Toitu: Otago Settlers Museum

The populist on-line poll for the Settlers name was misconceived in my opinion, and people’s natural lean towards the known was predictable.

The clear Community preference for maintaining Otago Settlers Museum has been recognised by keeping it as a subscript, and the gifted name ‘Toitu’ from the Maori Community has also been recognised if the recommendation from the Community Development Committee yesterday is confirmed by Council on the 25th of June.

The views of our Maori Community were not received prior to the poll being made public.
Maori groups have since come to agreement and forwarded the Maori name Toitu to be added to the OSM or other preferred name for the Museum. 

The following quote from one of my emails to a Councillor last week gives my view.

“I am not keen on Maori names for the sake of them [which has been a fashion for some time now], but I am keen on this name sensitively gifted to us for many reasons.

‘Toitu’ means amongst other things to be preserved forever/untouched/kept pure, and its components ‘toi’ – artistic pursuit, ‘tu’ – to stand/held onto forever, could not be better for the Museum.

Unlike many Maori names it is short, memorable, resonates with marvellous meaning, and will emphasise that we have a new Museum, albeit with the Settler’s tradition and artefacts.

In my opinion ‘Toitu’ represents an important marketing opportunity as well as a signal for a new direction for the Museum, and if selected with ‘Otago Settlers Museum’ as a subscript, will soon take on the Museum’s new identity and become the Museum’s common name.” 

This amalgam of both names recognises feedback from both our on-line and our Maori Communities.
In my opinion the Maori name ‘Toitu’ is the better name: shorter, new, and resonant with appropriate meaning.

I have had disgruntled callers all morning expressing their disappointment with my support for the new name, and I am sorry to have disappointed them. However we have a new $40 million investment in the Museum [which I have consistently voted against as unaffordable] which we must now make the best of.

To leave only the old name on the new Museum would be to lose an important development opportunity.  


Related ODT articles:

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About Lee Vandervis

My name is Lee Vandervis and I was born in Balclutha 60 years ago to Dutch immigrant parents who ran a successful building contractor business. I have been passing Dad nails since I can remember and I learned to swing a hammer usefully early in life. My parents always pushed the values of thrift and a broad education. At Otago University I gained a BA in Philosophy before going to London for 5 years overseas experience, working in electronics manufacturing and rising to Production Manager of Midas Audio UK, building mixing consoles for musicians like Stevie Wonder, Supertramp and Pink Floyd. I returned to Dunedin in 1981 to have a family and set up Vandervision Lighting Audio and Video, making it Dunedin’s largest lighting hire business, and restoring heritage buildings like Dundas st Church and 401 Moray Place along the way. I sold most of my business interests when first elected to the DCC in 2004. Dunedin City Councillor profile:
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