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Cultural heart depends on helpers

Christine 27 July 2019

Volunteers are at the heart of most not-for-profit community organisations. They often outnumber paid staff and for many organisations it would be impossible to operate without them. At MTG we’re very fortunate to have a dedicated team of volunteers who help in numerous ways across the institution.

For some volunteers that is in the museum public spaces - greeting customers, answering their queries, adding additional detail about exhibitions and helping ensure they have a great visitor experience. Others prefer to work out of the public eye, helping with a range of activities from making covers for objects to protect them from dust and light, assisting with exhibition design mock-ups, adding object information to the database, scanning images, transcribing documents and so on.

Volunteers give up their personal time to give back and support organisations such as ours - institutions who undertake important work and add value to the community.

While motivations may vary – the fact that people chose to give their time to the museum shows the value they place on what arts and culture, and specifically MTG Hawke’s Bay, does for the community. Volunteers also provide a level of support and encouragement to staff – when the going gets tough, it’s a reminder that what we do matters and people value the museum.

One such person was Christine Packer who sadly passed away unexpectedly this month. Christine had been a volunteer at the museum since 1994, was a long-time volunteer at the Art Deco Trust and also read with children at St Patrick’s school. Christine was full of energy, warmth, knowledge and enthusiasm and absolutely unfailing in her support and positivity. Always quick with a smile, a piece of advice, some knowledge to share, along with enjoying a laugh – Christine was a regular feature at the museum.

We are all very grateful for the time Christine shared with us and we, along with the many museum visitors who had the fortune to meet Christine, are all the richer for knowing her.

We’d love to have more volunteers, specifically we’re hoping to find a person who would like to help us coordinate, recruit and train volunteers and keep up good lines of communication. The generosity of spirit shown by those who so freely give of themselves, their skills and experiences is not something we take for granted. I consider volunteers to be a key indicator of the health of an organisation and we want to ensure they are feeling valued and supported.


  • IN focus – Vincent van Gogh. Panel discussion with international, national and local legends discussing Vincent’s life, work and the myths that surround him. MTG Century Theatre, today 27 July, 4-5:30pm. Tickets available through Ticketek.
  • Vincent. Experience Leonard Nimoy’s celebrated play, based on hundreds of letters between Vincent and his brother Theo.  MTG Century Theatre, today 27 July, 7:30-9:15pm. Tickets available through Ticketek.
  • Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards. Showcasing local talent, and celebrating excellence. MTG Century Theatre, Monday 29 July at 6pm. Tickets available through
  • One Heart will be here at MTG until 2 August 2019. Come along, make a flower and contribute to the creation of this colourful, community-focused floral installation.
  • Death and the Maiden. Written by Ariel Dorfman and Directed by David Coddington, this winner of the Laurence Olivier Award, is a play not to be missed. MTG Century Theatre, Friday 2–Sunday 4 August. Tickets available through Ticketek.
  • The Architectural Legacy of J.A Louis Hay Exhibition. This exhibition will be closing on Sunday 4 August. Come in and view it before it’s gone. Free entry, all welcome.

Image: Christine Packer, who sadly died this month, had been a volunteer at MTG since 1994.

28 July 2019

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