August 17th is a memorable day for me because it was my parents’ wedding anniversary, but also the day which we opened the Museum Shop. Thirty years ago. Thirty years ago!!
My friend Meg Campbell came to help me catalogue and price the books and we had a fine old opening. I ended up in hospital about 3 months later – due partly to stress. Katrina Hatherly, whom I had cleverly employed, took over. Elizabeth Knox worked weekends and on Mondays I’d find writing covered paper bags. Pity I didn’t keep some. I remember her meeting and falling in love with her husband, Fergus. In hindsight – how DID she manage to write? Sundays we often had so many people in the shop there was no room to move. Our takings on Sunday made up for slow Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Eth and Barbara made up the small enthusiastic team and looked after the shop when I swanned off to a Museum Shops conference in Washington D.C. and a subsequent tour of museum shops in Vancouver, Chicago, New York, and LA with a short stop to Hawaii and a personal visit to Kiribati at the end (via Fiji).
We were a great team – our many skills complemented each other’s.
My trip to the U. S. A followed the Te Maori exhibition and I followed a trail of kete and other items in the sale bins of museum shops. I loved being in Vancouver at the university museum and meeting Michael Ames whom I later toured around NZ museums. Chicago, to my mind, is a fabulous city. Art! People! Deli food! Jazz! Cold! Art!
The Te Maori exhibition in NZ was a memorable and exhilarating time. Imagine the museum filled with Maori, most speaking te reo. I loved the flow of iwi- as each week different iwi took charge of the paepae in the old Maori hall. In front, actually, of Te Hau ki Turanga
Robyn Kahukiwa book signings and a storytelling event in front of Te Hau ki Turanga were other things we did – as well as selling fabulous jewellery and the first books on post modernism to hit Wellington book shops. Brian Adam‘s glasses were always a hit and we sold jewellery and items by Brian Flintoff, Owen Mapp, Don Salt, John Edgar…..I think we sold the most bone carvings in NZ.
When I left the shop in 1987 Krysia Zagrobelna eventually took over its management. I first met her when her mother Moanaroa came into the shop and offered advice on things Maori (over which I was floundering). The next day she brought the efficient Krysia along (and her tiny curly-haired daughter, Keri-Mei). They became a part of my life and the shop. Krysia died in 2007. Keri-Mei is now a jeweller.
And just while I went to searching to see what was online I found this. 🙂
PS: I do wish the earth would stop shaking.