Display refresher for Puke Ariki

For the first time in its 11-year life, Puke Ariki is refreshing its long-term exhibitions.

Feedback from locals, who make up 70 per cent of the visitor numbers, had indicated people were keen to see new stories and objects displayed at the museum.

Puke Ariki director Kelvin Day said some minor changes had been made in 2005, but essentially the exhibitions remained as they were when the museum opened in 2003.

This year's refresher will cost $500,000, according to the New Plymouth District Council's long-term plan.

Day said it was good museum practice to rest collection items from time to time to ensure their longevity, and the museum had a rich collection that should be on display for people to see.

"We've got a lot of great stories in Taranaki and I want to make sure they get told."

The new exhibits will include a display centred on Taranaki's last kokako Tamanui, the oil and gas story in the region, and interactive photos comparing modern-day and historical New Plymouth scenes.

The oil and gas exhibition would explore the issues surrounding the industry today, including fracking, landfarming and drilling under the mountain, he said.

"We're not going to say one thing's right over the other," Day said.

"Our role is to present robust viewpoints then people can be better informed and make their own mind up."

Day said Puke Ariki had always been a gateway to the region for visitors.

The official launch of the new exhibits will be on August 21.

Taranaki Daily News