After settling into Kaikohe on Friday night we were ‘ready’ for an early start and pack in at #Ngapuhi2012. Actually the early start was a bit of challenge but we needed all that time to get our site ready for festival goers at 9am. Our site is immediately in front of the main stage on a big 10m by 5m site so we were expecting, at the very least, to enjoy the entertainment on stage, however with 40000 visitors expected we were well prepared for a busy day.
Setting up Auckland Museum's site at the Ngāpuhi festival
Tents all set up, and now time to fill them....
Dressing Auckland Museum's site ready for our visitors.
Our site was split into three sections, a technology rich corner with access to the Auckland Museum databases of service men and women (cenotaph), and taonga in our collections (Te Kakano). We also have a website for collecting stories for our new exhibition - Identi-Tee: Tāku Ti-Hāte, Tāku Korero (My Tee-Shirt, My Story). The second section is information about Ngāpuhi related taonga in our collections, and the third section was a family corner where tamariki (children) and parents could make Ngāpuhi taonga related badges. And out in front we set up a çhill out space with umbrellas and bean bags.
The official opening on Saturday morning happened at 9am and while the start was a slow affair the quality and time we spent with people at that time was great. One of my favourite photo’s from the festival so far was taken on Saturday morning with Jeff Evans and a family searching the cenotaph database for their family members. What made this photo and the interaction so special was that it was a real inter-generational affair. Jeff, the Kuia and Kaumatua, and their mokopuna spent a considerable amount of time exploring cenotaph. The iPads were a bit of a challenge, as was the need to borrow reading glasses, but I am pretty sure that during this exchange Jeff managed to gather some more information to help us build the resources of our database, and to enrich the stories the database has to tell.
Exploring whanau links through Auckland Museum's cenotaph database.
That story was typical of numerous conversations we had on Saturday. Ngapuhi’s William Mihaka and his whanau members came in to search the cenotaph database, and found an interesting photo of one of their tupuna (apparently they hadn’t seen it before) and they also said they had found some more information and expressed an interest in having them included in our records. After exploring for a while they left, but clearly spread the word because we had a steady stream of Mihaka’s through our site for the rest of the afternoon. That is one on many similar stories.
Ngapuhi festival was a rich site for gathering information for our new exhibition launching on March 9. Identi-tee ‘provides an opportunity to test alternative methods of collection development that not only address practical museum concerns, for instance storage and display space, but also increased community participation in collection development and curation. The mass production of T-shirts, combined with the ephemeral nature of their iconography, makes digital collation a more practical alternative to standard museum acquisition practices.’ – Chanel Clarke. On Saturday we captured 75 people willing to be photographed and tell their story about their tee-shirt. It was helpful that the Auckland Museum were able to spot a good Tee-Shirt story at about 100m and made contact with the festival goers, and the festival goers seemed to enjoy the experience.
Carlin working the family activity table at #Ngapuhi2012
We also had a steady stream of families doing the activities and it wasn’t just the kids. The badges were all designs from collections of Ngapuhi descent and they just needed to be coloured in and made. It is constantly a hot favourite of visitors to our site, and provides a great opportunity to stop and rest for a while, which one family did….for the whole afternoon as they enjoyed the music on our doorstep.
From a technology point of view it all went relatively smoothly, we lost connection to the internet for 30 minutes at one stage and vodafone were helpful resolving that issue, I have made a mental note that blogging from an iPhone is not an easy thing to do, and especially inserting photos.