Museum given name Tūhura, just ‘perfect’

Otago Museum. Photo: ODT files
Otago Museum, soon to be Tūhura. Photo: ODT files
Otago Museum, which has been a place indulging a curious thirst for knowledge for generations, is getting a new name to reflect that.

The museum today announced it had been gifted a new name by local runanga, and would now be known as Tūhura Otago Museum.

There should be a macron over the first "u" in Tūhura, but the Otago Daily Times is unable to print macrons at present.

Tūhura, which means to discover, investigate and explore, had been in use since 2017 as the name of the popular interactive science centre in the museum.

It would now be used for the entire museum, and was a replacement for the museum’s previous te reo name, Otago Museum: Te Whare Taoka o Otago.

Tūhura Otago Museum director Dr Ian Griffin said he was honoured and delighted at the gift of the name which "reflects the wairua (spirit) of the institution".

"Our vision is to inspire curiosity, wonder and understanding in our world, so this fits the museum in a way that the previous te reo name just didn’t."

The name change was the culmination of discussions with the museum’s Maori Advisory Committee that had taken place over several years about the most appropriate name for the museum.

It was appropriate that the new name was gifted by local Runanga, all of whom were represented on the committee.

Particular thanks went to the late Ngai Tahu leader Tahu Potiki, who collaborated closely on the creation of the science centre, and Te Runanga o Otakou chairwoman Rachel Wesley who originally suggested the name, Dr Griffin said.

Ms Wesley said the new name would help reinforce the museum’s programme and how it would work for the region into the future.

"Drawing on the work that went into the science centre, the history of the museum, and the advice of our leading te reo Maori experts among mana whenua here in Otago, its fantastic to see the name Tūhura now extended to encompass the whole museum."

Otago Museum Trust Board chairman Prof David Hutchison said Tūhura inspired curiosity and was perfect.

"Since childhood, this has been what museums have been about for me. Tūhura will lead new children on to exploration for generations to come."

The new name would form the basis of new branding.



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