Treaty Grounds set for 21st Century makeover
16 October 2013
Waitangi’s Treaty Grounds are set for an inspiring new era with a major project of refreshment launched today, including the building of a new state-of-the-art museum in time for the Treaty’s 175th anniversary in 2015.
“Waitangi is New Zealand’s most important historic site and the Waitangi National Trust is committed to ensuring Waitangi’s history is accessible to future generations of New Zealanders and visitors to our country,” Waitangi National Trust chairman Pita Paraone says.
“As a Board we have a vision to have all New Zealanders visiting Waitangi during their school years, because Waitangi is part of learning about and anchoring our identity as New Zealanders. We are developing a long term master plan for the development of the Waitangi experience, including exciting new educational initiatives and possibly travel support that will make Waitangi accessible to all young New Zealanders.
Our immediate goal is to improve interpretation throughout the site, and we want the Museum of Waitangi, which will include an education centre, to be in place by 2015, in time for the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. There is no museum at present, so this development will allow us to tell the story of Waitangi in much greater depth, with high quality exhibition and learning spaces and utilising a wider range of media than is currently possible.
The new facility will provide a state of the art, secure, climate controlled environment to house significant taonga associated with Waitangi that are currently scattered throughout New Zealand. We will also have the ability to house the original Treaty documents at Waitangi on a temporary basis from time to time, such as during the 175th anniversary celebrations.
To achieve the Waitangi National Trust’s vision and the next generation of development, with the support of Westpac New Zealand we are today also launching the Waitangi Charitable Foundation. The foundation will be co-chaired by Sir Don McKinnon and Sir Tumu Te Heuheu and will lead and develop philanthropic public, corporate and individual funding support.”
“Over the next two years we will be seeking up to $10 million to make the proposed developments a reality. The foundation is a way New Zealanders can be a part of helping achieve the vision and future of Waitangi,” Mr Paraone says.
The Museum of Waitangi initiative and the Waitangi Charitable Foundation will be officially launched at a function at Government House, hosted by Their Excellencies, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, Governor-General, and Lady Janine Mateparae, this evening.
“Waitangi: A place for all New Zealanders and a place of accord among all peoples. A place standing central to our history as a nation and at the centre of the growth of our nation. A place of honour, partnership, scholarship and courage. A place New Zealanders want to visit at least once in their lifetime to make a deeper exploration of their identity. A place where international visitors can find an insight into the nature of what it is to be a ‘Kiwi’ and learn about our culture.”
The Waitangi National Trust’s vision of the future
To build a Museum of Waitangi, with an education centre, to keep the vision of Waitangi alive. To develop Waitangi as the place to visit for all New Zealanders and all international visitors. To reach out to the children of our nation, and through them to their parents and teachers, their relatives and friends. In order to go forward as a nation, we need to know where we’ve been. The history of our nation is important. We learn from our mistakes and our successes to build a future as a more just and cohesive contemporary New Zealand.
MEDIA QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Why does the Treaty Grounds need a new museum?
There is currently no museum, despite there being many very significant taonga associated with Waitangi and the people who were involved in 1840, as well as before and after that date. These are scattered around New Zealand, in other museums and in private collections. By building its own museum, as part of a much bigger programme of development for the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the Trust will be able to bring its collections together in one place for the first time in several decades.
The museum will also enable the wider story of Maori-European contact and the ongoing development of New Zealand as a nation to be told in much more depth than is currently possible. The vision of the Waitangi National Trust is that Waitangi be a place for all New Zealanders and a place of accord amongst all peoples and the museum and education centre will be central to realising that vision.
What will be the advantages of a new museum and education centre?
As well as providing more space to tell the story of Waitangi and house associated taonga, it is also possible that some of the original documents, such as the 1835 Declaration of Independence and the Treaty documents themselves, will be able to be displayed at Waitangi from time to time, perhaps associated with major milestone dates such as the 175th anniversary of the signing.
The museum will also contain an education centre, which will be important in encouraging the children of New Zealand to learn more about the place Waitangi has in their lives and what it means for the nation they live in. Curriculum-based programmes will be developed for visiting school groups at both primary and secondary school level.
What will be the main features?
High quality exhibition and learning spaces will be developed, enabling the stories of Waitangi to be told in much more depth than ever before, utilising a range of media. State of the art climate controls, lighting and security systems will ensure the safety and survival of the precious taonga associated with Waitangi.
Why is this important to New Zealanders?
Waitangi is Aotearoa-New Zealand’s most important historic site and a place central to the history of our nation. It symbolises the coming together of two cultures in an attempt to create an accord and also the idea of a bicultural nation.