The ‘happy’ little renaming of our leading social history museum

UPDATED 1 June 2012

Do we need a new name?

Debate is heating up (slowly) around an unscientific online poll hosted by Otago Daily Times, also appearing at the museum’s website (poll closed 1 June*), tied to a story about eight shortlisted options for re-naming Dunedin’s best-loved museum.

Participants (total votes: 2362 at 31 May, 11:02 pm) in the poll are showing a marked preference for retaining the existing name “Otago Settlers Museum”.

Why did the museum board decide a new name was needed in the first place? An ‘expert’ wrote a report that carried the recommendation.

What do you think? It’s your museum. With a little stirring, some of the worms are starting to come out of the woodwork.

And another thing, colleagues aren’t keen on the design of the new foyer now under construction. ‘Love steel, dislike the detailing and proportion’ is a common thread. Opinions? You’re paying for it.

*The museum board intends to consider the results of the poll and recommend a new name for the museum at its meeting on 7 June. My, that’s speedy scientific.

Related Post:
5.11.11 Otago Settlers Museum – Burnside Building (site visit)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Innovation, Inspiration, Media, Name, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Urban design

58 responses to “The ‘happy’ little renaming of our leading social history museum

  1. How much money have we sunk into this so far?
    Why would we spend more money rebranding? I see no benefit what so ever, just more expense.
    The foyer is what it is. Not doubt it all went through the proper channels at some huge cost. Deal with it.

  2. Anonymous

    If they had only taken the rebranding budget and used it to purchase non-reflective glass…

  3. Andreas Makarewitsch

    Love Dunedin; love the easy-to-understand and identify place names and sites. Leave the name ‘Otago Settlers Museum’ as it is. Nothing’s broken, nothing needs fixing. (and btw, thankyou again to all you Dunedians who made my recent visit such a pleasure – it was fun.)

  4. Anonymous

    I’m actually quite baffled by this. Is the museum board seriously considering the poll on Otago Daily Times as part of this weird rebranding exercise? Did it pay the paper to run the poll? Now they’ve spent money on this exercise will they have to change the name just to justify the expense of doing it? Or is this another DCC Communications Department ploy to distract readers from other misdeeds it is engaged in? This rebrand smells funny. It feels… soft.

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    …and it sticks to your shoes……

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 2 Jun 2012
      Back to the future for the OSM?
      By John Gibb
      It could be back to the future for the Otago Settlers Museum after a public poll strongly backed retaining that name, following a contest to generate a new title. In a preliminary total of 3334 votes cast in the mainly online poll, 1694 (51%) backed the current name and a further 6% (210) supported a shorter version: “The Settlers”.[…]People could vote online either through the Otago Daily Times internet site (2445 votes), through the settlers museum site, or in hard copy format, and polling closed at noon yesterday.[…]Dunedin City Council general manager city strategy and development Sue Bidrose was “delighted” with the response. “We asked for your help and you’ve told us in no uncertain terms that you like what we’re doing with the museum and that you have a strong attachment to the [Otago Settlers Museum] name,”she said.
      Read more

      Actually, we only voted on the name – not sure how that translates to “you’ve told us in no uncertain terms that you like what we’re doing with the museum”.

  6. Anonymous

    Just another council manager spinning a yarn.

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    Or displaying a – just another, as you say – worryingly tenuous grip on reality.
    Next step “Poll shows Over 50% of Ratepayers want Tower at Settlers Museum”. Followed by Acklin seizing this “cause” in his vice-like grip, cf John Wilson Memorial Drive which he has worked tyrelessly to keep unresolved.

  8. Lindsay

    A strategy manager? I suppose an infinite number of monkeys working an infinite number of typewriters would require some cleaning up after.

  9. Anne Elliot

    Otago Settlers Museum and/or Board are not bound by the poll about possible renaming. I think we, the public, have been given too little information about the current mission of the Museum, i.e. to which degree ‘settler’ is appropriate to the breadth of its collection and the shift in stakeholders. ‘Social history’ and ‘heritage’ is not the preserve just of settlers. The Museum’s collection now spans periods such as the 1950s. There is also the issue of visitors from outside Dunedin apparently being confused about ‘Otago Museum’ and ‘Otago Settlers Museum.’ Any new name would need to take into account issues such as these, so a little more information to the public seems necessary. I hope the Museum/Board has not painted itself into a corner with this populist poll.

    • Elizabeth

      1. Bidrose is an idiot?
      2. Before closing, the ODT Online poll got to 54% support for “Otago Settlers Museum”

      ### ODT Online Fri, 8 Jun 2012
      Settlers museum board meets but public excluded
      By John Gibb
      The Otago Settlers Museum Board yesterday excluded the public, citing potential “prejudice or disadvantage” to commercial activities, in order to discuss a possible change of the museum’s name. The board discussed a report on the issue from senior management of the Dunedin City Council-owned museum, and then made a recommendation. This will be considered by the council community development committee on Monday, and later this month the full council will make the final decision at another meeting. It is understood there is strong support on the board for retaining the existing museum name.

      Board chairwoman Dorothy Page said in a later interview that an “interesting and careful discussion” had taken place in committee, and the ultimate decision would be taken by the council. She believed the council would give “considerable weight” to the community poll outcome.

      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        Ah yes, the idea of the museum merger… from the same man who suggested a new name be found for the Otago Settlers Museum, dear Rodders.

        ### June 7, 2012 – 7:05pm
        Merger plan may be officially shelved
        Next week may see a quiet end to a report that landed loudly in Dunedin more than four years ago. Former Auckland War Memorial Museum director Dr Rodney Wilson’s report proposed a merger of the Otago Museum and the Otago Settlers Museum. But that plan may be officially shelved by the city council, in a tight financial environment for the arts and cultural groups.

        • Elizabeth

          Poppycock and drivel from Vandervis.

          ### ODT Online Mon, 11 Jun 2012
          New name for renewed museum ‘important’
          By John Gibb
          Despite significant community backing for the status quo, the Dunedin City Council should seriously consider changing the Otago Settlers Museum’s name, city councillor Lee Vandervis says. After citing the need to avoid potential “prejudice or disadvantage” to commercial activities, the settlers board excluded the public from discussion on the name issue at an extraordinary meeting late last week.

          The issue will be considered again by the council community development committee today and a final decision is expected to be made at a council meeting later this month.

          Read more

  10. Hype O'Thermia

    With that tedious house magazine City Talk at last heave-ho’d Rodders desperately needs to look like someone with something to do in the time remaining till he qualifies for the Winston Peters Gold Card because it’s not likely he qualifies for a golden handshake.

  11. Anne Elliot

    I read somewhere that interviews with Otago Settlers Museum staff were so negative that any previous idea of a possible merger between the Otago Museum and the Otago Settlers Museum were ditched.

  12. Anonymous

    Previous employees are more than willing to express their horror of the working conditions and management style under Shimrath and Clare but current employees tend to need confidence and look far and wide before continuing to as though under threat of observation. Odd this behaviour is allowed to continue when there is clear and broad indication of bad management. Not helped by a certain media outlet preferring to pass the press release all is well and everyone else must have a problem.

  13. Anonymous

    The Otago Museum’s ad for a “Cafe Host – Barista” continues to run in the Otago Daily Times and it has popped up fairly frequently since they booted out Jill Guy. One of the qualities it seeks is “warm and welcoming” – is that sarcasm or arrogance when expected by this museum’s management? They might have to go further than a table chat with ODT to the likes of national or international media where people may be less aware of its public position on employment in Dunedin.

  14. Peter

    I like ‘The Settlers’, but it appears the majority want the status quo. Fair enough. There seems to be a political danger of not going with this. You can go against what seems to be the mainstream view, but we have been down that road with the stadium, haven’t we.

  15. We now know why DCC propaganda honcho, Sue Bidrose, was so keen on secrecy for last week’s Otago Settlers Museum Board meeting : “Toitu”.
    There may be a case for a Maori name, but the way this naming process has been gone about leaves a sour taste.
    I trust that we will not hear her talking about “transparency” again for a while.

    • Elizabeth

      Hey Alistair, you’re speaking for many there I think :)

      Recently, some individual councillors have whispered in my ear that Bidrose is “great” (smiles! ray of light stuff! OMG), but think about the calibre of councillors… – some of the shine dulls. She doesn’t have it on her own though. The director of the museum is another ‘thinking person’s’ problem.

      The bad day:

      ### ODT Online Tue, 12 Jun 2012
      Otago Settlers Museum to have ‘Toitu’ tag
      By Debbie Porteous
      When the Otago Settlers Museum reopens its doors this year after a $40 million redevelopment, it is likely to be under the new name Toitu: Otago Settlers Museum. The name was decided by the Dunedin City Council’s community development committee yesterday and will be recommended to the full council which will make a final decision on June 25.

      Museum director Linda Wigley told councillors the name was given to the board after a competition seeking a new name for the museum was launched last month.

      Read more

      See new poll at ODT Online.

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    Check the grovelly gush: “Board chairwoman Dr Dorothy Page said the board now found itself in a “lovely situation” where it was “very fortunate” to have the gift of Toitu….” Richard Thomson hitches a ride on the bandwagon too: ‘The use of the term being brought to the board as a gift was apt too, he said.”
    Then with a nod to recent history – remember something else that can be made to work? – ‘ “It (sic) think we can make it work, and work well.” ‘
    Can’t a Maori word or practice ever be unaccompanied by this kind of blather? It’s different in intention but reminds me strongly of the romanticised (now decried as patronising) attitude that “natives” who weren’t primitive heathens were Noble Savages.

    Gift eh, requiring new signage, stationery, amending every place the name is in print or online. Chocolates would have been more than adequate.

  17. gaz

    The name reminds me of those stupid 2 deg adds where Reece Darby sellotapes two completely different objects together to make a “combo”, cheap, nasty and just not going to work, also a lot like the design of the new buildings

  18. Peter

    Not even sure how you pronounce toitu, not alone its real meaning. Is it like ‘toy two’ or ‘toe e two’?

  19. Anne Elliot

    I for one am hugely relieved that we did not end up just with ‘settler;’ after all, Māori are Tangata Whenua. Just rehashing the same old name for a very different museum would have been grim. However, I don’t understand the competition thing, where 3,300 people’s opinion is taken as proof of people’s preferences. I especially don’t understand this last sentence from this morning’s ODT announcement: “The competition winner would be the entrant the board considered best explained why they suggested the highest polling original name – Dunedin Heritage Museum.” Nor do I get the headline, “Otago Settlers Museum to have ‘Toitu’ tag,” because Toitu is probably going to become the “name” and Otago Settlers Museum the tag line.

  20. Hype O'Thermia

    How is it a “very different museum”? Over the years it has had many changes. It’s what happens, styles (fashions?) change, emphases and presentation alter over time, buildings have to be repaired, extended, modernised to fit the requirements of changing times.
    This latest is major alterations/refurbishment to be sure, but “a very different museum”? The Dunedin Public Library moved almost halfway round Moray Place, and subsequently embraced computers and CDs, videotapes, DVDs as well as books on dead trees, and managed it all without the need for a new name. The art gallery moved all the way from Logan Park to the substantially altered old DIC building without requiring description as a “whole new art gallery” and changing the name from Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

  21. Anne Elliot

    I think the Museum changed back in 1994, when the first Māori exhibition happened. During those years, the word ‘early’ disappeared from the name of both the Otago Early Settlers Association as well as from the Museum’s name. Then new immigrants were included in the social heritage the museum portrays. Collection has also become much wider to include late 1900s social history artefacts. As the Museum was taken over by the DCC, the Local Government Act 2002 kicked in in regard to participation of Māori in decision-making process, etc etc. The Museum Board has an established relationship with tangata whenua and it seems obvious to seek their opinion. I am not an expert but currently learning about this in a Museum Practice Certificate. I suppose it is opening my eyes to other ways of seeing. Nevertheless, I have always found the term ‘settler’ a little exclusive and uncomfortable if intended to describe everyone in our community.

  22. Peter

    I suppose, though, we are all settlers to this country-including Maori.So, in that sense, the term ‘settler’ is not exclusive

  23. Anne Elliot

    Maori do not consider themselves as settlers but tangata whenua. And the members of the Early Settlers Association certainly did not because membership was limited to those who arrived between 1848 and 1861.

  24. Hype O'Thermia

    Does it matter whether people REGARD themselves as settlers? I know someone who regards herself as a victim of innumerable intrusive visits by aliens. I love and respect her, she’s a dear loyal friend, but I don’t let that interfere with my position on alien home invaders.

    • Elizabeth

      Dot Page, along with her board and the opportunist ‘advisory group’ (which, noted, leapt in AFTER the public competition held to suggest names for the museum), has made things worse with her explanatory or was it falsely placatory gibberish, than need be. I respect Dot but long ago gathered she’s not well atuned for public leadership. Watch her mistakes pile up as the debacle unfolds.

      It’s interesting when there’s preaching amongst us about ‘people of the land’, who indeed – rightly (without narrow ethnic definition) – are all New Zealanders. That is, every one of us who have New Zealand citizenship or refugee status – without apology!

      Force a divide, and you will get one.

      If the name as suggested in the staff report had been retained for council vote as “The Otago Settlers Museum: Toitu”, I personally would have less to complain about. Keep the keep! The idiots who switched it round should be committed to the dungeon rack. That said, there’s NO NEED AT ALL to cost in a rebrand, not at this time, not with DCC’s unprecedented levels of debt. It is unwise to spend on the ephemeral, a new name – like the other things in DCC’s annual plan and LTP that look like frills. Or has the OSA offered to pay for the full corporate rebrand !? Not likely.

      In a closed-door discussion last week, the museum board considered a report by museum communications and business team leader Rebecca Crawford that noted that “given the strength of public opinion” expressed in the poll, the name “Otago Settlers Museum” should be retained. […] “The museum would be The Otago Settlers Museum: Toitu.”

      ### ODT Online Wed, 13 Jun 2012
      Decision ‘did not ignore public poll’
      By John Gibb
      It would be “unfortunate” if some people thought the recommended new museum title “Toitu: Otago Settlers Museum” had partly bypassed the public consultation process, museum board chairwoman Dr Dorothy Page said yesterday. The museum name has been reviewed, and community views sought, as the Dunedin City Council-owned museum’s $39 million redevelopment nears completion.
      Read more

  25. Peter

    Playing devil’s advocate, I can see the following argument.
    Maori may well consider themselves tangata whenua, by virtue of being here first, and not just as early settlers. That is their view and they are entitled to it. This does not mean, however, that all later settlers have to accept this as an historical fait accompli, to be written in stone, and for one or two groups to be given a place at the top of the table.
    Whether we like it or not, NZ (Aotearoa for some) is now a multi cultural country- not a bicultural one. History has moved on. We have to build a nation, based on various ethnicities, but not divided by ethnicities where Anglo Saxons and Maori take a role as premier cultures. (Look at the Balkans, as one example, to see the disaster this can cause to a society.)
    This naming issue at the Otago Settlers Museum seems to me to be digging itself into some ideologically divisive hole where, ironically, the museum is there to presumably honour all settlers from throughout the world who have come to Dunedin/Otago.

  26. Hype O'Thermia

    It’s the “some people are more equal than others” aspect that gets on my wick. Consultation over and above that enjoyed (!) by other NZers, special exemption from criticism being demanded and if not given it’s racism (remember the black willie sculpture that only made any kind of a point if you read the explanation – not the only baffled by bullshit art decision made by the DCC but others didn’t get the advantage of special pleading) an accusation at least as often made by super-sensitive liberal guiltists as by Maori.

  27. Anonymous

    Elizabeth’s comment on ODT Online needs to be investigated further. It is all good and well to change a name (or push through as in this case) but the cost of doing so needs to be factored in. And it hasn’t been thus far. Nor has it been questioned by the ODT.

    The name changes will involve plenty of stakeholders and there will be lots and lots of happy hours charged back to the museum and onto the ratepayer. Just changing the website and email will cost hundreds or thousands. The paper will be recycled (dumped on a shelf somewhere) and all new media printed. Thousands of dollars. The signage… on and on and on and thank you, thank you, thank you will the many little stakeholders sing.

    But it’s not a private cost, is it? It’s a public cost and we all know who will pay for this. And we all know why it receives little or no investigative interest from our delightful media: One big stakeholder and a little one wanting to get into its pants. Both with mouths wide open and sleepy eyes.

    This council seems to have a thing for the frilly bits. It is presently replacing foothpath stepping at corners around central Dunedin. They are replacing prefabricated sections with individual raised bumps. Instead of slotting a few blocks into the asphalt, someone needs to individually glue in a whole heap of little white spikes.

    It looks pretty but it is labour intensive and that cost is billed to the ratepayer. Nothing like clipping the ticket when the public is paying!

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    Anonymous and Elizabeth, don’t expect any investigation of the costs of re-naming the museum. One may speculate on where the desire to do so came from in the first place, but that’s no longer worth the effort of thinking. Seeking and with fulsome gratitude accepting the “gift” of a Maori word of many meanings, relevant only with a hefty push’n’shove and a bit of panel-beating to the Otago Settlers Museum, obligates critics of the process, the unnecessary expense or the inaptness to hush and stay hushed, or face a self-righteous outburst of “Racist!” accusations.

    • Elizabeth

      Hype O’Thermia, BRING IT ON :D

    • Elizabeth

      In the end, a flawed process and lack of public consultation draws the most ire?

      In an informal ODT online poll which closed yesterday afternoon, 76% of votes (537) were cast against the proposed new name, with 24% (173) supporting it.

      ### ODT Online Sat, 16 Jun 2012
      Bezett calls for feedback on museum name
      By John Gibb
      The Dunedin City Council should seek further community feedback before changing the Otago Settlers Museum’s name, city councillor John Bezett says. A reasonable case could be made for the present title and also for the proposed “Toitu: Otago Settlers Museum” name, which was backed by the council’s community development committee at a meeting on Monday, Cr Bezett said. But it was important to allow the public a chance to express their views given “Toitu” was not among the options put to them in a recent poll, Cr Bezett said. The council is expected to vote on the issue on June 25.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        Can’t see the sense for the $$$$…
        Submitted by KitKat on Sun, 17/06/2012 – 4:20pm.

        Yet another council project where it’s ok to keep adding more and more to the original plans and budget! Recently the OSM requested $2.16 million for fittings not covered in the original redevelopment budget and $1.25 million was granted. See this link. The OSM said the lesser amount was manageable but would cause some stress to the fundraising committee. I was surprised at how much they were out by ($2M over what was meant to be a total cost of $7M).
        Read full comment at ODT Online

  29. Hype O'Thermia

    Do Museum staff train at Theme Park Academy these days, I wonder. Take a look at Te Papa – I can see why that name caught on, it morphed so far & fast from being the “National Museum and National Art Gallery”! Can the lady in charge of the Settlers Museum be hoping for a similar change when she enthuses over the unpopular “gift” word foisted onto our museum?

    “[M]any people may be surprised at how the national museum defines itself, in its announcement about the attendance figures.
    The definition comes from Te Papa’s Chief Executive, Mike Houlihan, who says:
    “This milestone confirms Te Papa’s status as the top tourist attraction in New Zealand”
    The website sheds a bit more light on how the museum sees itself – it has many different faces. It promotes two current exhibitions. It highlights a 25-day Matariki festival with “an amazing range of performances, music and activities for children,” as well as a programme for New Zealand Music Month. But it also advertises “a world of incredible gifts” that can be bought at the museum shop. It says it’s available for conferences and functions. It publicises special deals on mid week car parking.”

    • Elizabeth

      Well, the name is was “Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa”. Been there many times for business and pleasure and I absolutely detest it as a museum. Yes, it is a theme park – a very limited and boring one. Curatorial and exhibition standards particularly low (nature of the beast). The shop is steadily getting worse in terms of quality and style of merchandising. Lucky only because it’s sited on a busy waterfront and easily accessible.

    • Elizabeth

      Good bunch of letters in ODT today (page 12) about Otago Settlers Museum.

      Sure enough the Top Spook in charge of DCC’s new communications and marketing unit (flushed out at last) responded to a letter about renaming the museum and the competition held, written by Warren Jordan, Dunedin.

      I reckon Rosemary McQueen’s letter is one of the smartest I’ve read in speaking against the name change.

      Rosemary says: ‘”Otago” identifies the first province of New Zealand to have a Maori name and it’s a name that honours the area’s earliest settlers, using, as it does, one of the oldest transcriptions of the local pronunciation.’ She goes on to discuss “Settlers” and “Museum”. It’s worth reading the full letter.

  30. Hype O'Thermia

    Rosemary, Elizabeth’s right, so how’d you like to post the whole thing here for future reference, eh? It’s worth reading.

  31. Anonymous

    Sounds like someone has been listening to the best interests of Stakeholders:

    “In this city’s history, we [the council] have allowed a few small-minded conservative individuals to influence us in our decision-making. That should not continue.” – Deputy Mayor Cr Chris Staynes.

    This corrupt council continues to surprise.

    • Elizabeth

      All this means is current councillors, all of whom didn’t get my vote last time, won’t get my vote in 2013. No surprises is my policy – obviously, it isn’t theirs.

  32. Peter

    It is wrong to slur all those who have criticised this rename decision. Much of the criticism has come from people whom you would not normally call ‘small minded and conservative’. These people have argued their case from a legitimate point of view that takes into account biculturalism/multiculturalism views. They have also criticised the flawed consultation process by using an unscientific, self selecting, online poll and the inclusion, at the last minute,of a new option by committee. This is what people object to.
    Unfortunately, this exercise has been done in a divisive, manipulative way and slurring a wide range of people only adds fuel to the fire. What a mess the council has got itself into on this issue.

  33. Hype O'Thermia

    I don’t like the sudden extra-democracy awarded to Maori by Cull. Many years ago I had a bit to do with my cousin’s work colleague, a high-energy successful Maori woman, who had a scornful attitude to the North Island Maori because they were “lazy, got too used to leaning on everyone else and not helping themselves” according to her. “We’re different, we’re hard workers,” she said. If she’s still around she’ll be insulted to see the same “special needs” treatment given to South Island Maori, as if they had become limpdicks with developed chronic social dependency in the last 25 years. Kathy’s approach if she thought Maori weren’t getting enough of a say in local government would have been to go to them and tell them firmly to get off their bums.

    My fear is that by treating people as “special needs” we create special needs people. That’s OK where – and here’s a different current political issue, permanently damaged accident victims – they really HAVE special needs that prevent their participation in the average opportunities for employment and democratic expression.

    The granting of “special needs” status to people on hereditary grounds (race/ethnicity) is that it not only never ends, it has a tendency to get stronger with time, unlike damaged individuals whose needs end with rehabilitation, or death.

    Societies with entrenched policies of “some are more equal that others” appear to redress balance.

    In the short term.

    It’s not long though till greater and even more unfair imbalance causes greater social tension, greater inequity than existed in the beginning.

    I shudder when I see problems that appear to be ethnicity-linked addressed with special privileges. The problems whether truancy, illness, homelessness or inability to access community resources through not knowing how the system works, should be 100% colour (ethnicity) blind. Stats are a blunt instrument, the highly successful members of a group (refugees, Maori, deaf, blind and sign impaired) are ignored in the bureaucratic creation of special-needs categories based on numbers not individuals. But each illiterate person is irrespective of background disadvantaged in today’s world, and in my opinion the stress should be equally colour-blind. Teaching and mentoring techniques aren’t one-size-fits-all, not even within all-Pakeha classrooms of same-age kids, let alone when bringing people of varied backgrounds and ages up to speed to the best of their own potentials.

    Not easy but at least it’s fair and doesn’t entrench class privilege conferred at birth, by birth.

  34. It is a long-established principle of meeting procedure that a chairman’s casting (i.e. second) vote should be to preserve the status-quo. This is so that change is not made without majority support. That Mayor Cull has breached this principle, and the devious way in which “Toitu” was not included in the popular vote, leaves a sour taste.

  35. Hype O'Thermia

    The whole “Toitu” business looked to me from the beginning to have been a “gift” jacked up between Mayor Cull and local iwi top brass. From where, and why, did this special-needs / special-privileges attitude to local Maori come? They had always appeared to be a bunch of strong blokes and blokesses to whom the offer of special privileges based on some racist-view* inability to participate as equals, would have been seen by them – every bit as much as the reddest necked pakeha – as ludicrous. Not to mention insulting.
    *Racism isn’t just about seeing people as inferior, it includes seeing them as solid groups disadvantaged by race-genes, not by the random process that makes any individuals among us better or worse than the next bloke/blokess at running, singing, understanding how complicated machines works, and getting high scores in IQ tests.

  36. Peter

    I sometimes wonder if many well- meaning Pakehas still subscribe to the view that Maori are Billy T James caricatures- ‘happy- go- lucky,irresponsible, guitar playing Horis that do the odd spot of crime’-and all they need is White Mans’ ‘grace’, to uplift their self esteem, by bestowing token gestures. This is what I find racist. Maori are stronger, more assured people than that. To lumber people, who just don’t agree with the naming process for the OSM, as ‘racist’, is offensive.
    It is interesting that some councillors agreed to the name change because it is a ‘new museum’ ,it is a short, pithy name, and sounds good. They see it as a brand marketing exercise. Like having a spring clean. If names are to mean anything, these reasons for change sound pretty light.

  37. Alistair – the principle that the casting vote should uphold the status quo appears to mostly apply to neutral chairs (see e.g. Speaker Denison’s Rule). In contrast, where the chair holds that position in a mandated political capacity, this principle does not seem to apply. After all, a Mayor is not elected by the councillors as chair, but by a majority of the voters. (Although the US Vice-President only gets a casting vote and no ordinary vote, this would be along the same lines.)

    Interestingly, under the last Labour government, Mayors lost their casting votes for several years before they were eventually reinstated. However, there are numerous examples, pre and post this change, of Mayors supporting their political beliefs rather than supporting the status quo.

  38. Hype O'Thermia

    Mayor Cull has made a point of regularly liaising with local Maori over and above such consultation with any other specific group. Perhaps, ignoring evidence of their successful non-victim participation in society, he has for political/PC reasons embraced the “poor souls” view that all Maori, including the locals, need special hand-holding due to inability to take part as equals in society.
    If he fosters an enduring mindset that results in grabbing special privilege with both hands and insisting on being “more equal than others” in perpetuity I for one won’t be pleased.
    Being only human I’m not sure I wouldn’t do the same, handed the opportunity on a plate. Once I’d got used to having a double helping of democracy would I give it up readily? Ummmmmmmm…….

  39. Hype O'Thermia

    With the present voting system a candidate can get more votes than any-ONE else but still fewer than were cast for other candidates altogether. I can’t remember the numbers from last council election. Was Dave Cull elected by the majority of voters?

  40. With the exception of run off voting, that would apply to all voting systems (in fact, under FPP, it would be quite plausible to get elected with backing of only 1/3 of voters – eg the Banks/Fletcher/Hubbard election in Auckland in 2004). Cull received about 49% of the vote. (However, even in run-off voting system 40-45% is usually considered to be a majority, not 50%).

  41. Anonymous

    Still fascinated by the large Toitu opening soon banner hung above George Street which points to, a domain which is still parked. Did they run out of money? The public was paying so surely not. I know it’s a little thing but it’s funny they went ahead without checking the site was available and it has been up there for two weeks now.

  42. Anonymous

    The DCC has registered the domain Yes, it’s still parked, but a redirect takes an hour to do, tops.

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