Tauranga Youth and a museum

Clayton McGregor and Celeste Skachill (Photos by Rosalie Liddle Crawford)

Click the image above to watch the video

Seeing into a cockroach brain or defeating a giant hornet, some exhibits at Te Papa may make you wonder what a museum is actually about.

On Thursday morning Clayton McGregor from Design + Space, and Celeste Skachill from StudioC Design, both located in Wellington, shared their journey and experience working on exhibitions at Te Papa.

Hosted by Taonga Tauranga, a voluntary group of Tauranga residents supporting the museum project by encouraging public discussion, the meeting at the Tauranga Club was the third in a series of breakfast presentations designed to promote discussion about a museum for Tauranga.

From ‘Gallipoli: The Scale of our War’, ‘Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers’ and the new Te Papa gallery, Toi Art, Clayton and Celeste presented the evolution and fruition of ideas through co-design and collaboration,

Science exhibitions, presented by the bugs themselves, or the idea of an exploration of the culture of surfing in NZ, - some displays may be so engaging, that you don’t realise the museum experience is as much about history as it is about the natural and social world around us.

Both Clayton and Celeste are originally from Tauranga, with Clayton spending more than 20 years working in museum, gallery, exhibition and visitor design in New Zealand and internationally. He was Exhibition Designer for Te Papa’s Bug Lab touring exhibition, working alongside creative director Richard Taylor and the incredibly talented exhibition development teams within Weta and Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa. He has worked in the role of principal designer for national and international exhibition projects.

Celeste, an award-winning designer, operates her own design business at StudioC, using co-design as her core service, where she actively involves those she designs for in the design process.

Their Tauranga presentation included highlighting the design process and detailed work undertaken by Te Papa staff working with Weta designers, from something like a five minute idea that Clayton scribbled down about the bugs building their world, through to the long hours building giant bees with individually placed hairs.

They each addressed the need to engage youth early-on, in the development of a contemporary museum.

“The key message for us, coming from our experience in museum design,” says Clayton, “whether that’s from overseas or what we’ve been doing in Wellington at Te Papa, is that I think you’ve got a really unique opportunity here to think about the processes to get to where you are going rather than relying on models that already exist. Use the creativity of the region and the uniqueness of Tauranga. People might think it’s about new subdivisions and going to the beach. But there’s a whole body of people here, who have voices that aren’t heard.”

“You have a unique opportunity to start engaging the young people of Tauranga to bring them into that process and allowing them to shape what will be your museum, and so they can grow with it,” says Celeste.

“It’s a unique opportunity, because you have a starting point for doing contemporary things. You’re not burdened by what’s been done in the past in terms of developing a museum here. It’s a fresh way that you can think about how it reflects the people it’s going to be for. Getting back to the idea, that if this is seven years ahead, who are the people that you are going to engage in the process now?”

Celeste outlined how Te Papa is undertaking to involve people in developing content, by giving an example of an Andy Warhol exhibition.

“What they did was they went out to universities and high schools students and handed over ownership to them, saying we have this Andy Warhol exhibition on, and we want you to create an event that brings 300 young people together, design something that will be relevant for your audience,” says Celeste. “I was one of the young people that was part of that. And now I have a career as a designer in the museum world. So that was a lovely example of the evolution of engaging young people early on.”

She also highlighted how she works with Massey University students to gather their ideas for what Te Papa as a museum could offer them.

“Involve high school students in your next steps for what you see a museum to be,” says Celeste.

Students from Mount Maunganui College, Otumoetai College and Aquinas College attended the breakfast event.

Rachel Brebner, Daisy Vahey Bourne and Jessica Phayer from Aquinas College

Amy Mcaulay (13), Carla Roberts (14) and Amy Charman-Moore (14) from Otumoetai College

Lilli Scott and Anais Magner from Aquinas College

“Put aside preconceptions about what a museum is and what it does – it may not be the monumental building,” says Clayton. “Engage young people and get ideas from workshops and ask out in the community about what people want.”

Louis Donovan, a student from Mount Maunganui College, thanked Clayton and Celeste for speaking.

“I came today not knowing I’d learn about cockroach brain surgery,” says Louis. “You never know what you’re going to be doing. Learning about co-design, it’s a contentious one, as we know that as young people we need to be involved from the get-go.”

Louis is one of the many youth who are too young to vote in the referendum about a museum.

“I’ll save my concerns about the referendum until the Long Term Plan submissions. But on that, for anyone who is interested, Sam Taylor and I will be at Grindz Café at 11am on Sunday. Come along and we’ll be making sure we get those submissions in for the Long Term Plan. We can’t vote in this referendum so please make sure you vote. We want to have a say.”

Sam Taylor and Louis Donovan from Mount Maunganui College have set up a Facebook page Tauranga - Our City, Our Culture – aimed at engaging people in discussion about the museum. 

Sam Taylor and Louis Donovan from Mount Maunganui College


Council debt is not your enemy, morepork.

Posted on 22-04-2018 12:46 | By R. Bell

In fact in this instance it is to your benefit. Your claim that a museum will cost 15% of annual expenditure is only 15% correct. Local bodies rarely use annual expenditure to build long term assets.The reason is simple,they adopt the principle of "Inter generational equity" which spreads the load over the life of the asset, as much as possible, so that all who benefit pay some of the cost. The L.G.F.Agency recommend a threshold of 175% of debt to revenue. T.C.C currently runs at 151%. The 175% is flexible in cities experiencing rapid growth i.e. Tauranga. Putting this off for "say 10yrs" is foolish for obvious reasons. Robin Bell.

@RobinBell: utter nonsense

Posted on 20-04-2018 13:59 | By morepork

Your frequent use of this phrase when referencing posts you don’t like does not mean that the content IS "utter nonsense". Thank you for revealing your Ratepayer status. You don’t refute the FACT (not "nonsense") that this IS 15% of expenditure and that is NOT "a drop in the bucket". Speaking only for myself (although I suspect there are many who would feel the same way) $60 a year of my money for something that is not essential, when there are other much more deserving ways it COULD be spent, is not acceptable to me. I shall be voting accordingly.

Complete and utter nonsense, morepork

Posted on 19-04-2018 10:39 | By R. Bell

As you well know the expected outlay for the museum is around 55 million.Central government have offered around 50% interest free, the rest presumably from a further loan at normal market rates. Annual repayments plus operating costs minus income is impossible for you and I to calculate. That is why we rely on experts ( that you disparage ) to estimate.It has been claimed that the cost on an annual basis per ratepayer is around $60, hence the tightfisted analogy. As a ratepayer in both T.C.C and WBOPCC for over 50 yrs I can assure you I am entitled to call it a drop in the bucket, because in the long run that is what it is. Robin Bell.

@RobinBell: A drop in the bucket?

Posted on 18-04-2018 15:42 | By morepork

That would be 2 or 3 percent. Maybe 5 for the sake of argument. This is going to cost 15% of the TOTAL yearly spend and it is NON-ESSENTIAL. The arguments about priceless educational opportunities are not valid; kids can browse a REAL museum in VR on the Internet (even the Louvre, which you mentioned in a different thread on the same subject). There MAY be a case for providing things of local and historical interest, as well as science and technology, but it is a weak case, unless it is properly and responsibly prioritized. If you are a Ratepayer, try and grasp the reality of the situation; if you are not, then you have no right to dismiss wasting our money as being "a drop in the bucket".

A drop in the bucket,

Posted on 17-04-2018 08:18 | By R. Bell

is exactly what it is, Sg1nz. If you read these disparaging comments regularly, you will find those opposed oppose everything, all council spending by all councils we have elected over at least the last 10yrs. If they get their way Tauranga City will not only stagnate it will end up like Detroit. Dead. Robin Bell.


Posted on 16-04-2018 15:15 | By Told you

Your voting paper will not be void if vote NO to the first question, the other two questions do not have be answered as they now become irrelevant.Straight from the horses mouth.


Posted on 16-04-2018 10:36 | By Captain Sensible

Even the TCC submission form is dishonest. There are 3 options re the museum, but none are "no museum". Option 3 may to them mean next year.Totally dishonest from TCC Option 1 - Council invests in a stand-alone museumOption 2 - Council invests in a combined library and museumOption 3 - Council does not invest in a museum at this time


Posted on 15-04-2018 19:37 | By R1Squid

Told YouIf the other tick-box remains unticked, there is the chance that the ballot becomes void and the first option is not counted.Catch 22 I fear.Time the receivers were called in as I believe TCC is insolvent.

Why the $55m

Posted on 15-04-2018 19:34 | By Sg1nz

Regardless of if you agree or not, why the focus on a museum being what’s driving the increase. TCC spend almost $300m pa on Roading, water etc. so the one off 55 is a drop in the bucket. If you really want lower rates then you need to focus on what is really driving the costs.

TCC fail

Posted on 15-04-2018 18:41 | By Captain Sensible

Shame on TCC for this FAILED propaganda exercise using youth.


Posted on 15-04-2018 14:07 | By Told you

When you vote Do you support the TCC INCLUDING A MUSEUM and you tick NO the other questions become irrelevant.

Of course...

Posted on 15-04-2018 13:52 | By morepork

... young, enquiring minds will be enthusiastic for a local museum. Kids always want the best toys, whether their parents can afford them or not. Angels makes a good point; tell the kids about the $50 million it will cost, and ask if they’d rather see it spent on housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, improving their schools and hospitals... Yes, that’s an unfair question, but so is promoting a toy that the family can’t afford right now, to youngsters, so they’ll press their folks to buy it.


Posted on 15-04-2018 11:54 | By Willie Basher

No we don’t want a binding referendum! Half the voters are not Ratepayers! Want we want are sensible Councillors making prudent financial decisions, not nutjobs out to make a name for themselves. The vote is neither here nor there because of my first point. The mandate for the madness to stop will be provided when the anti museum Candidate gets elected. There are only 3 or 4 who have voiced their disapproval. 1 in favour and a boat load of gutless fence sitters. Who wants people like that in? I respect the pro candidate even they are crazy. Easy choice.

Pro museum propaganda

Posted on 15-04-2018 10:39 | By waiknot

A like the idea of a museum, in fact Im assuming most people either like, or are indifferent about a museum in principle. The elephant in the room is affordability. For the sake of balance how about bringing an economist to highlight the financial implications. If a museum can truly be financially self supporting, Im guessing we would already have heard about the financial implications.


Posted on 15-04-2018 09:57 | By Maryfaith

Hard to believe that they will go to such lengths to validate the decision already made - we will get it, like it or not regardless of the thousands spent on the referendum!! It is sickening!


Posted on 14-04-2018 21:54 | By dumbkof2

so they looked into a cockroach brain i just went into google and did the same thing. cost me probably 5cents. why do we need a museum for this.

Funded by who

Posted on 14-04-2018 20:32 | By Angels

Who is funding all this museum craziness.Student should also be given a course on finance and how aa few should. Pay forever for something that will seldom be used.Think of it kids you will be paying for it the rest of your life if you can afford to live here.Teaching Children sensible spending is more. Important than what they will learn at a museum.polll will tell the tale shortly, majority vote should be binding, ,,,,!!!!!?????

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