Auckland War Memorial Museum has honoured the careers of four outstanding individuals in its Museum Medals ceremony, held on Thursday 22 February.      

The medals for 2017 were presented to:
J A Grant-Mackie - Associate Emeritus of Auckland War Memorial Museum
Dante Bonica - Companion of Auckland War Memorial Museum
Stuart Park - Fellow of Auckland War Memorial Museum
Ngahuia Te Awekotuku - Fellow of Auckland War Memorial Museum

 (The recipient’s profiles are provided below)   

Auckland Museum Director Dr David Gaimster said “It is a pleasure to recognise the major contributions the recipients have made to this Museum and the cultural sector itself, particularly alongside members of their whanau, friends and colleagues.  Our recently released Five-Year Strategic Plan reaffirms the crucial role of research in bringing collections to life, generating new knowledge and enriching the museum experience for our increasingly diverse audiences.”
J.A Mackie was made Associate Emeritus of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which recognises Museum staff or volunteers’ noteworthy achievements. His contributions to the interests of the Museum have been considerable with the potential for long-term benefit.

Dante Bonica was made a Companion of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which recognises his achievements to the public service of Auckland Museum and other New Zealand museums. 

Stuart Park and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku were both made Fellows of Auckland War Memorial Museum for exemplary scholastic achievement relevant to the Museum's collections and activities. Their contribution to Auckland Museum has been unique and valuable. 

The event also featured a keynote address by the Hon. Carmel Sepuloni, Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage.


Media Contact:
Kerry Bothwell, Communications Manager 
Auckland War Memorial Museum
Phone:  309 0443 ext 7070/ 021 501 232

Image: Auckland Museum Director David Gaimster. 

2017 Museum Medal Recipient Profiles

J A Grant-Mackie - Associate Emeritus of Auckland War Memorial Museum

Jack Grant-Mackie has a PhD in Geology from the University of Auckland. 

Since 1957 he has worked in Auckland University’s Geology Department & School of Environment, climbing the ladder from Lecturer to Head of Department. He is currently an Honorary Research Fellow. 

Jack’s research has covered many areas, but he focuses mainly on taxonomy and stratigraphy of New Zealand - New Caledonian Triassic-Jurassic molluscs.  He published more than 250 papers, reviews and commentaries, and co-edited scientific books. He led the International Geological Correlation Program, New Zealand-New Caledonian Mesozoic Chronostratigraphy, from 1973 - 1977, which produced a considerable variety of research papers, and is still doing so.

A member of the Auckland Museum Institute, Jack has served for many years on its Council. He has been an active member of the New Zealand Geological (now Geosciences) Society since its formation and has served on many of its committees, including as President.  

He was the Patron of the South Auckland Rock and Mineral Society, 1964-2013, and an Honorary Member of the Auckland Geological and Lapidary Society, 1964-1996.

International service, in addition to the International Geological Correlation Program, has included the International Paleontological Association, UNESCO Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières New Caledonia, Australasian Association of Palaeontologists, 10th International Bryozoology Conference, 25th International Geological Congress, amongst others.

Dante Bonica - Companion of Auckland War Memorial Museum

Dante Bonica has been interested in Māori material culture since he was a young boy. He was greatly influenced by the displays in the Māori court of the Hawkes’s Bay Art Gallery Museum. 

As a teenage he began experimenting with replication processes, and was able to make and use traditional Maori stone, wood and bone working tools, such as adzes, chisels, and fish hooks. 

He worked for the Waikato Art Museum in the 1970s, where he worked alongside traditional Maori carvers and canoe builders based in Hamilton and Turangawaewae. 

From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, Dante was part of the Hotunui conservation project at Auckland Museum. Part of his role was making replica artefacts for the permanent displays and for educational purposes.

In the mid-1990s he was involved with research into early Maori stone tool technology for the University of Auckland. At the same time, he worked for the University’s Maori Studies Department to teach papers in traditional Maori material culture. 

Since then, Dante has been involved in knowledge recovery related to traditional material culture practices as requested by Tangata whenua and other museums and universities.

Stuart Park - Fellow of Auckland War Memorial Museum

Stuart Park was appointed Director of Auckland Museum in 1979, after 11 years as Anthropologist at Otago Museum. 

During his 14 years in Auckland he undertook a number of initiatives in public exhibitions, including the redisplayed Māori Galleries, and international exhibitions like the Firth Dinosaurs and Oro del Peru. The Volunteer Guides were recruited, and a Newsletter for Institute and Museum members was produced.  

Under Stuart’s directorship, improvements were begun in collection storage and care, including the creation of the conservation facility, and a number of staff appointments were made to strengthen the museum’s work in areas both scientific and museological. First steps were taken into the digital world, beginning in collection registration, and a programme of major building strengthening, maintenance and refurbishment was initiated. 

Stuart undertook policy development for the Museum Council. He was involved in the 1980 amendment to the Museum Act, and in the preparations for the current Auckland Museum Act, 1996.

In 1993, Stuart joined the exhibition development team for what became Te Papa in Wellington. After Te Papa opened in 1998 Stuart became its Director, Museum Resources. 

In 1999 he moved to Kerikeri to establish the Northland Office of Heritage New Zealand. There he worked with built heritage and archaeological sites, offering advice and support to local authorities and public and private owners of heritage places. 

Stuart retired in 2012, and actively pursues interests in Northland history, New Zealand glass history, and family history, especially family military history.

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku - Fellow of Auckland War Memorial Museum

Emeritus Professor Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, MNZM is an award-winning author and scholar, a recognised curator, and recipient of the prestigious Pou Aronui Award from the Royal Society of New Zealand for services to the arts and humanities. Of Ngati Whakaue, she was raised in the village of Ohinemutu, Rotorua.

In 1981 she became the first Maori female to gain a doctorate in New Zealand, and assumed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

Following that, she was a Curator at Waikato Museum, confronting Western representations of Maori culture and opening up the institutions for indigenous people.  

At Auckland University from 1987, she developed and taught the first Maori and Pacific Art History programme from undergraduate to doctoral level. 

She moved to Victoria University, where she was appointed the country’s first Māori female Professor in 1996. She is also the first Maori female Emeritus. 
An acclaimed international speaker and expert on indigenous heritage, she has sole-authored books, including two new book projects,and contributed to multiple chapters and numerous academic papers. 

She has worked on many exhibitions, her most recent at Waikato Museum; E Nga Uri Whakatupu: Weaving Legacies: Dame Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa which won the Museums Aotearoa Best Exhibition Taonga Maori Award, 2016. 

Ngahuia has served on the Social Sciences Research Fund, Cultural Conservation Advisory Council, Antiquities Act Review Committee, National Art Gallery Council, New Zealand Film Archive Trust Board, Museum of New Zealand Project Development Board, Te Waka Toi Maori Arts Board and the Council of Creative New Zealand.