The end of era for mu­seum cu­ra­tor


It’s 40 years since Pam Garbes stepped into a vol­un­teer role with the Kaiko¯ura His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

Dur­ing this time she re­searched and col­lated much of the lo­cal his­tory and has been a strong ad­vo­cate for the new Kaiko¯ura Mu­seum.

Ear­lier this month Garbes re­tired from her po­si­tion as mu­seum cu­ra­tor, but will con­tinue to work as a vol­un­teer and keep con­tribut­ing to the com­mu­nity.

Kaiko¯ura Mu­seum staff are hold­ing a get-to­gether on Fri­day af­ter­noon to cel­e­brate her many achieve­ments.

Man­ager Stephanie Lange said Pam’s con­tri­bu­tions to the mu­seum and Kaiko¯ura com­mu­nity over her 40 years of ser­vice have been out­stand­ing and in­spir­ing.

Garbes was a key per­son in bring­ing the new mu­seum to life and has left an amaz­ing legacy for and whal­ing in the area.

She started col­lat­ing the his­tory of early set­tlers and fam­i­lies on in­dex cards in 1983.

Garbes also looked af­ter the archives so there was a place for peo­ple to re­search their fam­ily his­tory.

‘‘She had a pas­sion for his­toric ma­te­rial and fam­ily his­tory was im­por­tant to her, as well as peo­ple hav­ing ac­cess to the ma­te­rial,’’ Lange said.

‘‘She’d say there is no point hav­ing this stuff un­less peo­ple can come and look at it, and en­joy it.’’

The pos­si­bil­ity of a new mu­seum was first talked about when a 1.5m flood went through the for­mer build­ing on Christ­mas Eve in 1993.

It was 14 years of plan­ning and fundrais­ing be­fore they were able to move from two smaller Lud­stone Rd build­ings into a space dou­ble in size on the ground floor of the Kaiko¯ura Dis­trict Coun­cil build­ing in Novem­ber last year.

Lange said Garbes and Glenys Cald­well were two of the driv­ing forces be­hind get­ting a new mu­seum es­tab­lished.

‘‘They had a vi­sion that the mu­seum could be so much more than it was.

‘‘They were de­ter­mined Kaiko¯ura’s col­lec­tion was spe­cial and should be shown to a much larger au­di­ence.

‘‘That sort of pas­sion and vi­sion was achieved on the smell of an oily rag, and is typ­i­cal of what can hap­pen in a small town.

‘‘It was an amaz­ing achieve­ment, but the real legacy was that some­one could ac­tu­ally go out and achieve it,’’ Lange said.

The Kaiko¯ura Mu­seum are hold­ing an in­for­mal farewell with light re­fresh­ments and shared mem­o­ries be­tween 4.30pm and 6.30pm on Fri­day Sep­tem­ber 22 at the Sup­per Room, Memo­rial Hall. Every­one is wel­come.

An ad­vo­cate for the new mu­seum, Pam Garbes has re­tired af­ter 40 years as a mem­ber of the Kaiko¯ura His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and mu­seum cu­ra­tor.

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