What you don’t see at our museum
You would not believe what Pataka Museum has stored away.
The museum, which was opened in its current form in 1998, is home to more than 25,000 items showing Porirua’s rich cultural and domestic history.
Nearly all are in three large storage areas and will not see the light of day, unless you get a tour.
Some bigger items, including agricultural equipment and a bath from Gear Homestead, are in a storage facility off-site.
There has been talk recently of Pataka using some space to host a permanent historical exhibition.
Porirua City Council education officer Linda Fordyce said that would have to be discussed at manager level, but she is predisposed, as a historian, to always push for more history on show at Pataka.
A museum in what is now the medical centre in Takapuwahia used to have a more historical bent to it, she said.
‘‘I can remember being under the wing of Luti Solomon over there. He was a great mentor to me. Bob Maysmor was a great boss, too. It was a purpose-built museum for history and it was great in its day.
‘‘What we have here at Pataka is great, too, and the historical displays are punchier and likely to be seen by so many more people.’’
The items in Pataka’s storage can be viewed by appointment.
Fordyce and museum collections manager Laureen Sadlier admits it is a treasure trove of Porirua’s history, hanging on walls and in display cases.
Items range from a valuable watch owned by an 1830s whaler – Porirua once had five whaling stations – to moa bones and pieces from the original doorway at Takapuwahia Marae.
With agreement from Ngati Toa, Pataka has many items of significance to the tribe safely stored.
‘‘Every piece has a story. That’s what I love most about our collection,’’ Sadlier said. ‘‘There’s often so much personality involved and you can see the connections between objects and the social fabric of the community.’’
Sadlier’s favourite pieces are table tennis bats nearly 100 years old and Fordyce loves old glass negatives that were found in a Titahi Bay basement.
They turned out to be photographs of family life – whereabouts unknown – taken in preWorld War I New Zealand.
Sadlier said 25,000 pieces was not many because it was a relatively young museum.
Many items have been sourced over the past 30 years from second-hand shops, auctions and what remained from the old Takapuwahia museum.
People bequeath items to Pataka or relatives will contact the museum, asking if things they have are of interest.
‘‘They may not have high value, but they’re important for Porirua and in 30 or 100 years’ time, they will be important to help us understand the past.’’
Pataka is believed to have gained the largest lead toy collection in New Zealand, comprising about 6000 pieces – including soldiers, Porirua City Council ratepayers are reminded that the rating year closes on 30 June 2014 and that an additional penalty of 10% will be added to rates that remain unpaid from previous years. In order to avoid incurring penalties you should clear rates owing as at 30 June 2014. Automatic payments will also need to be adjusted to clear rates owing as at 30 June 2014. If you think that you are going to have difficulties paying any or all of your rates owing, please contact our Credit Controller on 04 237 1530 before 30 June 2014 so that payment options can be considered. To minimise the risk of future penalties, the Council recommends payment of rate instalments by Direct Debit. Direct Debit payments can be arranged on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly or instalment basis. The bank authority forms are available at our Administration Building, Cobham Court, Porirua City and the Councils website www.pcc.govt.nz. You can make payments via the internet, or at our Administration Office situated in Cobham Court, Porirua City, or by posting a cheque to PO Box 50218, Porirua City, 5240 or at any New Zealand PostShop or their agents; simply present your latest bar coded rates invoice to pay by cash, cheque or eftpos. farms and zoos, complete with animals – which was handed over by one man in the 1980s.
The museum also holds 300 pieces of art, some of which are displayed in council buildings.
They range in value from $200 to $9000, Sadlier said.
Any photos of old Porirua are held at Porirua Library.
Next year Pataka will have World War I, Anzac Day and Porirua 50th birthday exhibitions, so history will be well-covered.
‘‘What we have now is a good balance,’’ Fordyce said.
‘‘We should be highlighting local and international art, but it is important to tell stories from Porirua’s past. We have the ability to do that here, with dedicated staff and people in this community that care so much about history.’’
The Ngati Toa exhibition opens at Te Papa this weekend.
Fordyce will host a Porirua history tour on Saturday from 10am till 1pm, $12, meet at Pataka.