20 November 2019

Media: Rotorua Daily Post
Topic: Museum project


I've been made aware it's been three years since the museum closed. I was off work yesterday but I know there was an update on the project held yesterday which was livestreamed on the council website.

I've yet to watch it but was thinking it might be timely to do a wee update on the project. Is the council proactively putting out any info following the talk yesterday or am I able to use the comments in the live stream and come to you with any further questions.

Follow up questions:

I do have a couple of extra questions around museum insurance - about 8 minutes into the live stream Stewart is asked whether any funding had come from insurance. He said no. This took me by surprise as it was news to me!

I had been keeping an eye on insurance and we have received multiple letters to the editor about the issue.

In January I was told insurance claims were " still active and being finalised.  Any final claims and payments will be publically communicated at the appropriate time." In June there was no update when I asked again about insurance. 

Can you please provide me with more information about the insurance claim. Including:

- When were council's insurance claims finalised?

- I was told any insurance payout would only cover the cost of reinstating damage but now hear there is no insurance money. Why is insurance not covering damage?

 - In 2016 the council heard that as long as the damage repair bill, combined with the loss of earnings exceeded $5 million, the museum would be fully covered. What is the estimated or actual loss of earnings from the time of closure to now? If that exceeds $5m why was the museum not covered? I note I was told in Jan the loss of income was estimated to be at least $2.2m per year so I'm assuming the total exceeds $5m. 

- Let me know if there is anything further you would like to add.


Information provided:

The reporter was advised there was no official release from Council but was provided a fact sheet outlining some of the work that has continued while the Museum building has been closed. 

There is no update from previous answers – insurance claims are still active and any final claims and payments will be publically communicated at the appropriate time.

 It is important to note that any insurance payout would only cover the cost of reinstating damage and not additional work required to bring the building up to current building code e.g. earthquake strengthening and roof repair.

You can watch the livestream of Stewart Brown's Museum talk HERE

The reporter was advised that there was no official release from Council but was provided information about activity that has continued while the Museum building has been closed [see below].


24,581 students have attended Museum education programmes

9528 students have used the free Museum bus


167 Museum events have been hosted

21,839 people attended Museum events

Guided tours:

8337 hosted on free guided tours around Government Gardens

14 Rotorua Museum exhibitions since Nov 2016:

  • Da Vinci Machines and Robots, 2016-2017
  • Art Awards Exhibition of Finalists, 2017
  • Art Awards Salon des Refusés, 2017 
  • Muka Youth Prints, 2017
  • Top Art, 2017
  • Beyond Geyserland, 2018 (joint show with Tauranga Art Gallery)
  • The Art of Remembering – Te Pū o Mahara, 2018
  • The Dark Arts, 2018
  • Top Art, 2018
  • Muka Youth Prints, 2018
  • Brave Hearts, 2018-2019
  • AEIOU, 2019 (touring show to Expressions Whirinaki and Ashburton Art Gallery)
  • Art Awards Exhibition of Finalists, 2019
  • Art Awards Salon des Refusés, 2019

     Rotorua Museum Education Special Projects
  • The Art of Remembering  research, competition, scholarships and exhibition, 2018
  • Beyond the Grave, WW1 grave restoration with high school students 2018
  • Schools Aquabots Competion 2019

     Other major Rotorua Museum projects:
  • Object and exhibition relocations, 2017-2018
  • Summers sculpture relocation, 2017
  • Taonga relocations, 2018
  • Nightmare, 2018
  • Installation of mobile art racks, 2018
  • Textiles rehousing project, 2016-2019
  • Te Arawa WW1 Memorial restoration, 2017-2019
  • Installation of taonga cantilever shelving, 2018-2019
  • Installation of cloak units, 2019
  • Documentary heritage project, 2019
  • Support for Wira Gardiner's Ake Ake Kia Kaha E! Forever Brave publication, 2017-2019​


Media: RotoruaNow (Sunlive)
Topic: Soundshell removal


What is the current state of the proposed demolition of the Soundshell? Several months ago Henry Weston told councillors the building was on the verge of demolition once asbestos has been removed, which from memory then seemed to be in a matter of two weeks.​


From Rob Pitkethley – Sport, Recreation & Environment Manager:

At our last update we advised that the central auditorium required extra treatment due to the remaining asbestos left in the structure and that the timing would depend on ensuring the safe removal of the material.

Independent asbestos assessors have continued to test the auditorium as each treatment has been applied but, the level of asbestos remaining is still above the level required for the clearance to safely remove the external cladding from the building

A more intensive level of treatment is being developed between the independent assessors and the building removal contractors to remove the structure the safest way possible.

This is not something we want to rush. We are working very carefully through this process ensuring we are taking the best advice possible.  The safety of people and the environment is our top priority.

In parallel to this work, Council is also applying for resource consent for earthworks to remove the top layer of soil under the building because testing has revealed a level of asbestos present. 


Page reviewed: 03 Dec 2019 3:43pm