Tenth birthday celebrated
Ten years ago, the new Owaka Museum was opened to much fanfare, and the expectations for it have been more than realised.
It is run by paid staff during the week, but weekend volunteers have faithfully been on hand to open it for tourists and locals. These 16 willing workers were honoured recently, at the annual dinner for The Catlins Historical Society, with badges for ten years’ service.
Many of us had earlier in the day been at the funeral for George Berney, who had been in the society for at least 40 years and his contributions were acknowledged.
President Mike McPhee said in the past 10 years the museum had gone from strength to strength. He enumerated many of its achievements, including perhaps the most important one of digitising photos and cataloguing the whole collection so that anyone in the world can access it.
We have also conducted oral history interviews and hosted various exhibitions, notably Catlins Folks by The Catlins Area School pupils.
Some special events include musicians, movies and book launches, as well as 50 exhibitions in the community gallery.
Annual events include the heritage bus tour, the Those Were the Days booklet featuring the stories of residents both past and present, and the annual market day.
The museum is also the resting place for the steel waka, a striking feature of the town, which honours the name and shipping
At the dinner, members were shown a short DVD of the opening of the museum in 2007, which was appreciated by all there, while producing some sorrow for those now gone, including the former president of the society, Anne Brown, who guided the project so ably.
As the members went up to receive their badges, they mentioned some funny stories they had during their tenure, including the time when volunteers had inadvertently left the front door open. Two Japanese tourists arriving the next day got a big shock when a piercing alarm went off.
Other tales revolved round the interesting things people had asked: ’’Where will we find the city of Owaka?’’ was one.
See photos opposite page... history, both Maori and
The highly successful Owaka Museum recently turned 10.