Museum CEO shares vision

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 01/02/2013

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Te Manawa's chief executive of six months Andy Lowe has set the organisation on a risk-taking path.

His vision is for a museum without walls, he told a small reception yesterday.

The concept does not detract from last year's completion of a $5.5-million facility upgrade, but aims to break down barriers, bringing more groups of people into Te Manawa who have never been before, and reaching out to others wherever they are in the community.

Mr Lowe said Te Manawa was well-served by staff who knew how to look after the community's taonga.

"We have all that. Now we can take a few risks."

Te Manawa has already forged relationships with several community groups who were not seen as traditional allies, including the Rangiwahia Environmental Arts Centre Trust (React), Creative Journeys, which works with people with learning difficulties and brain injuries, and Passionart, which also encourages people to express themselves through art.

All of the groups have used public spaces at Te Manawa to develop their projects.

React leader Bridgette Murphy said the link was an exciting one.

"People like us - we don't do museums. We do things on the street."

But next month the group's "Big Girls", giant representations of women from a range of cultures, would be taken for an International Women's Day picnic in The Square, then welcomed home to Te Manawa.

Mr Lowe said some of the projects Te Manawa and its new partners were involved in would be challenging for some traditional museum visitors.

"We need to give people a voice and a space.

"And we should not be afraid to have an extreme point of view. There are things that need to be talked about.

"It's about not being afraid, and trying things that potentially challenge some people."

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- Manawatu Standard

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