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Sustainability and guardianship (Kaitiakitanga) - our guiding principles

Our organisational philosophy is based on the principles of

  • kaitiakitanga (guardianship),
  • manaakitanga (hospitality) and
  • whaanaungatanga (kinship/community). 

Together these principles underpin our values and guide our decisions in areas of social, cultural, economic and environmental sustainability. 

We draw on four pillars of expertise – Art, History, Science and Tangata Whenua – in developing our exhibitions and events, and the messages we shape for our community. 

Social and cultural sustainability

We are guardians of a collection of more than 30,000 taonga, historical objects and artworks, including the Tainui waka Te Winika, symbol of the Kiingitanga (Maaori King movement).  We exhibit these taonga to share visual, tactile and auditory stories that keep our cultural heritage vibrant and alive.

In doing so, Waikato Museum accepts the Treaty of Waitangi as a founding document of our nation and acknowledges the unique position of Maaori in Aotearoa. We are committed to increasing the understanding and awareness of the Treaty and we seek to work in partnership with Tangata Whenua (the people of the land), principally Waikato-Tainui, to provide responsible guardianship, kaitiakitanga, for our collection.

Alongside our exhibitions we run a programme of free public events, supported by our expertise in Art, History, Science and Tangata Whenua, as well as an education programme to support local school curricula and to pass on knowledge to the next generation.

We maintain Hamilton’s public art installations to preserve our heritage as part of the everyday life of the city, and we run walking tours to showcase significant historic sites and the personalities and events that have shaped our city.

Environmental and economic sustainability

The principle of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) extends to the environment we live in and the resources we use.

Drawing on our four pillars of expertise, many of our exhibitions and events are concerned with how we have shaped our environment. We support Conservation Week every year with planned activities, and our Bat Tours – undertaken in Autumn and Spring to build awareness about local populations of endangered Long Tail Bats - have become very popular.

We have invested in environmental initiatives such as a major LED lighting retrofit and air-conditioning upgrades which together have reduced our energy consumption by 12.1% in the past financial year alone. We use eco-friendly cleaning products in the Museum, and we engage in recycling as much of the resources we use as possible, including glass, paper/cardboard, and plastics.

In all our activities we are conscious of our responsibility to the ratepayers of Hamilton to run an economically sustainable operation.


Image: Ripples Neil Dawson