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Dutch Connection Museum Trust - Annual Report 2009

The year 2009 has seen steady progress towards the establishment of our national Dutch Museum Centre in Foxton, next to the replica 17th century Dutch windmill De Molen (a fully operational, 30 metre high flour mill).

The Trust

The Dutch Connection has had 11 monthly Trust Board meetings in 2009 and 8 Fundraising Committee meetings during the year.

The main focus of the Trust has been to:

  • enhance local partnership initiatives in Foxton
  • stimulate Dutch community support
  • develop a fundraising plan and various fundraising initiatives

We have also continued to communicate the progress of the Dutch Connection Museum Centre to the Dutch Community in New Zealand via email newsletters and Dutch publications.

We continue to receive gifts in kind from members of the public such as jewellery and ornaments that are part of a collection of Dutch National costumes and other items, and received panels telling the story of Dutch immigrants to Otago. These items will find a place in the museum to illustrate the history of Dutch Immigrants in this country.

New Initiative - Local Collaboration

The Dutch Connection has aligned itself with Horowhenua District Council and several other local parties in the Te Awahou Project Steering Group. This Group established an Electoral College which is to elect a Trust of 5-9 Members.

The Te Awahou - Nieuwe Stroom Trust will be formed in April 2010, to deliver the $12-15 million Te Awahou - Nieuwe Stroom multi-purpose facility. The various buildings that will be part of the project will be completed from 2011 onwards.

The Electoral College includes representatives of Te Taitoa o te Awahou (a collective of 9 Ngati Raukawa hapu), the Horowhenua Library Trust, the Save Our River Trust (SORT), the Foxton Community Board (including Foxton Tourism Development Association), the Flax Stripper Museum and the Dutch Connection Museum Trust.

The stakeholders have agreed on a vision and scope for the project, and have finalised a Trust Deed for Te Awahou - Nieuwe Stroom. Consultants Boffa Miskell have been instrumental in drafting the vision document and architect Pete Bossley has delivered the first designs for the project.

The multi-purpose complex will comprise of a Library and Community Centre, a Maori arts and crafts gallery, the Dutch Connection museum, and the already established Flax Stripper Museum and Whare Manaaki. The new building will also host a kiosk for SORT, a café, public meeting rooms and a small theatrette which are all joined up through a covered forecourt and reception area. Pathways through a well-designed courtyard will link the main building to the nearby Whare and Flax Strippers Museum.

Te Awahou - Nieuwe Stroom will be built next to De Molen, which attracts some 31,000 visitors per annum. The complex will partly be housed under the roof of the existing Mitre 10 building, which the Trust aims to purchase through a lease-to-buy arrangement from its owner.

Community Liaison

The Dutch Connection have organised and participated in a wide range of Dutch cultural and community events.

  • Throughout the year, presentations were made at Dutch events, including at Dodenherdenking (Remembrance Day) in Auckland and during performances of the Plankeniers theatre group, and to Dutch groups such as the New Zealand Netherlands Business Association, the AGM of the Dutch Friendly Support Network, and the AGM of the Christchurch Netherlands society.
  • Throughout the year, our representatives have travelled regularly to Foxton to participate in Project Steering Group meetings and public consultation gatherings for the Te Awahou project. One planning meeting was attended by some 50 locals. One public consultation meeting was attended by some 250 locals. Te Awahou and Horowhenua District Council organise these meetings and Mayor Brendan Duffy is closely involved
  • Throughout the year, contacts were made with artists like Anneke Borren and Ans Westra to participate in our fundraising activities
  • Throughout the year, media contacts were approached to publish stories. The major result of this was a substantial item on National Radio in January that covered the Te Awahou project.
  • In February, our representatives attended the Ratana annual celebration, together with Ngati Raukawa representatives, and undertook some lobbying with local MPs and Minister of Tourism John Key
  • At the end of April, our chairperson presented the progress of the museum plans at the Dutch Queen's Birthday celebration in Auckland, which is organized by the Dutch Consulate. Information was also made available at the Embassy and Consulate events in Wellington and Christchurch
  • In September, we rallied support for our project at the Hamilton Tulip Festival, where the chairperson also participated in a Dutch debate that was attended by some 150 enthusiastic attendees.
  • In October, our Chairperson presented at the AGM of New Zealand Netherlands Societies where our Te Awahou - Nieuwe Stroom plans were enthusiastically received. The AGM adopted a motion to support collaboration plans with a new Dutch Council that is to be established.
  • On 5 December, we participated in a big community event in Foxton, organised by the Foxton Tourism Development Association. The Dutch Sinterklaas and his Piet helpers arrived by waka and were welcomed by the Iwi with a powhiri, and was met by Hana Koko (Santa Claus). This event was well attended by many hundreds of locals and Dutch immigrants from around the region. Articles were published in the Dominion and local papers.
  • On 12 December, we hosted one of the most famous Dutch comedians and singers, Karin Bloemen at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland. This major event was attended by over 500 people and the Dutch community loved it. The Dutch Vice Consul attended and supported the initiative in an introductory speech. (The Dutch Ambassador had intended to attend both the Sinterklaas and Karin Bloemen events, but passed away in November)
  • In January 2010, we organised our annual luncheon attended by our supporters and volunteers.

Financial Summary

  • Account Balance in February 2010:                                          $28,327.24
  • Horowhenua District Council has committed Capital Funding:      $100,000.00

 Arjan van der Boon, Chairperson of the Dutch Connection Museum Trust