Akaroa Museum in line for funding cuts

Akaroa Museum. Photo: Supplied
Akaroa Museum. Photo: Supplied
Questions are being asked after Akaroa Museum has been put in line for future funding cuts.

Christchurch City Council’s Long Term Plan dictates a 10 per cent cut in the Akaroa Museum’s operational budget from 2022.

Consequently, the museum will lose $40,000.

In a deputation to the Banks Peninsula Community Board, the Friends of Akaroa Museum told the community board that, although the cut may seem a small amount, it presents a “huge challenge” to the museum.

The museum is open seven days a week and has attracted more than 24,000 domestic visitors in the past year.

As a result of the Long Term Plan, the museum group is asking whether the city council values Akaroa’s history and taonga (treasures).

The group would like to see a reverse in the funding cuts.

It submitted to the draft Long Term Plan, asking whether the size of cuts to Akaroa Museum was the same as those being proposed elsewhere, such as to the Christchurch Art Gallery.

The group also asked whether the museum was considered a lower priority site by the city council.

However, they are yet to receive any response.

In its deputation, the museum group noted other city council-funded cultural and heritage facilities were to receive maintained or greater levels of funding in the Long Term Plan, such as $5.5 million towards the Arts Centre and $11.8 million to the McDougall Art Gallery.

It told the deputation it was “worried about the inequity” being shown towards the museum, which holds significant historical stories.

Tori Peden.
Tori Peden.
Community board chairwoman Tori Peden said it supports the service that the museum provides to the community and is also concerned that less funding will mean a loss of that service.

It has referred the deputation to the city council.

“We need to see what the funding cuts will look like on the ground,” she said.

Akaroa was the site of the first formal European settlement in the South Island.

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed in the Akaroa area by two Māori chiefs, Iwikau and Tikau.

The area was also the site of two attacks by Te Rauparaha on the local tangata whenua at Takapuneke and Onawe.

The deputation was supported by the Comte de Paris Descendants Group, the Libeau Family, and the Akaroa Cemeteries Group, totalling about 460 residents.

Akaroa Museum. Photo: Supplied
Akaroa Museum. Photo: Supplied
Art Gallery director Blair Jackson told Bay Harbour News the city council had chosen to make budgets cuts to the Akaroa Museum as part of the city-wide Long Term Plan process to actively look for ways to reduce spending and ensure rates increases are kept to a minimum.

Said Jackson: "The required savings target for Akaroa Museum are not forecast to begin until fiscal year 2023.

"This extra year is to assist the museum to identify areas where savings can be made.

"There is also the Annual Plan process which will offer the ability to revisit the Museum’s operational funding."

The Friends of the Akaroa Museum did not want to provide further comment at this stage.



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