Heritage Rescue – Dargaville

I provided the exhibition and design expertise for 3 series /24 episodes. Each episode required major renovation of a small rural Museum or site within a restricted timeframe and budget. Local community members and some of the production team helped pitch in to get to the finish line.

So many different stories, challenges and good times with each unique and fabulous part of New Zealand’s extraordinary landscape and people. I really was able to hone my skills with this series as each project always required a specific and distinctive response on the turn of a dime.


The Heritage Rescue series requires some impact to be made in the 5 day shoot limit – Subsequently I chose not to deal with the museum proper –and the multiple storylines and design styles of the current museum displays were simply too much to tackle. I decided to concentrate on the museum entry and reception area as these areas were immediately confusing and distracting to the visitor-multiple rooms, doorways and exits made it unclear for the visitor to navigate their way through into the museum.

I chose a reduced colour pallet in combination with the surrounding rich kauri joinery created a serene, calm and tranquil entry foyer for the visitor as they enter and leave the very busy museum display areas. Adjoining comfortable seating beside the reception reinforced this aim

Additionally an adjacent and well-defined retail area using a slight colour change on walls and display furniture created a contemporary design approach to the reception area I utilised simple panel interpretation and object placement to ease the visitor through to the entry into the museum as well as introduce the main themes and key stories within the museum displays such as maritime, forestry and the gum digging trade.

I created a rich focal point and impact at the end wall of the museum reception by using a striking blue tableau to draw the visitor through into the museum reception area and through into the museum. The colour blue reflected the major maritime narrative and provided a dynamic backdrop for 2 key collection items-model ship and waka (representing both Maori and Pakeha inhabitants).