Landmark science exhibition finds local sponsors


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8 March 2007

Waikato Museum will partner with Mighty River Power in presenting a landmark $350,000 exhibition entitled Hinaki and Hydropower: stories from the Waikato River that is set to open at the museum in July.

Mighty River Power will be the primary sponsor of the exhibition which represents the largest financial investment in a science exhibition in the Waikato region to date.

Hinaki and Hydropower: stories from the Waikato River is a unique exhibition for two primary reasons. This is the first exhibition that has been developed with the collaboration and support of Environment Waikato, the local science community, the Centre for Biological and Ecological Research (CBER) at Waikato University, Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust, Tainui waka, Ngati Tuwharetoa and Whanganui River Maori Trust Board. The support of these iwi illustrates their important relationship to the river. The river is the life force of the iwi, who trace their genealogy back to it.

This is also the first exhibition hosted by Waikato Museum to focus on the region's natural heritage from a scientific perspective. Historically Waikato Museum had a core focus on art and history. The Exscite Centre has traditionally featured touring exhibitions with a key focus on children. This exhibition marks a shift towards presenting science with a focus on the Waikato region.

Waikato Museum director Kate Vusoniwailala says securing the sponsorship is a significant milestone in responding to public demand for a more contextualised science gallery.

"Hinaki and Hydropower is an ambitious exhibition that blends different disciplines including social history, tangata whenua and visual arts to deliver scientific concepts in a more readily accessible and 'user friendly' format for museum patrons. Securing sponsorship was the first major step in delivering the project, which responds to public requests for more interactive science exhibitions.

"We're thrilled that our sponsors recognise the value and significance of the exhibition, which explores how the traditional use of the Waikato River sits with modern science technology. The exhibition will occupy the entire bottom floor of the Exscite gallery and signifies an exciting change of direction for the museum's science exhibitions."

Mighty River Power group strategist Neil Williams says the Hinaki and Hydropower exhibition has several synergies with Mighty River Power.

"Mighty River Power has a significant connection to the Waikato River as all hydro dams and hydro stations are on the river. The Hinaki and Hydropower exhibition centres on the river and will highlight the importance of this resource to Mighty River Power's operations.

"Another feature of the collaboration is the close involvement of local iwi and strong focus on regional heritage. Our involvement in the Waikato area is a source of pride and consideration in all our day to day operations."

Hinaki and Hydropower: stories from the Waikato River, includes a number of unique features that are new to Waikato Museum's scientific exhibition offerings. A permanent discovery centre forms part of the exhibition where patrons can investigate river specimens in closer detail.

Replicas of the Huka Falls and the Rangiriri historic paddle steamer are highlights of the exhibition. Patrons enter the exhibition through the recreated Huka Falls and can stand on the Rangiriri replica while looking out over the Waikato River at the real Rangiriri vessel. In total, there are 10 segments to the exhibition.

Hinaki and Hydropower: stories from the Waikato River will run for three years but will be updated every six months to keep content up-to-date and relevant.

NAME: Kate Vusoniwailala
DESIGNATION: Waikato Museum
TEL (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6709
MOBILE: 021 620 098
FAX (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6571
NAME: Naomi Reynolds
DESIGNATION: Communication Advisor
TEL (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6726
MOBILE: 027 413 3448
FAX (DIRECT): 0 7 838 6761
Page reviewed: 08 Mar 2007 12:00am