Award-winning exhibition creators visited Tauranga on International Museum Day to inspire a crowdful of wistful museum supporters.

Tauranga has been wrestling with the idea of a museum and two of the creative heads behind Te Papa's Gallipoli exhibition spoke about how to make a great museum.

Ben Barraud, the creative lead on Te Papa's Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War, told the story of how the team created the most successful exhibition in the museum's history and attracted 1.4 million visitors.

With hardly any objects or artefacts the team used film techniques and museum knowledge to "breath life" into the exhibition.


He drove home to the crowd gathered that the exhibition was successful because it was story-based.

"When you feel obliged to try to tell every story it results in a diluted experience and just skims the surface."

The exhibition chose to cover eight people involved in the Gallipoli campaign - soldiers and a nurse.

They used pictograms, interactives, text, small models, large paintings, music, sound effects and huge larger-than-life models of the characters in the effort to create an "immersive experience".

Mr Barraud said it was important to transport the visitor out of their daily life.

Emily Loughnan, co-founder of Click Suite, said technology could be used to bring history to life.

Ms Loughnan was behind interactive aspects of the Te Papa exhibition and the projection technology that made a 136-year-old whare in Whakatane become the number one visitor attraction.

The size or budget of a museum was no matter, she said, technology could help tell stories from a region or city.


"We want visitors to engage and get them feeling and thinking and leave moved [from an exhibition]."

With 30,000 artefacts in storage and plenty of stories to tell, the Tauranga Moana Museum Trust was itching to put ideas into action - but the go-ahead was still yet to be given by residents and city council.

Member of the museum trust Cate Hvlac Williams said the trust was continuing its work on getting the stories of Tauranga's history to the public.

In September or October she hoped a 'history hub' would be up and running, giving people a taste of what a museum could bring to the city.

The hub would be a container located in the city centre.

However, the idea was in concept stage with budget issues to iron out.

A museum in Tauranga?

The council is developing a detailed business case for a modern, purpose-built museum in the city centre.

The council is looking for feedback on what people would like to see and experience at a museum in Tauranga.

The business case costs $300,000 and will contain all the information needed for the council to decide whether or not we should invest in a museum. Two sites are under consideration in the city centre; 91 Willow St and Cliff Rd. Options for a shared museum and library space will also be considered.