Recently I visited  Moya Sherrif, the Museum Intern who is sponsored by the Friends of Te Papa, OMV and Te Papa’s National Services Te Paerangi.  The aim of the sponsorship was to employ an intern for a year as opposed to the usual 3 -4 months. You will remember the need for this special arrangement was to offer support to other museums and cultural organisations in the Canterbury Region whose buildings were destroyed by the earthquake.

My visit was to get an update on the Friends previous visit in April 2013, prior to Moya’s appointment. At that time just one collection was housed on the shelves in the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre (CCCRC).  I immediately noticed the shelves were housing many more collection items and boxes and there was a real air of purpose as the teams of volunteers from the various organisations worked on their material in safety and with expert knowledge close at hand.

In talking to the volunteers working that Saturday I was struck by how important the CCCRC was for them.  It was much more than just a safe place for collection items. It was all about the ongoing existence of various communities and enabling them to keep their identity, remain viable and continue their business/mandate.

The importance of access to records and archives struck home when speaking to Jane Teal, Archivist of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch who was researching the records to support submissions for a current parish review.  In Month 6 of Moya’s blog, Jane tells the story of the recent rescue of the archives.

Helen Greenfield, a volunteer from the Lyttleton Museum, was researching its collection to develop an innovative and collative project where images will be projected onto the walls of the Lyttleton Road Tunnel. This will ensure the Lyttleton Museum is able to play a key part in the 50th anniversary celebrations commemorating the opening of the Christchurch-Lyttleton Road Tunnel.

It was gratifying to realise that the CCCRC was really working.  It is not static.  As you will read in Moya’s interesting blog, new participants are moving in all the time and some have managed to re-establish themselves and move on to new quarters.

It was also a great pleasure to catch-up with Thérèse Angelo, Director of the Air Force Museum, who after the earthquake had the vision and foresight to see what was required and how her museum could help.

Newsflash: In recognition of the importance of this worthwhile project, the Friends agreed at their April Committee meeting to match funding from OMV New Zealand and support the internship role for a further 12 months.

Elizabeth Ridder  Manager, Friends of Te Papa


Feature image: Moya Sherrif, Museum Intern and Helen Greenfield, volunteer Lyttleton Museum