Bones form pilot project for museum
A pilot whale skeleton, destined for a purpose-built space at the front of Golden Bay Museum, is expected to be installed at the beginning of December, says museum society board chairman Geoff Rennison.
In a report for the Tasman District Council community development committee, Rennison says Alan McLean, who is preparing the bones for display, told the board’s annual general meeting in June that the skeleton would be ready for installation by the 2017-18 visitor season.
‘‘It will be a relief to have this complex project completed and displays installed.’’
Rennison told councillors the purpose-built ‘‘whalery’’ at the front of the museum at Takaka was ‘‘our shop window on the main street’’.
‘‘We’re looking forward to seeing this whale in the prime position in the whalery, grinning at the customers on the street, saying: ‘Come in, have a look at more’,’’ he said.
Last September, former museum society board chairwoman Penny Griffith, who retired at the AGM, said the whalery was unique.
‘‘Only a handful of museums have complete whale skeletons,’’ Griffith said.
‘‘Ours will be the only museum in New Zealand to have a skeleton on display close to the country’s major stranding site, Farewell Spit.’’
Hundreds of pilot whales stranded in February this year, the latest in a long line of similar events at the spit.
Rennison also told councillors that door donations of $2629 for the 2016-17 financial year were a third lower than the previous year, ‘‘probably reflecting the whalery construction’’.
In his report, he adds: ‘‘... but there has been a general downwards trend over several years as the centre of retail activity in Takaka has shifted south’’.
Rennison thanked the council for additional grants of $15,000 in both 2016-17 and 2017-18, which would make a ‘‘huge difference’’.
Motueka District Museum curator Jen Calder also expressed her appreciation for matching additional funding for Motueka.
She said the Motueka museum board was interested in finding ways of funding an education officer.
Motueka District Museum is closed until December while the building undergoes seismic strengthening work.
Curator Jen Calder preparing Motueka District Museum for earthquake strengthening work, which is now under way.