Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 53, September 2009

(Ollie Richardson, President of the Waihi Arts Centre and Museum Association)

When reviewing the past year for Waihi Arts Centre and Museum Association, president Ollie Richardson, stated it had a successful 12 months with many projects underway.

The Hauraki District Council, which owns the Museum building, installed two heat pumps, one in the Gallery and the other in the Morgan Room of the museum. The archives department has three new computers for use in indexing the family history project and this large task is underway.

The council has approved in principle the building of a new toilet block which will be friendly for disabled persons. Once the old toilets are removed we will have more display space in the Jefferson Room. Funding for this new project has been applied for and we will know late this year if we have been successful.

Restoration of some of our paintings has been completed, thanks to a grant from the JS Say Foundation and the results are amazing. Funding has been obtained for equipment to monitor temperature and humidity in our main building and we have been given temporary storage facilities by both Newmont Waihi Gold Company and Sel Baker.

The report on the conservation of the portable extensible classroom (usually called the playcentre) has been received. We are in the process of emptying one of the rooms and placing the artifacts in our alternative temporary storage facilities.

There is a meeting planned with the Museum Consultant to draw up a plan on how to bring our displays into the 21st century. We have the funding to get this started and once we have a plan of attack, funding will be sought to bring this plan into reality.

The Horahora tower project is coming along nicely and Colin Dray, who is in charge of this project, expects to have the tower back in place before the summer. Funding for this has come from Mighty River Power and in particular, Transpower.

The Association has for some years received a steady income from hosting school groups and telling them of the story gold discovery in the area. We now have some regular volunteer presenters for this and their donation of time is greatly appreciated. The service we can offer is now being publicised by inclusion of our brochure with information sent to schools by Newmont Waihi Gold and the committee is also liaising with Vision Waihi Trust in an effort to explore ways that the whole town can be seen as an education destination for school groups.

There have been good sales of the Waihi Gold story DVD and the Pukewa book, including same sale on Trade Me. Sales of the back issues of the Ohinemuri Journal have also been steady.

We are also enjoying unprecedented co-operation with many like-minded groups and this includes the Paeroa and District Museum, Victoria Battery Society, Goldfields Railways and others. Our premises are used for meetings by the Waihi Camera Club, Waihi Writers Group, Historic Places Trust, Victoria Battery Society, and Goldfields Railway Society.

The Spinners and Wearers Group are firmly ensconced in the prefab building but unfortunately the Waihi Historical Society has gone into recess and the Embroiderers Group has moved to meeting elsewhere.

We have been privileged to receive several important gifts this year including a very important collection of documents relating to the 1912 miners' strike and labour movement donated by George Capper and John Andrews. George spotted these documents coming up for auction in Auckland, bided successfully on them and the two men were then kind enough to donate them to the Museum.

Our Patron Rosemary Morgan has also donated a collection of information about the Morgan family history including a very large illuminated address presented to her late husband's father. The original frame of this illumination needs some remedial work and it is fortunate we have a Katikati artisan with international experience who can restore the ornate gilt frame for us and we plan to have this restoration done in the near future.

Finally a huge thanks to our hardworking committee, our district council representative Sel Baker and the many volunteers who not only keep the museum and gallery functioning but are doing great work in digitally recording the many old photographs we have in our archives.

We are also indebted to the funders who have taken us on board and believe that we can achieve what we set out to do—without them very little of what we have achieved would have been possible.