Like many small museums in Aotearoa, and especially in rural Northland, the Hokianga Museum and Archive Centre at Omapere is modest in appearance, local in focus and content, and very reliant on volunteers. Volunteers are the museum’s bedrock: without them the museum could not function.
This year the Trust Power and Far North District Council Awards were held in Opononi. The Hokianga Historical Society Inc. was nominated for an Award, and received a Certificate of Commendation and a $100 Trust Power cheque for the Cultural and Heritage Section. The Awards were spread across areas from Kawakawa to Kaitaia. There were different categories and about 120 nominations. It is pleasing to learn that our team of volunteers and Society has been recognised in achieving Trust Power’s 2015 Volunteers Award which was for the investigations for the World War I display.
Museum staff at the awards ceremony
The Museum has beautifully illustrated copies of the book Hokianga Remembers on sale. This has been one of the hard work of a member, Dr. Ken Baker, who lives in Belgium.
The Museum and Archive Centre opened in late November 2011. Following the closure of its former harbour-side building in the face of an ever-encroaching sea, the Hokianga Historical Society spent several years negotiating the lease of the new site and planning the purpose-built museum and archive. Now well established, it is open to the public for four hours a day, six days a week.
The volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, bringing with them an equally varied set of interests, experiences, abilities and specialist knowledge. And like volunteers everywhere, they are mostly retired. Under the guidance of the archivist and curator, they learn to navigate their way around museum collections, which reflect the long history of the area. Work is always ongoing to ensure the safety of these documents and photographic archives. Because it is becoming known that we are also a museum, people are donating family pieces.
Working together with the museum management committee, volunteers plan and mount displays that change every few months.
It was not only for the World War I work, but for the volunteers that the Curator and the Volunteer Co-Ordinator were proud to accept the Award for all their valuable time and enthusiasm that has enabled the museum and archive to be available to the public.