'Jessie Readman' ashore on Taupeka Beach, 23 December 1893
History of the Museum
The Chatham Islands Museum was established in 1971 in a room of the Waitangi Store. Supported by the Council and Community the collections grew and in 1976 an appeal was launched for funds to build a museum for the Islands. The current two-roomed museum was opened in March 1979.
In 2010 the Council seconded a staff member to manage the much expanded collections and to compile a database of the objects, photographs and archives held. They also established the Chatham Islands Museum and Cultural Heritage Charitable Trust, with three Trustees, to enable the museum to apply for grant funds to assist in the conservation of the collection and to engage with other museums throughout New Zealand.
Over the next few years further Trustees were appointed (now totalling seven) and on 1 November 2016, with the signing of an MoU between the Trust and the Council, the Trust became a stand-alone, more independent organization supported by annual funding from the Council.
The Chatham Islands Museum
is governed by The Chatham Islands Museum & Cultural Heritage Charitable Trust, registered with the Charities Commission. The Museum's Trust Deed sets out its responsibilities, namely to:
a) promote and enhance the collection, through the recording and conservation of cultural heritage taonga, both physical and non-physical, and to display or make these available for viewing or study by Chatham Islands’ residents and visitors;
b) to undertake, support and encourage research and education activities in relation to Chatham Islands’ cultural heritage resources or values; and
c) to join with other similar museums to exchange, borrow or receive material where this will assist the purposes of the Trust and under conditions that fully protect the mana and security of kaitiakitanga of the Trust.
Resident Magistrate Robert Stone Florance with his family at the Tikitiki residence, ca1902
New Museum Project
In 2014 a government grant was provided to the Council to assist with the building of a larger, modern museum. A new building comprising Chatham Islands Council and Enterprise Trust offices, meeting rooms and other facilities, together with a modern museum is currently being planned on a site adjacent to the Council building on Tuku Road, in Waitangi. Funding for the build comes from the Government (for the museum), and the Ngati Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi asset holding company (for the Council-Enterprise Trust part of the complex). The Trust’s vision is to have a modern purpose-built museum that will ensure the collections of Chatham Islands cultural heritage taonga will be conserved, managed and enhanced for the benefit of current and future generations of Chatham Islands residents and visitors.