Looking Back, Moving Forward event a big success!

Looking Back, Moving Forward event a big success!

“A marvellous exhibition.  Thank you.  Well done all.”
“A great social event.  Need more of these.  Bravo!
What an amazing afternoon tea you put on. Beautifully set up too.
“An absolute credit to those who put the exhibition together.  Lots of memories.”
“A fascinating exhibition – especially to us relative “newbies” to the Bay.  Thank you.”
“To all those involved in the Looking Back Moving forward Exhibition – a great show – congratulations – a massive amount of work. you must be happy and proud of its success.”

… These are just a few of the lovely comments we have received about the Looking Back, Moving Forward event.

The opening at the Broad Bay Community Centre on the evening of Friday 20th October was attended by approximately 75 people.  Kaumātua, Edward Ellison, and historian, Jim Sullivan spoke at the event and the Broad Bay Choir gave their first public performance  The exhibition was open for 10 days.  There was another evening of talks on Wednesday 25th October.  Neville Peat and Alan Roddick spoke.  It was attended by about 85 people.

Event organiser, Tessa Mills, welcoming the audience to an evening of talks.

Vintage Afternoon Teas were served both weekends of the event from 2.30 to 3.30pm and were attended by about 120 people.  Volunteers baked scones and cakes and tea was served in elegant vintage tea services loaned for the event by Jan McLean.

Christine Obbeek ready to serve Vintage Afternoon Teas at the Exhibition

The event at the Broad Bay Community Centre as a whole was visited by approximately 900 people.  There are about 400 signatures in the Visitor’s Book, but many of the people who made repeat visits did not sign in again, and people who attended the two evening events or came for afternoon teas did not sign in, nor the Broad Bay school pupils who visited just before the exhibition was taken down.  At least 50% of the visitors were from Broad Bay, but many were from other Peninsula and Dunedin suburbs and a number came from much further afield – Stewart Island, Bluff, Wanaka, Waimate, Timaru, Christchurch, Blenheim, Picton, Nelson, Masterton, Palmeston North, and even two visitors from the USA and China.

A busy afternoon at the exhibition.

Over the ten days of the exhibition the reception desk was staffed by a team of 30 volunteers.  A selection of books, calendars, prints and other items from the Peninsula Museum, Broad Bay Boat Club, Vintage Books and Broad Bay Community Centre (including the Broad Bay Reflections book that was compiled just for this event) were on sale.

Copies of the Broad Bay Reflections Book can be purchased at the Portobello Store and the Broad Bay Community Centre.

Fletcher House offered free entry both weekends to people who had visited the exhibition.  They report that they were extremely busy – too busy to record numbers – but  they did say how successful it was. Lots of questions and interested people, many locals having never thought to come in before.  And they said it was great to have had contact with several descendants of note: Bacon, Patterson, Arnott, Burke and others.

The Polish Church was open to the public both Sundays.  An estimated 100 people visited the church.

Broad Bay School had an open afternoon on Friday 27th October and the children performed their PolyFest items and acted as guides to show visitors around the school.  The afternoon ended with a sausage sizzle and delicious cheese rolls.

The Gala Day held on Sunday 22nd October was very well attended with an estimated 1,000 visitors.  It was open from 11am to 3pm with non-stop entertainment including musicians,  singers, dancers, kapa haka, professional face painters, stilt walkers, balloon twisters, spin art, magician and much more (all free for children).  An excellent job of organisation by Amber Sharma supported by a big team of volunteers and mainly funded through raffles and donations.  The Broad Bay Boat Club held a mini-regatta and had a sausage sizzle to raise money towards the new boat club build.  The Elsie Evans was moored at the wharf for people to look around.

“Images of the Past” parading at the Gala Day on 22nd October 2023.
Music and entertainment for all at the Gala Day.
Choir!Choir! performing at the Gala Day.
Their first public performance was at the opening of the Exhibition two days earlier.

Feedback on both parts of the event has been excellent, with some people saying it was even better than the 150th celebrations held in 1998 – praise indeed!

Participation by people in the local and wider community has been outstanding, and willingness to help out and donate time, expertise and goods.  We have had financial support from the Dunedin City Council, displays have been loaned by the Peninsula Museum and by several local groups and individuals, exhibition banners were loaned by Adams Flags, coffee and afternoon tea ingredients donated from several suppliers, and not forgetting the Elsie Evans which was made available on the Gala Day at Broad Bay wharf for people to look around.

The event was promoted by a variety of means: posters, corflutes, fliers, newspaper ads, photos and articles, radio interviews, what’s on pages, Eventfinda, libraries, local websites, social media, local newsletters, Facebook groups, school newsletters and email.  Looking Back, Moving Forward events also featured in the Ōtepoti Dunedin Heritage Festival brochure and website.

Discussion about a possible exhibition started well over a year ago, and the first formal meeting took place on 3rd January 2023, attended by the initiators – Tessa Mills, Brian Nicholls, Herman and Susan van Velthoven.

Since then we estimate that 2,500 volunteer hours have been put into the Exhibition and Gala planning and execution. That is a lot!


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