More govt funding for museum wanted

 Ian Griffin
Ian Griffin
Otago Museum director Dr Ian Griffin remains keen to attract more government funding for Otago Museum and its 1.8 million artefacts, many of which are of national or international quality.

And part of his case rests on the extensive devastation caused by the recent big earthquakes in Christchurch, which also resulted in the temporary closure of Canterbury Museum.

New Zealand enjoyed a strategic advantage in having many of its national and international treasures held not only by Te Papa in Wellington, but also by three other major regional museums, in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin, he said.

This effectively spread the risk, meaning there was a better chance some other key artefacts would survive an earthquake or another natural disaster, even if one institution was badly hit, he said.

Otago Museum has the smallest regional population base of any major New Zealand regional museum, and yet attracts little government funding to maintain, display or interpret its collection.

Museums planning major redevelopments can apply for some capital funding, but regional museums are not eligible for any operating fund support from the government.

Dr Griffin said it was ''scandalous''

Otago Museum, with such important holdings, attracted little government funding.

''Dunedin's cultural offering is really important,'' he said.

He did not blame the present Government for the situation, but was keen to make the case for more state financial support.

Important regional museums in the United Kingdom received government funding, and the situation should be reconsidered in this country, Dr Griffin said.

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