Partnership, participation, and protection : reflections on collection management practices at the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy : a research report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Museum Studies at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand

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Massey University
This report examines how the National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy (NMRNZN, Navy Museum) can ethically and respectfully incorporate te reo Māori into collection management processes, thereby making the collection more meaningful. Taking inspiration from te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi, and the Royal New Zealand Navy’s (RNZN) Bicultural Policy, the Collections Department can develop processes to respond to the Museum’s unique social environment. Two significant events led to this research report; the first, installation of new art storage which started conversations about how management of that department could be improved. At a similar time, the RNZN Royal Guard of Honour received their orders in te reo Māori at the 2021 Waitangi Day commemorations for the first time. This highly significant event was the inspiration behind this research report with the aim of learning how we can use the principles of partnership, participation, and protection, to make the collection meaningful to RNZN personnel (Māori, Pākehā, and tauiwi) and their whānau. This research report uses the art of official RNZN artist, Colin Wynn as an example. To highlight the shortfalls in current collection management processes, early collection management systems have been analysed. These have then been compared to current museological literature which offers recommendations for institutions wishing to build or strengthen their bicultural practices and honour the principle of partnership as set down in te Tiriti o Waitangi. The link between Navy Museum practice and RNZN practice has been illustrated through a case study that looks at the experiences of personnel involved with the Royal Guard of Honour at Waitangi, and through a process of interviews, asks them the significance of using te reo Māori during a military ceremony with strong links to Aotearoa New Zealand’s colonial past. The research revealed that the Navy Museum has a lot of work to do to build meaningful partnerships with Māori service personnel. It was shown that the Navy Museum in partnership with, and with guidance from, Māori RNZN personnel, should be collecting and storing intangible knowledge associated with each piece of art. It is the kōrero and personal reminiscences of RNZN personnel that will give meaning to the Navy Museum collection.
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