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