7 March 2013
Interested in learning more about Rotorua history and culture? Want to learn how to share that knowledge with travellers from around the world? Rotorua Museum is providing free training to inspire and educate people who want to become volunteer tour guides.
Since its inception 12 years ago more than 200 volunteer guides (docents) have been trained and gone on to provide free tours to Rotorua Museum visitors.
Currently a band of 82 dedicated volunteers offers eight tours a day to the Museum’s national and international visitors. Each docent undergoes a 15 week training programme before hosting visitors, and will continue to take part in ongoing education updates.
The first training course of the year starts on Wednesday 20 March 2013, with the sessions ranging from 1.5 - 2.5 hours once a week for the length of the development programme.
Coordinator Ann Somerville said docents don’t need to be experts in art or history.
"We’re looking for an ability to communicate and enthusiasm, and people will need to be able to commit to doing guided tours for at least a year after their training finishes."
Museum director Stewart Brown said the service is important to the ‘face’ the Museum presents to visitors and performs a key service.
"I don’t know of too many other museums in New Zealand that offer eight free guided tours a day, so our volunteer guide programme really is an industry leader in this country," he said.
More than 100,000 people visit Rotorua Museum every year – and many of them will experience true ‘manaakitanga’ from an enthusiastic and committed group of volunteers – with the unusual name of ‘docent.’ The word ‘docent’ derives from the Latin docēns and, as well as referring to volunteer museum guides, is often associated with university professors and teachers.