Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I was tied up for part of last week writing an internal document about plans for the 'restructuring' of Auckland museum which newbie Director Vanda Vitali announced a fortnight back. A Herald forum on the subject has produced some interesting responses.

I can't share what I've written yet, but I did make a post a year or so ago about why I like Auckland's museum so much. The post was written before I started working there, and it is a little sentimental, but it still sums up some of my feelings about the place.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drainbrains. Do your own research and learn the truth rather than being spoon fed everything and then regurgitate it back into the atmosphere, in an attempt to keep your disillusionment alive. The air is polluted enough, or maybe you don't believe that either since it is the true-world media that is attempting to educate you on that bit of information.

Lee Yu Wan

9:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the post you linked to about Auckland museum.

Much like you I have always had a strong sense of awe for Auckland museum since I was a kid. I could spend hours walking around it...

I went to Te Papa a few years ago when i was in wellington - mostly out of interest to compare - as with much of the rest of nz i watched (via media) the progression from building to opening. Having gone there, i completely agree with you.

I found it difficult to stay inside, the lights, sounds and colours gave me quite the headache. I agree they aren't meant to be fun like nintendo! I remembered the permanent Maaori and Pacific Island exibihitions etc that Auckland has and found Te Papa's attempts sad and disappointing.

Mike and I went to the Museum of Natural History in New York a couple of years ago - if you really want to get frustrated as a Maaori and Pacific Island cultural historian/anthropologist go check out their Pacific exibition - curtesy of Margaret Mead...

on the plus side - we did happen to catch the Darwin Exibition on at the time, which was really good.


5:06 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Maragaret Mead is still an interesting writer and researcher.
People had overreacted to her work which was basically good - given the relative difficulties of that kind of research into communities etc...

Ambiguous myself about museums - but the Maori part is definitely better than it used to be in Auckland and there is much else that is excellent. My grandson loved it when I took him there - each time. He liked the Maori performance things and many other things and the children's place and a fascinating movie on dinosaurs... - I have never seen Te Papa.

2:01 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Maps - when you go there you go to the "museyroom"! (Finnegan's Wake.)

2:02 am  
Blogger Dave Brown said...

We need a museum for museums.

2:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be very careful when hearing the new director's plans....those of us who went through the same process in Los Angeles, USA were initially charmed, then perplexed, then insulted, then dismissed (either creatively or in reality), all in the name of 'relevancy". AND! None of her so called exhibit successes were successes. (she's like the tailor in the emperors new clothes...talks a great game and has no people skills to make it happen) Her ill placed and mis-conceived,badly targeted niche exhibits made attendance drop dramatically when it was on an upward roll. She personally offended so many talented people they all left...those who weren't "recategorized".
She left the museum fighting for it's life....we were promised a "vanda-ful" new museum...we were left feeling 'vanda-lized".

Be very careful....you have gotten someone who is like a trojan horse...may you be smarter and more vigilant and militant in addressing her slash and burn tactics.

3:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More than 46 staff have gone or are going because of this supposedly better restructuring (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=10520789).

People are either sick of the place and will not stay; or they simply didn't get the job although there are promises to try to keep as many staff as possible because "I think the staff here are very talented."

I am sure this is what she did - the visitors numbers are already down, but of course her first exhibition, Secrets Revealed, is attracting visitors - because the Museum have been in the spotlight for poor management and angry staff.

If you can, check out Sunday on TV1 this Sunday, or on TVNZ on Demand later. http://tvnz.co.nz/view/news_minisite_index_skin/news_sunday_group. I am looking forward to that too. Truly "Secrets Revealed"

10:41 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Auckland Museum

The process which took place in LA as anonymous has described has been replicated at Auckland Museum. We were also 'charmed' 'perplexed' 'insulted' (add bullied, fearful, and humiliated).
Yes, we were also told that we were 'very talented staff', and then creatively dismissed.
It is hard to stand up to these tactics when staff are confused and divided and then begin to individually fight for survival.
It is clear now that the plan was already in place for the new director to commence her slash and burn tactics soon after arrival. The brief time before the destruction began was used to gain our confidence and lull us into a false sense of security. The perfect climate was created to enable a small group of inherited sycophants to follow through with a target list.
Already the new 'Secrets Revealed' exhibition has been described as being dumbed down, in spite of all the sounds and lights which impress some.
How sad for Auckland Museum's past and future if events follow that of LA, because so far anonymous has been correct in everything they have said.

3:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not attempting to divert any blame from the 'Vanda-ful Vitali' but what's the role of the Board in all this? They have some power here to don't they? And they ultimatley hired her.....

4:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I agree. I would much prefer to leave the Auckland Museum sitting on the hill as a gracious monument to narrow dated thinking about history, culture, the environment, knowledge and organisation, than have it make the hard decisions to change. Far better to have us antipodeans keep the peace and reproduce the management practices and structures that are no longer appropriate or useful than open our minds to new ways of doing things.

2:50 pm  
Anonymous buy Cialis said...

Well I guess it's ok to have some feeling to some place, I love a little park close to my place because I always went there to read and sometimes I fell sleep in grass, which very nice because when you sleep outdoor you really feel like you really rest.
Thanks, nice post +10

10:51 am  
Anonymous xlpharmacy said...

I'm not sure if Auckland museum must be restructured... I think it is gonna lose its essence, and then nobody is gonna visit it... even though this is not more than my point of view.

5:48 am  

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