Cen­tre more than ‘flash new mu­seum’

Cambridge Edition - - WHAT’S ON - MIKE BAIN

A ‘‘dis­cov­ery cen­tre’’ could bring to­gether Te Awa­mutu’s mu­seum and i-Site ser­vices un­der one roof.

Waipa Dis­trict Coun­cil has floated the con­cept to the community and is ask­ing for feed­back on the idea.

There were no de­tails on how much it would cost or whether all ratepay­ers, in­clud­ing those in Cam­bridge, would have to con­trib­ute to the pro­ject, which would be built in Te Awa­mutu.

No av­enues of fund­ing had been iden­ti­fied yet. Any for­mal pro­posal, in­clud­ing costs, would have to be in­cluded in the coun­cil’s 10 year plan, which would go out for for­mal pub­lic com­ment in March next year.

It would in­clude how costs might be split be­tween the dis­trict’s com­mu­ni­ties.

In­de­pen­dent re­search iden­ti­fied a ‘‘clear mar­ket’’ for a dis­cov­ery cen­tre pro­mot­ing the dis­trict’s unique char­ac­ter and iden­tity.

But Waipa Mayor Jim Mylchreest said it must ‘‘stack up’’ against other projects.

It would have to be more than just a ‘‘flash new mu­seum’’.

‘‘Three years ago when we floated the idea of a Te Awa­mutu mu­seum, we talked about a cost of $6 mil­lion and noted around $4m to $5m of that would need to be raised ex­ter­nally,’’ he said.

‘‘Since then, and fol­low­ing ad­vice, the con­cept has moved to­wards a broader dis­cov­ery cen­tre.’’

Waipa Dis­trict Coun­cil set aside $1.5m to kick-start the pro­ject, not­ing external fundrais­ing would be needed.

‘‘This is some­thing we want the community to start think­ing about be­fore key de­ci­sions are made.

‘‘There’s a lot of dis­cus­sion to be had yet, in­clud­ing with iwi. But if we want to do this – and that’s yet to be de­cided - we must do it right.

‘‘All the re­search in­di­cates that sim­ply build­ing a big­ger, bet­ter mu­seum is not the way to go.

‘‘We need to think much more cre­atively and en­sure that what­ever we de­velop is sup­ported by key part­ners as well as external fun­ders.’’

An in­de­pen­dent re­port sug­gested any dis­cov­ery cen­tre must ‘‘main­tain a suit­able bal­ance be­tween ed­u­ca­tion and en­ter­tain­ment’’.

It would need to be a modern, high qual­ity and in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence ap­peal­ing to fam­ily groups and in­ter­est­ing if its to suc­cess­fully en­gage vis­i­tors.

Mylchreest said whether or not a dis­cov­ery cen­tre was sup­ported by coun­cil and the community came down to vi­sion, tim­ing and fund­ing.

The fo­cus will be sto­ries of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance, in­clud­ing the Waikato land wars.

Con­sid­er­a­tion is be­ing given to ad­di­tional ser­vices with pos­si­bil­ity of the i-Site be­ing in­cor­po­rated into the com­plex.

WAIPA DIS­TRICT COUN­CIL

Con­cept draw­ings for the pro­posed Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre in Te Awa­mutu.

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