Museum target $520,000 away

Linda Wigley
Linda Wigley
Only another $520,000 has to be raised towards a $12.05 million community funding target for the Toitu Otago Settlers Museum redevelopment, thanks mainly to successful fundraising.

The $37.5 million redevelopment of the Dunedin City Council-owned museum was completed late last year.

The council is footing most of the bill, but part of it is being met through fundraising from ''external'' and community sources.

In May last year, $10.2 million had been raised towards an initial ''external'' fundraising target of $10.8 million, a report tabled at a recent meeting of the museum board noted.

The city council then agreed to spend $1.25 million extra for further furniture, fittings and equipment-related costs, linked to museum exhibitions, increasing the fundraising total to $12.05 million.

Since then a ''huge effort'' had ensured the extra spending was minimised, museum director Linda Wigley said.

The budgets for the extra costs and redevelopment construction had been underspent by at least $570,000 and $230,000 respectively, and the combined $800,000 savings had been removed from the community fundraising target, leaving $520,000 to be raised.

A fundraising plan, including ''corporate sponsorship packages'' and gallery naming rights, was under way to raise the remaining funds by June 30, 2015.

Fundraising was ahead of projections thanks to the ''tireless efforts'' by the fundraising committee.

''Careful work'' by museum management and the project control group was keeping spending tight, she said.

A financial summary tabled noted that the council had taken out five loans, totalling $15,123,000, towards its share of redevelopment costs.

A total of $957,000 in interest had been paid for museum-related loans during the financial year to April 30, at an average annual interest rate of 7.59%.

Museum board member Lee Vandervis, who requested the loan report, praised the fundraising committee's performance but he was concerned that significant debt was linked to the project and a relatively high interest rate was being paid, he said in an interview.


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