Farewell and thanks to Pat and Rodger

The voluntary hours put into the museum by Dr. Patrick Day and Rodger Gallagher would certainly exceed the number of concrete blocks used in the construction of Raglan’s beautiful, custom-built museum. And both these men were instrumental in securing this wonderful facility for our community. 

After nearly 20 years of hard work, both Pat and Rodger have finally hung up their museum hats, and have stood down from the Committee. Their knowledge and interest will be sorely missed. 

Their departure has given us an opportunity to speak to Pat and Rodger and hear of the numerous projects they have been involved in during their time at the museum. 

The first Raglan Museum Society was established in 1966. The original museum committee were Raglan community leaders, keen to see the history of the town and area kept alive for future generations. 

Initially the museum was housed in the Town hall and then the old fire station building in Wainui Road. It was in the early 2000s that Pat and Rodger attended meetings, and it was not long before Pat found himself being elected as Vice President, then President and Chairman of the Building Committee! 

The museum collections had increased and could no longer be suitably housed in the space available. 

Although funding was available through Lottery Grants and other big funding organizations, much work was needed before applications could be made. A Collections Policy had to be developed and a full record of items made. Both Pat and Rodger worked hard at these tasks, and after the Policy was evaluated by historian, Lyn Williams, they proceeded with applications. 

Neither of these men was retired at this time. Rodger ran his own international consulting business from Raglan and Pat was a lecturer at the University of Waikato and writing books on New Zealand media history, so their commitment to their museum work was even more commendable.  

Rodger was very much the man in charge of getting the funding for the new museum, while his wife Virginia was in charge of the money, moving the accounting onto a computer accounting package. Rodger was also fully invested in the artefacts and collections side of things. In the early days he started examining the artefacts already held by the museum, considering what could be improved-and then he started improving them!  

He and Pat identified the exhibitions that were most important for the area-pioneer Settler history, stories of Wi Neera and Maori history, the World Wars, collection and protection of local adzes-and of course, they acknowledged the significance of surfing for Raglan. 

Pat had lived in the area since the 70s and was a surfer. He was also the first windsurfer in Raglan. So it was no surprise that his passion led to him curating the surfing exhibition, with Gregor Divett. 

Good relationships were established with local Ngati Mahaanga iwi representatives. Pat said: “We were keen to show them what we were doing and to seek their support”.  

One of the kaumatua, Wally Crawford, worked with Rodger on an exhibition of old Raglan photographs, displayed at the Old School Arts Centre. This same exhibition was used at the opening of the new museum building in 2011. 

One of the achievements of which both Pat and Rodger are very proud, is the acquisition of the Bird collection of numerous Maori artefacts, from the old homestead at Te Akau. The Bird family and local residents of the area had collected and stored these over many years. This was recognized as a “significant world class collection” which had fallen into a poor state of repair, and Pat and Rodger were united in their intentions to protect it for posterity. Pat worked closely with kaumatua, Russell Riki, who spoke with local iwi on both sides of the harbor.  The collection was finally brought across to be exhibited in the museum. This was no simple process and once again Rodger’s project management and funding skills came into play, as money was required, and was secured, for the repair of artefacts and the design of what is now an exhibition of world-class standard, which opened on 17.10 2015.  

Pat and Rodger both recognized the importance of bringing the museum into the 21st century and identified the Past Perfect software package as appropriate for storing information about the museum’s artefacts and collections. Pat supported a part-time employee to attend training sessions so as to be able to enter this information.  

Rodger’s interest in all things digital led him to develop 3 digital touch screens for visitors to access: Town and Around, Surfing and World War 1. He also developed and maintained the museum website.  

And now we return to that beautiful building. After all the fundraising, negotiations with the Council (which led to their contributions and agreement to maintain the building) plus a final donation from a mystery donor (later identified as Eileen Beach Kelly), not to mention input from committee members and interested community members, the new museum was opened in 2011.  

A long battle, hard-fought, and one that would not have happened without the input from these two men. So now we leave them to enjoy their interests and involvement in other areas of the community. Pat keeps busy with violin playing, art, tai chi and golf-to mention a few. And Rodger continues to put a huge amount of work into his role as Chairperson of Community Arts Council, updating his Raglan 23 website, genealogy and running the cinema at the Old School.  

We are grateful for their work and enthusiasm and wish them well into the future.

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