‘Tire­less work’ hon­oured at Owaka


A will­ing­ness to share ideas and chal­lenges summed up the three­year ten­ure of re­tir­ing Owaka Mu­seum di­rec­tor Gael Ram­say.

She was hon­oured for her work at a re­cent farewell func­tion at Owaka in the Catlins, and thanked for her tire­less work by the Catlins His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

Ram­say is re­tir­ing to Kerik­eri with her hus­band Ross, and is look­ing for­ward to pur­su­ing some of their joint in­ter­ests, es­pe­cially re­search into early English porce­lain and ar­chae­ol­ogy, and be­ing closer to fam­ily.

She had en­joyed com­ing to a small com­mu­nity with a can-do at­ti­tude, and her time had gone very quickly, she said.

Her favourite part of the Catlins was Lake Wilkie.

‘‘It is one of the lesser-known at­trac­tions, and a bit dif­fer­ent.’’

She also en­joyed walks to Nugget Point. A Jo May silk paint­ing of a lake with a kea was pre­sented to her as a part­ing gift.

Along with cat­a­logu­ing the col­lec­tion and run­ning the mu­seum, she had been work­ing to­wards plan­ning more stor­age for the mu­seum’s fu­ture de­vel­op­ment and had been putting in place plans for in­creased ex­hi­bi­tion and class­room space.

‘‘At the mo­ment it is hard to see the qual­ity of what is al­ready in stor­age or avail­able for ex­hi­bi­tions.’’

Clutha district li­brar­ian Vicki Dar­ling said it had been a true plea­sure to work with Ram­say dur­ing the last three years.

‘‘Coun­cil staff have en­joyed her pro­fes­sion­al­ism, her sense of hu­mour, her prag­matic ap­proach to ser­vices and her will­ing­ness to share ideas and chal­lenges.

‘‘The coun­cil and mu­seum ser­vices, which op­er­ate out of the same build­ing, have been ac­tive for more than 10 years.

‘‘Gael’s ten­ure as mu­seum di­rec­tor has al­lowed that re­la­tion­ship to deepen and be­come truly col­lab­o­ra­tive.’’

A new di­rec­tor, Mas­si­m­il­iana Ur­bano (Massi), will start at the mu­seum on Fe­bru­ary 26.

Orig­i­nally from Italy, she has spent the last three years in Dunedin tu­tor­ing and study­ing.

She worked at the Un­vier­sity of Otago Depart­ment of Me­dia, Film and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and un­der­took re­search in so­cial and po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy, phi­los­o­phy of sci­ence and his­tory of sci­ence for nine years.

Ur­bano also has ex­pe­ri­ence in cre­ative project man­age­ment.

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