Museums Aotearoa Conference, Hamilton, 10 April 2013 Message Of Welcome From Minister

Hon_Christopher_FinlaysonHon Chris Finlayson  Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage has generously made available the text of the Speech he gave at the MUSEUMS AOTEAROA CONFERENCE.

The text of the Speech is as follows:




I am pleased to see leadership – in all its nuances – is the theme of this conference.

In times like these, if our museums and art galleries are to meet some complex challenges – and explore the opportunities available in this fast-changing environment – nimble and adaptive leadership will make all the difference.

Over the course of this conference, I expect an emerging theme will be that leadership is not always about being “out in front” – that it can equally mean collaboration, teamwork and setting up others to succeed.  I would like to think our larger metropolitan museums and galleries see this role for themselves.

It is certainly an obligation for our government-funded heritage agencies. That is why I have established a Heritage Forum comprising these agencies and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.  The Forum is intended to serve broader public interests and to deliver a more unified government perspective on some of the significant issues faced by the heritage sector.

The Forum is already getting traction on a range of issues and I look forward to further pragmatic outcomes from their work. I appreciate the submissions Museum Aotearoa’s Executive have made to the Forum.

Government’s approach to national commemorations has also focused on developing a more unified and coherent approach across government agencies. The big shared commemoration on the horizon is, of course, the centenary of the First World War.

The enormous and traumatic impact of the First World War and its aftermath – on our families, our workplaces and communities – is something which must never be minimised or forgotten.

New Zealand’s museums and art galleries are guardians of our taonga and the narrators of our stories. Those responsibilities make them well placed to lead New Zealanders in their reflection on what the War meant to us and to our place in the world.

I am very pleased to see the government’s WW100 centenary programme has been the focus of a pre-conference workshop for delegates. Again, this programme reflects our wish to see a more coordinated and meaningful response to this major heritage event.

In terms of other areas of government work, I know the review of policy for earthquake-prone buildings is already impacting on our art galleries and museums. I appreciate that in addition to thinking about the integrity of buildings and the safety of people, your sector also has to consider the safeguarding of collections.

This is why the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is actively engaging in the review and is working closely with MBIE on how best to respond to the recommendations of the Royal Commission with regards to heritage buildings.

There has been considerable interest in MBIE’s discussion document and over 600 submissions have been received.  These will be considered very carefully before we develop new policy.

In addition to earthquake strengthening, I am aware that there are many other big issues for your sector – access to funding, insurance, digitisation and keeping pace with new technologies – all requiring effective leadership in the years to come.

As this conference reminds us, leadership will be expressed variously, by transferring knowledge and expertise, creating mentoring opportunities, setting up coalitions with other institutions and applying business expertise. Effective succession planning will ensure institutions continue to thrive after leaders have moved on.

Museums Aotearoa will play its part by providing a space for issues to be canvassed and strategies to be shared – through your newsletters and conferences like MA13.

I wish you all the best for the next two days and look forward to hearing about the outcomes of your discussions.



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