RSA members vote to gift memorabilia

Nelson RSA members have voted to hand over historic memorabilia to the provincial museum, against their president's wishes.

At the association's annual meeting, 90 per cent of the 65 members present voted to gift archives to the Tasman Bay Heritage Trust.

The RSA has historic photos, books and other war memorabilia stored in a shipping container in Nelson.

President Barry Pont said members who voted to gift the items were concerned that they would deteriorate.

With their approval, the RSA's executive committee will go ahead and negotiate the conditions for handing over items to the trust.

Pont said he was against the move.

"Personally I am of the opinion we should retain ownership and just loan them to the museum when needed. I was over-ruled, it's a democratic decision."

Not all items would be gifted, including medals which are kept in a safe, and a machinegun which a member with a class C firearms licence looks after.

Pont said there were good speakers for and against the decision.

"I think we rattled the cage, which is what we wanted, to know members' views."

Items that are handed over will become the property of the trust. Conditions that would be negotiated included access to the items if the RSA needed to display them, he said.

It was hoped to be completed by the end of the year.

Museum chief executive Peter Millward has said the trust wanted to work with the RSA. If the ownership was transferred, the items would become the property of the trust which would then take care of them, including the interpretation, storage and digitisation of material.

The association's meeting also included discussions on Anzac Day.

Pont said he expects this year's service at Nelson's Anzac Park would be larger. Next year it would try to hold it at a bigger venue and would discuss options with the city council.

Nelson RSA needs volunteers to help on Poppy Day, Thursday, April 17, contact Barry Pont 548 6815 mornings.