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Museum exhibits new concept designs


The concept designs for Canterbury Museum’s proposed $195 million redevelopment have been revealed, unveiling plans to celebrate heritage buildings while providing twenty-first century visitor facilities and modern exhibition and storage needs.

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East facade viewed from Rolleston Ave

 

The concept designs by Athfield Architects have captured public feedback and include the addition of a new entrance and café, a new three-storeyed building, and strengthening to bring the site to 100 percent of building code.

The concept designs propose the walls on the northern sides of the original Benjamin Mountfort-designed buildings will be revealed and original exterior elements, including the flèche (slender roof-top spire) on the Rolleston Avenue façade, will be reinstated to celebrate its Gothic Revival character.

A new three-storeyed building will wrap around the north side of the heritage buildings, exposing the original walls to public view. The building will include mezzanine floors, multifunctional spaces such as a new lecture theatre and increased space for permanent and temporary exhibitions.

A second Rolleston Avenue entrance is planned to cater for the more than 750,000 visitors a year and will also house a café with sidewalk seating.

Interior Araiteuru space

Floor to ceiling glass will be added to part of two floors of the Roger Duff Wing – offering dramatic views across the Botanic Gardens to the Arts Centre – and which will house a split-level family café alongside Discovery, the Museum’s natural history centre for children.

Canterbury Museum Director Anthony Wright says the museum has listened very carefully to public feedback, and as a result will put the 26.5-metre blue whale skeleton back on display and place a greater emphasis on Māori, Pasifika and multicultural exhibits.

“The design increases the sense of discovery, surprise and the feeling of never being quite sure of what’s around the corner,” he says. “The way people move through the museum will definitely be improved.”

At the heart of the new museum is a new space called Āraiteuru, housed in the central full-height atrium, which will tell the story of mana whenua and tangata whenua and be home to a new contemporary whare – a ceremonial and educational space.

The new Atrium concept featuring the museum’s historic blue whale skeleton

 

Celebrating Couture in Canterbury


Young emerging designer Natasha Senior was 14 when she won the top prize at the 2018 YMCA Walk the Line catwalk, part of New Zealand Fashion Week. Her winning entry of linen top and neoprene trousers is now being showcased alongside garments from established designers, such as Trelise Cooper and Adrienne Whitewood, at Canterbury Museum in its Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now exhibition, which opened Saturday, 22 February and runs to 14 June 2020.

 

Photography: Mara Sommer

 

Moana Currents: Dressing Aotearoa Now was developed by the New Zealand Fashion Museum.

Co-curated by Doris de Pont, New Zealand Fashion Museum Director and Fashion Journalist Dan Ahwa, the exhibition looks at how Aotearoa New Zealand’s identity is shaped by our place in the Pacific Ocean (Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa), and celebrates contemporary expression in jewellery, clothing, textile, and body adornment in New Zealand.

Both emerging and established designers are included in the exhibition to explore a range of connecting themes, such as; the adaptation and application of technology, mastery and invention in the use of heritage craft techniques, including stitching and weaving; the applications and evolution of cultural motifs, and the ongoing dialogue between wrapping and structured dressing.

Some of the garments and adornments showcased in the exhibition are streetwear from Bill Urale’s (aka King Kapisi) Overstayer label, a missionary-style dress by Trelise Cooper, a Neil Adcock hei tiki that can dance, Steve Hall’s androgynous dress, and a merino wool wrap that’s reminiscent of a muka kaitaka (flax fibre cloak), created by London-based New Zealand designer Emilia Wickstead, in collaboration with Woolmark in 2019.

Canterbury Museum is the first South Island venue to exhibit Moana Currents. Canterbury Museum Director Anthony Wright says the exhibition is a terrific showcase for the extraordinary work of Aotearoa New Zealand’s fashion designers and the pride we have in the way Pacific cultures have influenced our Kiwi sense of style.

“What we wear really does reflect who we are as individuals and as a nation. We think this exhibition will be very popular with both our local and international visitors.”

Doris de Pont says she’s thrilled to be bringing the exhibition to Canterbury.

“Moana Currents shows how our history of migration and cultural exchange is visible in what we wear and how we adorn ourselves. Aotearoa New Zealand’s identity has evolved over time as generations of people migrated here. Who we are and how we dress is a reflection of those journeys, both past and present, and an expression of our aspirations and how we want to be seen.”

This three-part project includes the exhibition at Canterbury Museum, as well as an accompanying book and online exhibition found online.


 

Must-see exhibition


Giant birds and ancient crocodiles are taking over Canterbury Museum these holidays in an exhibition that has to be seen to be believed.

 

Canterbury Museum curators Dr Paul Scofield and Dr Vanesa De Pietri with a life-size model of Mannering’s Penguin, a 1.2 metre penguin that lived around 62 million years ago.

 

Ancient New Zealand: Squawkzilla and the Giants is the result of more than 20 years of collaborative research by scientists working in Central Otago and North Canterbury, to uncover the animals that once roamed our land.

One of the most exciting discoveries was a metre-tall parrot Heracles Inexpectatus – nicknamed Squawkzilla by scientists – which lived in New Zealand about 20 million years ago.

The bones of Squawkzilla, and a life-size model, have been put together for the exhibition, so visitors can now come face-to-face with our past in never-before-seen detail.

Also on display are giant penguins that inhabited the oceans near what is now Waipara more than 60 million years ago. At a Central Otago site with fossils from around 20 million years ago, they uncovered many different types of birds that have never been seen in New Zealand before; bats that walked along the forest floor as well as crocodiles and turtles.

The exhibition runs from 13 December 2019 to 12 July 2020.

“It will be a summer blockbuster,” Museum Director Anthony Wright says.

“We think visitors will be blown away when they see the life-size models of the penguins, the parrot and the crocodile. While the exhibition will be entertaining, it’s grounded in science and we hope people will come away having learnt a little more about the ancient past of Aotearoa New Zealand.


 

Impact of Liquefaction


You’d be forgiven for not knowing what the word ‘liquefaction’ meant pre-quake. It’s just one of the new vernacular that has emerged in the rebuilding city. Now, visitors to Canterbury Museum’s earthquake exhibition Quake City can play in the city’s coolest sand pit to learn about the science behind the phenomenon of liquefaction.

 

 

The museum has added a hands-on interactive model to Quake City at 299 Durham Street North that demonstrates how the ground liquefied in parts of Canterbury during the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, burying streets and sinking buildings. Commissioned by the museum especially for Quake City, the model pumps air into a bed of sand, causing it to shift and liquefy much like the ground did during the earthquakes.

Blocks representing buildings sink into the liquefied sand, while lighter plastic balls float to the surface, as happened with some of the city’s buried infrastructure. Visitors can understand the benefits of building on piles by placing the model buildings and balls on metal poles to stop them sinking into the sand.

The model was funded by Tonkin + Taylor. Mike Jacka, Senior Geotechnical Engineer and part of Tonkin + Taylor’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery team, hopes the model might teach people how to build a more resilient city. “I think this is a great investment to inform and educate visitors and locals alike, and raise awareness of how we can better plan and build our homes, towns and cities to be resilient to nature’s challenges,” he says.