Review on museum lack of storage to disclose all

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 08:51 05/02/2014
Napier Museum
JOHN COWPLAND/Alphapix

REDUCED DISPLAY: Napier's new $18m museum can only display about 40 per cent of its collection.

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Napier museum director Douglas Lloyd Jenkins says the city council was "fully informed" that the museum was not big enough to store its entire collection and he looks forward to a review taking place.

The council is not saying who is to blame for the $18 million building being incapable of storing the entire collection as planned, but said a review would disclose everything.

The Dominion Post revealed yesterday that the new building, which opened in September, looked likely to hold only 40 per cent of the $44m collection of about 100,000 objects owned by the Hawke's Bay Museums Trust.

Council chief executive Wayne Jack said he did not know how this happened because it occurred before he started in his role and he would not comment further until a review was completed.

Mr Lloyd Jenkins said staff had "done our best to keep the council informed" and "we're all very keen to see the results of the review being undertaken".

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said yesterday that things would have been handled differently if he had been mayor during the museum's development. He replaced Barbara Arnott in October.

"Clearly this hasn't worked out as well as we'd hoped and people are responsible for that. But it's far too early to start pointing the finger.

"Ideally we would have known this beforehand. There's no question about that. It should have been thought of earlier. It hasn't been.

"People are making out the bloody place has fallen down or something, or that this is an enormous disaster," Mr Dalton said.

"There's a lot of reasons it could be, and I'm not going to speculate on that because I don't know the answer . . . It may be that when we do this investigation we find there are other ways for storing the collection that actually makes a hell of a lot more room."

The extra cost of storing the collection would be borne by Napier and Hastings councils and the financial impact would be determined as part of the review. Asked when it would happen Mr Dalton said "it will be very much sooner rather than later".

The review would also look at how predicted annual visitor numbers of 690,000 appeared to include toilet visits, and whether the $15 adult entry fee was too high.

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