Community Engaged Cultural Heritage Care: A Fellow’s exploration of Community - led
Preservation & Conservation Practices in New Zealand
The George Alexander Foundation
Australia, New Zealand
Community Engaged Cultural Heritage Care: A Fellow’s exploration of Community- led Preservation details findings from the Fellow’s research travel to Aotearoa New Zealand in September 2022.
The Fellow, a conservator with a strong interest in people- centred conservation practice, travelled to New Zealand for one month to expand her knowledge in this area. The Fellow focused on successful examples of collaborative projects involving museum/institutional staff and Māori and Pacific Islander communities in New Zealand such as the Pacific Collections Access Project at the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira.
During the trip she visited various large cultural heritage institutions to tour collection storage areas and spoke to conservators and museum staff about their role in facilitating direct access to collections by source communities. The Fellow also participated in a community cultural heritage preservation workshop hosted on a marae in the Hokianga region where the fellow engaged with community members and conservators working together to preserve local cultural heritage materials.
This report shares the Fellow’s observations, reflections, and learnings from this trip. The Fellow believes where appropriate, some learnings from these settings are transferable to other contexts in Australia where institutional conservators work directly with source communities First Nations and otherwise. In focus are recommendations around integrating a people- centred approach into the professional practice of conservators working in Australia’s cultural heritage institutions such as galleries, libraries, archives, and museums.