Mo­tat direc­tor set to take mu­seum in­ter­ac­tive

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

With a new man at the helm the wheels of change are gain­ing trac­tion at Mo­tat.

As its 50th an­niver­sary ap­proaches next year the mu­seum is con­sid­er­ing a num­ber of ma­jor plans to drive its fu­ture.

The first is a 20 to 30-year Mas­ter Plan for its phys­i­cal lay­out.

‘‘Every sin­gle build­ing here is com­ing to its de­sign life end,’’ direc­tor Michael Fraw­ley says.

‘‘It’s about look­ing at all of our build­ings with the re­al­i­sa­tion that we need more space and we need bet­ter dis­play space.

‘‘When you look at the mu­seum it is a hig­gledy pig­gledy mix of build­ings.

‘‘It lit­er­ally devel­oped with no me­thod­i­cal plan of where to put build­ings, and no plan of what to do to re­place them.

‘‘We’ve gone back to square one. There was an at­tempt to do this back in 2003. It was very am­bi­tious in the sense of the size of build­ings, but it was never im­ple­mented.

There is no in­di­ca­tion yet as to what the still-to-be­designed Mas­ter Plan would cost to carry out, but the pre­vi­ous one car­ried a price tag of $43 mil­lion.

‘‘We can’t af­ford that. The only way we are go­ing to be able to af­ford this is to put in some of our own money, bor­row some, and also look for spon­sor­ship like nam­ing rights on build­ings,’’ Mr Fraw­ley says.

Af­ter 21 years in Lon­don the for­mer lawyer moved back to New Zealand in 2009.

His rea­son for head­ing home was his 9 and 5-yearold daugh­ters.

‘‘I wanted to bring them up in New Zealand. We moved to an his­toric homestead in the hills over­look­ing Geral­dine. I went from Lon­don where I would see thou­sands of peo­ple every day to out in the mid­dle of nowhere where I would see five peo­ple a day if I was lucky,’’ he says.

His first call of busi­ness at Mo­tat when he took over in Jan­uary was to sur­vey staff and vol­un­teers to see what the state of the mu­seum re­ally was.

‘‘The ini­tial feed­back

is that it needs to be more in­ter­ac­tive. We need to have the ob­jects we’ve got work­ing and mov­ing and there needs to be more of an in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence with the peo­ple who work here,’’ he says.

‘‘Out of it there was this gen­eral con­sen­sus that we could fine tune where the mu­seum has been go­ing over the last 49 years, or we could be re­ally brave and go back and say ‘what should the Mo­tat of the fu­ture look like’?, and com­pletely change tack. That’s where the unan­i­mous vote was, let’s change di­rec­tion.’’

The sur­vey will help shape a strate­gic plan that will de­cide what vis­i­tors see at the mu­seum.

Staff and vol­un­teers will be asked to vote on the strat­egy in July.

Mr Fraw­ley’s pre­de­ces­sor Jeremy Hub­bard stepped down when his con­tract ex­pired in Au­gust.

His de­par­ture was sur­rounded by hints of fric­tion be­tween man­age­ment and vol­un­teers.

‘‘The mu­seum has a bad his­tory of things ex­plod­ing out into the pub­lic arena and we’d like to draw a line un­der that and re­fo­cus where the mu­seum is go­ing,’’ Mr Fraw­ley says.

He says com­mu­ni­ca­tion is one of the key things man­age­ment is work­ing to im­prove.

‘‘There is a lot hap­pen­ing – watch this space,’’ he says.

Lots hap­pen­ing: Mo­tat direc­tor Michael Fraw­ley is look­ing to the fu­ture ahead of the mu­seum’s 50th an­niver­sary.

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