Museum team ‘thrilled’ to open doors

Southland Museum & Art Gallery curator David Dudfield and Invercargill Public Art Gallery curator Sarah Brown at the combined transitional museum and gallery space earlier this year. Photo: Abbey Palmer

AFTER a long-anticipated wait, the He Waka Tuia Art + Museum will open to the public on Saturday, September 12.

Co-managers David Dudfield and Gemma Baldock said the opening was the culmination of months of hard work and planning.

“The team is thrilled to set an opening date and we are all working very hard behind the scenes to install the first exhibition ready for our community to access and experience,” Ms Baldock said.

The public opening would follow a special dawn ceremony on Thursday, September 10, with iwi, who have been instrumental in shaping and supporting the Art + Museum.

“We are excited about iwi telling iwi stories in this collaborative community space,” Mr Dudfield said.

The team was excited to share He Waka Tuia with the community.

“It will be lovely to finally share this space with everybody. We know how important it is for people to have spaces they can call their own, and we sincerely hope people love it as much as we do,” Ms Baldock said.

The opening of the museum would mark more than two years since the Southland Museum & Art Gallery was closed due to concerns about the condition and safety of the buildings in an earthquake.

Since then, reports had been completed but still no decision had been made about the building’s future.

In July, council voted at an infrastructural services committee meeting, council staff should provide a report on all options for redevelopment of the museum within five months.

Four weeks ago, a public meeting was held by Friends of the Southland Museum & Art Gallery to discuss the future of the museum.

He Waka Tuia Art + Museum will open to the public at 10am. Visitors are reminded that, regardless of the Covid-19 Alert Level, numbers were limited.

The grand opening would also be preceded by an official event on the Thursday night.

“It’s nice to thank everyone that has helped us get to where we are, but the real opening, for us, is when we’ll see He Waka Tuia reflected in the eyes of our community,” Mr Dudfield said.MysneakersMen’s shoes