineage back to 1852 when it was established in a farm workers' cottage where the University of Auckland is now located. With an initial call for the donation of specimens of wool for display it attracted 708 visitors in its first year.

University of Auckland University in New Zealand

The University of Auckland is the largest university in New Zealand, located in the country's largest city, Auckland. It is the highest-ranked university in the country, being ranked 85th worldwide in the 2018/19 QS World University Rankings. Established in 1883 as a constituent college of the University of New Zealand, the university is made up of eight faculties; these are spread over six campuses. It has more than 40,000 students, and more than 30,000 "equivalent full-time" students.

Interest in the museum dwindled over the following decade even as its collection grew, and in 1869 the somewhat neglected and forlorn museum was transferred to the care of The Auckland Institute, a learned society formed two years earlier. An Italianate-style building was constructed for the museum in Princes Street, near Government House and across the road from the Northern Club. It was opened on 5 June 1876 by the Governor of New Zealand the Marquis of Normanby. [6] These new premises included a large gallery top-lit by a metal framed skylight. This room proved problematic as it was impossible to heat during the winter but overheated during the summer. Canvas awnings used to shield the roof from harsh sunlight made the exhibits difficult to view in the resulting gloom. Several exhibition halls were added to the side of the original building. [7] One of the visitors during the 1890s was the French artist Gauguin, who sketched several Maori items and later incorporated them into his Tahitian period paintings.

George Phipps, 2nd Marquess of Normanby British politician

George Augustus Constantine Phipps, 2nd Marquess of Normanby, styled Viscount Normanby between 1831 and 1838 and Earl of Mulgrave between 1838 and 1863, was a British Liberal politician and colonial governor of Nova Scotia, Queensland, New Zealand and Victoria.

In the early years of the 20th century the museum and its collections flourished under visionary curator Thomas Cheeseman, who tried to establish a sense of order and separated the natural history, classical sculpture and anthropological collections which had previously been displayed in a rather unsystematic way. The need for better display conditions and extra space necessitated a move from the Princes St site and eventually the project for a purpose-built museum merged with that of the war memorial to commemorate soldiers lost in World War I. The site was a hill in the Government Domain commanding an impressive view of the Waitemata Harbour. Permission was granted by the Auckland City Council in 1918, the Council in its liberality being given three seats on the Museum Council. As well as an initial gift of £10,000 the Council also agreed to an annual subsidy from the rates towards maintenance of the facility and eventually coaxed several of the other local bodies to the principle of an annual statutory levy of £6,000 to support the museum's upkeep.

The worldwide architectural competition was funded by the Institute of British Architects, a £1,000 sterling prize drew over 70 entries, with Auckland firm Grierson, Aimer and Draffin winning the competition with their neo-classical building reminiscent of Greco-Roman temples. In 1920 the present Domain site was settled on as a home for the museum and in the 1920s after successful fund-raising led by Auckland Mayor Sir James Gunson, building of the Auckland War Memorial Museum began, with construction completed in 1929. It was opened by the Governor-General General Sir Charles Fergusson.

The museum architects commissioned Kohns Jewellers of Queen Street to create a finely detailed silver model of the museum. This was presented to Sir James Gunson on completion of the museum, in recognition of his leading the project.

The building is considered[ by whom? ] one of the finest Greco-Roman buildings in the Southern Hemisphere. It has an 'A' classification from the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, designating it as a building whose preservation is of the utmost importance. Of particular interest is the interior plasterwork which incorporates Maori details in an amalgamation of Neo-Greek and art-deco styles. Likewise the exterior bas-reliefs depicting 20th-century armed forces and personnel are in a style which mixes Neo-Greek with Art-Deco. The bulk of the building is English Portland Stone with detailing in New Zealand granite from the Coromandel.

Two additions were made to the 1929 building, the first in the late 1950s to commemorate the Second World War when an administration annexe with a large semi-circular courtyard was added to the southern rear. [8] This extension is of concrete block construction rendered in cement stucco to harmonise with the Portland Stone of the earlier building. In 2006 the inner courtyard was enclosed by the grand atrium at the southern entrance.

The quotation 'The Whole Earth is the Sepulchre of Famous Men' over the front porch is attributed to the Greek general Pericles, in keeping with its commemorative status to affairs of a martial nature.

Renovation

In the last two decades, the museum was renovated and extended in two stages. The first stage saw the existing building restored and the exhibits partly replaced during the 1990s for $NZ 43 million. The second stage of this restoration has seen a great dome – atrium constructed within the central courtyard, increasing the building's floor area by 60% (an addition of 9,600 m²) [9] for a price of $NZ 64.5 million. $NZ 27 million of that was provided by the government, with the ASB Trust ($NZ 12.9 million) and other donors making up the remainder. [10] The second stage finished in 2007.

The copper and glass dome, as well as the viewing platform–event centre underneath it, had been criticised by some as 'resembling a collapsed soufflé', but quickly won the admiration of critics and public, being noted for 'its undulating lines, which echo the volcanic landscape and hills around Auckland'. Standing in the event centre underneath the top of the dome was likened to being underneath the 'cream-coloured belly of a giant stingray', 'with its rippling wings hovering over the distinctive city skyline'. [11] In June 2007, the 'Grand Atrium' project also received the Supreme Award of the New Zealand Property Council, which noted it as being "world-class", and a successful exercise in combining complex design and heritage demands. It has also received the ACENZ Innovate NZ Gold Award (Structural Engineering) for the redevelopment. [9] [12]

The new sections underneath the dome, mostly contained within a kauri-wood-panelled sphere approximately 30 m across, will add 900 m² of additional exhibition space, as well as a 700 people event centre under the dome roof with a 48 m wide free span, new areas for tour and school groups including an auditorium in the sphere-bowl with 200 seats, as well as a restaurant with 450 seats. The bowl, which is the internal centre-piece of the expansion, weighs 700 tonnes and is suspended free-hanging from trusses spanning over it from the elevator four shafts located around it. A new 204-space underground parking garage at the rear has also been constructed to help cover the high demand for parking in the Auckland Domain. [11] [12] [13]

The new sections of the museum have been favourably likened to a Matryoshka doll, buildings nested within a building. [8]

Railway station access

A new station, Parnell Railway Station, which features the historic station building of the Newmarket station, was opened on 12 March 2017 in the suburb of Parnell, directly to the east of the Museum. [14] It was thought that the station would see high demand from museum visitors, especially students and school children. [15]

Collections, exhibitions and research
Auckland Museum's collections are organised into three principal areas: documentary heritage (manuscripts, correspondence and other historical documents in archives, along with pictorial art); the major branches of the natural sciences; and human history. [16] The Museum maintains regional cooperation and complementary collecting with other organisations across Auckland (among them Auckland Libraries and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki). [17] [18]

Documentary Heritage
The Museum's Documentary Heritage collections comprise manuscripts, ephemera, maps, charts and plans, newspapers and periodicals, rare and contemporary books and pamphlets, photographs, and works of art in the form of paintings, bookplates, and sketches and drawings. Among the areas of focus are Māori and Pacific cultures, [19] the human and natural history of the Greater Auckland region, New Zealanders' involvement in global conflicts, and exploration and discovery. [20] The Museum holds the only known extant copy of A Korao no New Zealand , the first book written in the Māori language, published at Sydney in 1815 by the missionary Thomas Kendall. [21]

Pictorial
The Museum has holdings in historic paintings, watercolours, photographs and other artworks. [22] The Pictorial collection numbers in the milions, [23] and contains some of the earliest examples of the development of the photographic arts and technology in New Zealand, including calotypes by William Fox Talbot; some of the first known daguerrotypes made in New Zealand, [24] and an ambrotype portrait of the Ngā Puhi chief Tāmati Wāka Nene attributed to John Nicol Crombie. [25]

The latter part of the 20th century is represented by the collection of the documentary photographer Robin Morrison, while among the women photographers of note represented are Una Garlick and Margaret Matilda White. Other collections include the documentary photographs of the Auckland Star and New Zealand Herald newspapers; some work by Arthur Ninnis Breckon and George Bourne, including images made for the Auckland Weekly News; [26] the work of Tudor Washington Collins and John Watt Beattie, [27] and the archive of Sparrow Industrial Pictures. The Museum also has a bookplate collection, which contains more than 7,000 plates collected by Australian scholar Percy Neville Barnett. [28]

Manuscripts and archives
The Manuscripts and Archives collection is one of the largest non-governmental archives in New Zealand. [29] The collection covers large organisational and business archives and smaller personal collections which record and illustrate New Zealanders' lives within the country and abroad, especially during military service. [29]

Among the personal papers held at the Museum are 19th-century papers relating to the Williams family [30] and the Reverend Vicesimus Lush; the papers of the politician John Logan Campbell, [31] the mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist Edmund Hillary; [32] and those of the British Resident James Busby. In addition, the Library also holds the papers of:

The Library is the repository of the Presbyterian Church records for Auckland and Northland. [29]

Maps and plans
The Museum's map collection contains large sequences of official New Zealand maps, WWII-era military maps, subdivision plans, [34] and other material, including atlases, which helps record and provide evidence of early New Zealand development. [35] There is also a small collection of maps relating to the discovery and exploration of the Pacific Ocean and islands by Europeans, dating from before 1800. [36]

Museum Library Te Pātaka Mātāpuna
The Library's collection of books and other publications are focused on New Zealand subject areas and were developed chiefly to support curatorial work and collecting. The collection also features significant holdings of Māori-language materials.

Natural sciences
The Musem's natural sciences collections provide information on the distribution and morphology of plant, animal and mineral species in New Zealand and the regional Pacific. The Museum stores and exhibits 1.5 million natural history specimens from the fields of botany, entomology, geology, land vertebrates and marine biology. [37]

Botany
The botanical collections of the Auckland Museum Herbarium (code "AK") [38] were first established in 1870, [39] [40] and are the means by which the department carries out its function of "collection and preservation of botanical materials; education (through public enquiries, individual and group visits, outreach programmes, and the display of material) and research and publication on various aspects of New Zealand flora". [38] The focus of the herbarium collection is on wild plants (native and naturalised) in all plant groups principally from northern New Zealand and its offshore islands. [41] Auckland Museum's is one of only three major herbaria in New Zealand; the others are at Landcare Research Auckland and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, in Wellington. [41] :10

Entomology
The Entomology collection contains about 250,000 catalogued specimens and collections ranging from Three Kings Islands to the sub-Antarctic Islands. It is part of a national and international network and aims to contain a comprehensive reference collection of all insect types as well as other terrestrial and freshwater invertebrates (worms, spiders, millipedes and centipedes, some isopods and amphipods) from the New Zealand region. This includes both native and introduced species. Its importance lies in the ability to support research into the biodiversity of New Zealand’s terrestrial invertebrates (particularly beetles, moths and parasitic wasps), and their contribution to complex ecologies. Foreign collections of beetles and butterflies feature also, for comparative and educational value.

In 2009, the Museum acquired a collection of butterflies and books about butterflies bequeathed by the late Ray Shannon, a private collector whose interest in lepidopterology began while he was stationed in the Solomon Islands during the Second World War. [42] The Shannon collection comprises "about 13,000 specimens of just under 3,000 species and subspecies". [42]

Geology
The Geology collection was originally focused on material from the Waihi, Thames and Coromandel gold fields, through collecting by the Museum’s geologists as well as those donated by private collectors. [41] :14

Paleontology
The Paleontology collection was established in the early 1900s. The collection contains more than 20,000 specimen lots. [41] :14

Land vertebrates
The Land Vertebrates collection comprises more than 12,500 bird specimens, 2,500 amphibians and reptiles, and 1,000 land mammals, primarily collected from Northern New Zealand.

Marine biology

The Marine collection, especially its shell assemblage, was largely established through A. W. B. Powell's association with the Museum (1916 – 1987).

Human History

Applied Arts
Established in 1966, the Museum's Applied Arts and Design collection includes ceramics, jewellery, furniture, glass, metalwork, costumes, textiles, costume accessories, musical instruments, horological objects and objets d′art from around the world. [43] The collection numbers nearly 7,000 objects [44] and represents key makers, manufacturers, designs, designers and technical developments and styles primarily of Auckland, but also of the Auckland region of New Zealand, and Western and Eastern cultures. A collection of 7,000 objects from across Asia is displayed on rotation. [45]

Castle Collection of musical instruments
A collection of more than 480 musical instruments includes "workable examples of every member of the violin family, as well as didgeridoos, a zuffolo, harpsichords, a crwth, harps, tablas, a sáhn, horns, trumpets, clarinets, [and] a hurdy-gurdy".[ citation needed ]

Taonga Māori (Ethnology)
The museum houses a large collection of Māori and Pacific Island artefacts, including Hotunui, [46] a large whare rūnanga (carved meeting house) built in 1878 at Thames, and Te Toki-a-Tapiri, [47] a Māori war canoe from 1830 carved by Te Waaka Perohuka. [48] Within New Zealand, the Taonga Māori collection is of equal significance to that of the national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa. It is a cultural and research resource of the first order, having the most comprehensive range of types and periods of material and is essential for the whole spectrum of studies in Māori art and material culture. [49] The collection dates from the early decades of the founding of the Museum.

Social and War History
The War History collection was established in 1920, [41] :16 and includes a significant medal collection, a wide range of swords and firearms as well as material culture related to New Zealanders' military service. [41] :17

War Memorial

Parts of the museum, as well as the Cenotaph and its surrounding consecrated grounds (Court of Honour) in front of the Museum, also serve as a war memorial, mainly to those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars. There are two 'Halls of Memory' within the museum, whose walls, together with a number of additional marble slabs, list the names of all known New Zealand soldiers from the Auckland Region killed in major conflicts during the 20th Century. [50]

RSA representatives have noted that the Cenotaph area is in need of renovation, and also would like measures put in place that ensure the area is treated with more respect by people using the park or visiting the museum. Auckland City was considering replacement the old concrete paving with granite and basalt pavers. [51] This was apparently decided against, possibly for cost reasons. The city has however conducted substantial remedial works, to improve the condition of the existing Court of Honour, including repairs to and lighting of the steps, uplighting of the Cenotaph, as well as general cleaning and a new interpretive engraving provided by the Auckland RSA. [52]

In early 2010, Auckland City Council started work in front of the Court of Honour, up to then taken up by a smaller car park. The area is to be changed to provide a new water feature instead, and walkways and other infrastructure will also be upgraded. Work around the court is to be completed by Anzac Day 2010, with the remainder following in July 2010. [53]

Governance

The Museum is governed by a trust board, [54] and has an Executive Management Team headed by a Director. [55] The board's duties, functions and powers, and its responsibilities to ten statutory objectives are set out in the Auckland War Memorial Museum Act 1996. [56] Paramount amongst its responsibilities is "the trusteeship and guardianship of the Museum and its extensive collections of treasures and scientific materials". [57]

Taumata-ā-Iwi

The Act also tasks the Board with the appointment of a 5-person Māori Committee known as the Taumata-ā-Iwi. [56] (Section sign.svg 16 (1)) The Taumata-ā-Iwi "is founded upon the principle of mana whenua (customary authority of and over ancestral land), and comprises [members or representatives of the] Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Pāoa and Tainui [ iwi]". [54]

The committe is "responsible for the provision of advice and assistance to the Trust Board in a series of matters as set out in the Act," [54] including matters provided for in the Treaty of Waitangi. [56] (Section sign.svg 16 (8)) The Act further "empowers the Taumata-ā-Iwi to give advice on all matters of Māori protocol within the Museum and between the Museum and Māori people at large", [58] (Principle I) codified in the committee's governance principles as "the right to advise". [58] [59] [60]

Directors

The following is a list of Directors to date, [61] the first three of whom used the title "Curator":

NameTerm
John Alexander Smith (Honorary Curator and Secretary)1852 – 1857
Thomas Kirk (Secretary)1874 – 1923
Sir Gilbert Archey KBE 1924 – 1964
E. Grahamm Turbott QSO 1964 – 1979
G. Stuart Park1979 – 1993
Dr. Rodney Wilson CNZM 1994 – 2007
Dr. Vanda Vitali 2007 – 2010
Sir Don McKinnon ONZ GCVO 2010 – 2011
Rear Admiral Roy Clare CBE 2011 – 2016
Dr. David Gaimster2017 – present


Controversies

Hillary estate

The memorabilia of the late Sir Edmund Hillary, first man to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, led to legal action between his children, Peter and Sarah Hillary, and the museum over publishing rights to his papers. [62] New Zealand Prime Minister John Key offered to mediate, and his offer was accepted and the matter resolved amicably. [63] [64]

Vitali tenure

The appointment and activities of Dr Vanda Vitali, a Canadian citizen appointed new museum director in the late 2000s (until her resignation in 2010) saw a number of highly disputed changes in the museum, with numerous staff being made redundant, or having to reapply for their positions. The museum also charged a controversial "donation" for entry (while still claiming to provide free entry), despite a museum levy being part of the regional rates. [65]

Vitali was roundly criticised for many of her actions by a number of former staff and public figures, such as editorialist Pat Booth, who accused her of downplaying the "War Memorial" element of the museum name and function, [65] as well as by former finance head of the museum, Jon Cowan, who in a letter to the New Zealand Herald argued after Vitali's resignation that she was responsible for a significant fall in visitor numbers and visitor satisfaction during her tenure. He also claimed that these statistics had ceased to be published in the second year of Vitali's work at the museum, given the clear negative trends of her initial year. [66]

Notes

  1. John Roland Preston Lee, 1913–1998.

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References

  1. Note that this shortened form is controversial.
  2. Powell, A.W.B. (editor) (1967). The Centennial History of the Auckland Institute and Museum. Auckland Museum, Auckland.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. "Chairman's Review". Auckland War Memorial Museum Annual Report: 2. 1996–97.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  4. Auckland Institute and Museum Annual Report. 1990–91. pp. 11–12.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  5. Auckland War Memorial Museum Annual Report. 2003–2004. pp. 7–8.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  6. Cheeseman, T.F. (1917). The First Fifty Years of the Auckland Institute and Museum and its Future Aims. Auckland Museum, Auckland.
  7. Wolfe, R. (2001). "Mr Cheeseman's legacy: the Auckland Museum at Princes Street". Records of the Auckland Museum. 38: 1–32.
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Coordinates: 36°51′37″S174°46′40″E / 36.8603001°S 174.7778356°E / -36.8603001; 174.7778356