At the time of writing we are eagerly anticipating news of the outcome of our application for resource consent for the proposed new museum. We would be very happy, along with our partners Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, to be the first new building in the block between Oxford and Canterbury streets since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes devastated Lyttelton’s town centre.
In 1969, led by the inspirational Baden Norris, a dedicated team of local volunteers opened the first Lyttelton Museum in the former Shipping Company Headquarters on Hawkhurst Road. In 1980 came a move to the old Merchant Navy Centre on Gladstone Quay, which was the Museum’s home for thirty years. The collection grew to include more than 20,000 objects, photographs and resources donated by the people of Lyttelton, the wider harbour community, and beyond.
Sadly, the earthquakes caused significant damage to the premises, forcing the Museum’s closure and necessitating demolition. However the Lyttelton Volunteer Fire Brigade and Air Force Museum of New Zealand staff were able to rescue the precious artefacts, which are now in safe storage at the Air Force Museum at Wigram.
In 2016 Lyttelton Historical Museum Society members voted to proceed with plans for a new museum. Following the vision of Baden Norris and respected previous President, Dr Kerry McCarthy, the proposed new museum will weave together stories unique to this special region. It will be a place to share, celebrate and preserve the taonga and stories of Ōhinehou Lyttelton and Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour under six key themes; Mana Whenua, Colonial Canterbury, Lyttelton Local, Maritime, Antarctic, and Whakaraupō by Nature.
Conversations with Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke and local artist Nathan Pohio have informed the design of the proposed building. We want the new museum to support appropriate tikanga so that it can be a place entrusted to hold and share stories and taonga of mana whenua for the benefit of the whole community and its visitors.
Once built, Te Ūaka The Lyttelton Museum will host a range of long-term and changing exhibitions. There will be a dedicated research space providing access to the collection and curatorial expertise, public talks, workshops, and education programmes that align with school curricula. Intended as a shared facility, it will be a site of collaboration with like-minded community groups, artists, researchers and education providers.
Join our rebuild efforts by donating to this important cause.