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Record-breaking visitor numbers at Akaroa Museum

13 March 2019

This summer season has been a record-breaker for Akaroa Museum. Visitor numbers for the months of October to February have surpassed last year’s by up to 60%. Just on 7,000 visitors passed through the doors of the Museum in January, and 5,750 in February. Akaroa Museum is one of the main land-based visitor attractions in Akaroa and one of the few wet-weather venues.

Although certainly boosted by the passengers off the cruise ships, which are arriving in Akaroa Harbour in increasing numbers, there has been a growth in other visitor markets as well. By year end, 40,000 visitors to Akaroa will have passed through the Museum’s door.

Visitors to Akaroa Museum have been entranced by the current exhibition of photographs, taken by Donald McKay in the 1950s. Titled A Photographers Eye – Donald McKay’s 1950s, the exhibition includes 24 evocative black and white images of life on Banks Peninsula in the 1950s.

People who grew up on the Peninsula but have now moved away are especially moved by the photographs which document a past way of life, now just on the edges of living memory. One visitor, who was brought up in Le Bons Bay, said “The exhibition was very emotional for me, seeing the very essence of people that I adored, distilled into a single image. Don clearly is a master at telling a story with a photograph.”

The images chosen by curator Dan Smith to represent Don’s work from the 1950s include weddings, social events, farm life and family groups. Dan says the collection of 40,000 negatives is “an extremely rich historical record” and that “Don’s photographs will become what we think of when we look back at Banks Peninsula in that period. We will see the past through his photographic eye.”

The exhibition runs until after Easter 2019 – it’s worth a trip to Akaroa to see!