Auckland Museum honours outstanding researchers, announces Research Advisory Panel
Auckland Museum has honoured the careers of three outstanding researchers and unveiled an Advisory Panel to guide the development of its Research Centre.
Auckland Museum Medals for 2013 were presented at a function at the museum last night (29 August 2013) to:
David Simmons - an outstanding scholar and student of Māori art and culture
Ian Thwaites - a pivotal figure in the New Zealand Library sector
Richard Wolfe - a prolific author and expert museum curator and designer
Each recipient was made an Associate Emeritus of the Auckland War Memorial Museum 2013. Their profiles are provided below. The event also featured a keynote address by Professor Brigid Heywood, Assistant Vice-Chancellor at Massey University; and a short presentation by Georgie Craw, an MA thesis student at Auckland University who received an Auckland Museum Library grant last year.
Speaking at the event, Auckland Museum Director Roy Clare said: “Museum Medals are not awarded lightly. They recognise careers of sustained excellence in research and scholarship. The recipients have made major contributions and it is a pleasure to honour them and celebrate with their families and friends.”
The museum also announced the members of a Research Advisory Panel that will guide the development of research and scholarship at the museum and help boost research collaborations. The panel met for the first time yesterday. It is chaired by NZ’s former High Commissioner in London, Derek Leask and comprises: Professor Michael Corballis, Professor Manying Ip, Professor Andrew Jeffs, Dr Merata Kawharu, Dr Bronwyn Labrum and Graeme Murdoch; plus - ex-officio - Dr William Randall (Auckland Museum Trust Board Chair), Dr Margaret Horsburgh (Auckland Museum Trust Board member) and Dr Roger Lins (President, Auckland Museum Institute).
Auckland Museum Medal 2013 recipients
David Simmons is a scholar and student of Māori art and culture. He has written several books about the Māori including The Great New Zealand Myth, Whakairo (Māori Tribal Art) and Ta Moko (Māori Tattooing). He also co-authored The Māori Heitiki (with H.D. Skinner) and Art of the Pacific (with Brian Brake and James McNeish). David Simmons was appointed Ethnologist of the Auckland Institute and Museum in 1968, becoming Assistant Director at Auckland Museum in 1978. Prior to his time at Auckland Museum, David Simmons was appointed Keeper in Anthropology at Otago Museum from 1962 until 1968. He edited George Graham’s Māori Place Names of Auckland and prepared this popular account, in part based on the George Graham manuscripts in the Auckland Museum Library. David Simmons attended Victoria University College and graduated MA with Honours from The University of Auckland. He also has diplomas from the Sorbonne and the University of Rennes in Brittany.
Ian Thwaites was Librarian at Auckland War Memorial Museum from 1970 until 1989 when he took early retirement. He holds a BA from Victoria University and the Diploma of the NZ Library School – and his library career includes experience in Wellington at the Alexander Turnbull, Victoria University and General Assembly Libraries. As an ANZAC Fellow in 1977 Ian studied museum and historical research libraries in Australia. He has served on many associations and societies including the Kinder House Society Management Committee since its inception in 1981. In 1990 he was made an Honorary Member of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Inc. In 2008 he became an Honorary Life Member of the Auckland Museum Institute. His publications include In Another Dimension: Auckland Bookplates, 1920-60 – the first major monograph on New Zealand bookplates, Biographical Journeys: 100 Favourite Bookplates, We Learnt to See: Elam’s Rutland Group, 1935-58 (with Rie Fletcher) and In Affectionate Remembrance, a biographical study of the four sisters of Rev Dr John Kinder. His current project is a book about the staff, volunteers and other personalities who were all part of Auckland Museum from 1929-90.
Richard Wolfe completed a BFA at the Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland, in 1972. In 2012 he was awarded an MA with First Class Honours in Art History, also from The University of Auckland. He was Assistant Preparator at Canterbury Museum (1973-76) and Curator of Display at Auckland War Memorial Museum from 1977 until 1997. During this period he was responsible for the design and development of the museum’s public galleries, special exhibition programme and related activities. Since 1997 he has been a freelance exhibition curator and writer. His 35 published books to date have covered aspects of New Zealand history, art and popular culture, and museological topics. His titles include Kiwi: More than a Bird (1991), Moa: The Dramatic Story of the Discovery of a Giant Bird (2003), and A Noble Prospect: 75 Years of the Auckland War Memorial Building (2004). He is currently studying for a PhD at The University of Auckland. His research topic: ‘Oceania and the Museum’.