Rotorua's museum will soon allow weddings and private birthdays to be held in its main foyer - but they will come at a cost.
Rotorua District Councillors voted to change the museum's policy regarding private functions at a meeting of the council's economic and regulatory services committee yesterday.
Museum director Stewart Brown said that although the museum regularly hosted corporate functions there was a steady stream of inquiries for private parties and weddings.
Mr Brown said allowing private functions and weddings would open up a new revenue stream for the museum, with the foyer and mezzanine costing about $2000 a day to hire.
The new policy also contains strict guidelines for those wanting to hire the venue. Two security guards approved by the council must be hired while a museum staff member must be on site for the duration of the event. The council's approved caterers could only be used on site, while only council approved wedding or party planners could be used.
Functions would finish no later than midnight, with a final clean-up time of 1am.
The museum could host functions catering for up to 300 people.
Mr Brown said care would be taken to make sure the museum was "a completely controlled environment". Doors to the Don Stafford Wing and the northern part of the museum would remain locked.
Councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait opposed the idea, saying she was concerned about the many taonga stored at the museum, saying even "well heeled" patrons could get rowdy at times.
"There are irreplaceable treasures there that are significant to the people of Rotorua. I'm concerned about the security and safety of our beautiful museum," she said.
"I think you'll find the price would prevent the sort of people you are talking about ... we are looking at a higher class of people," Mr Brown said.
Deputy mayor Trevor Maxwell said it would be another drawcard to the most photographed building in New Zealand.