Visitors to the Museum @ Te Ahu will have seen the largest exhibit, an anchor from the French ship St. Jean Baptiste, commanded by J.F.M. de Surville. The anchor is one of three which were cut adrift from the ship in 1769 when it was caught in a storm off Tokerau in Doubtless Bay.
The anchors, which were discovered in 1974, are almost certainly the oldest authentic European objects found in New Zealand and are implicated in one of the earliest encounters between Maori and Europeans. For many years since it’s discovery, the anchor has been on loan to the Far North Regional Museum (now Museum @ Te Ahu) by the courtesy of its owners, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Ownership of the anchor will now be passed to Museum @ Te Ahu from Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
The Trustees and Staff of Museum @ Te Ahu will be honoured to accept the gift of this important taonga and are especially delighted that it should occur during the museum’s 50th Anniversary year.
The formal ceremonies will be held at Museum @ Te Ahu on Saturday 9th of November in the Atrium of Te Ahu at 10.30am, followed by the handing-over and signing of the Deed of Gift and speeches in the museum in the presence of the anchor.
Members of the public, who would like to be part of this auspicious occasion and learn more about the history of this important artefact, will be most welcome to attend.
Masters of Ceremony, and trust chair, Bronwyn Bauer-Hunt warmly welcomed everyone to the Te Ahu banquet room and kept the day's programme moving. She was followed by Head of History teacher from Kaitaia College, Rev. Michael Withiel, who offered thanks and prayer.
Guest speakers - Toss Kitchen, Malcolm Matthews, Kay Dragicevich and Robin Shepherd - all shared fond memories of the museum and the region spanning across the 50 years it has been opened, which is officially in December. Thanking museum staff and volunteers past and present.
Robin lit the room up with poetry and song. And each table was buzzing with rich stories of the area; it truly was a treat to sit and listen.
Trust member Sarah Wale judged the hats being worn by most with categories and gave out prizes for the oldest hat: outrageous hat (outfit), best homemade and the most beautiful hat. Meanwhile, Russell Shackleton another trust member and museum volunteer nimbly managed the tea and coffee station.
Prior to the museum opening in 1969, local people gave donations for it's operations. There was a strong belief and support from the community for a museum, and many gave items to fill the museum space too. 50 years later we continue to enjoy the legacy and vision they had for us.
Curator, Whinia Te Whau, said she would like to thank the Far North Regional Museum Trust including those not mentioned above - David Senior, Sean Stratton, John Walsh and David Russell - for their leadership and encouragement.
Museum @ Te Ahu has secured lottery funding for an off-site storage facility, thanks to the Museum Curator, Trustees and Council staff.
The Lottery Environment and Heritage Committee has granted the museum trust $130,000 to establish an environment-controlled archive facility at Pioneer House. The newly refurbished environment will ensure the safe keeping and preservation of the archived heritage collections.
Museum Curator, Whina Te Whiu, says applying for the grant was a collaborative effort, giving effect to the partnership agreement between Council and the Museum Trust signed a little over a year ago. She is now finalising the project plan to deliver the new facility with help from Nina Gobie (FNDC), Museum Assistant, Maraea Broderick, and museum trustees.
Since receiving the generous Lottery grant, work on the environment-controlled archive facility at Pioneer House has gone ahead and is now almost complete. The newly refurbished facilities will ensure the safe keeping and optimum conditions for the preservation of the archived heritage collections well into the future.
Museum Curator, Whina Te Whiu, together with specially trained volunteers as well as experts from the wider museum community, including Te Papa, have carried out this painstaking work on time and within the budget. They acknowledge the support of museum staff, Maraea Broderick and Mary Daun, the FNDC and the museum’s Board of Trustees.