Using volunteers and technology to tell local stories of cultural and historic significance is a proposal put forward by one of this year’s Management Challenge teams – BlueSky of Tauranga City Council. The proposal is a fantastic example of engaging with the local community to build a sense of belonging.

The innovative proposal would see volunteers tell local stories at a living experiential ‘Reimagined Museum’, using virtual and augmented technology which could be accessed anywhere. As it stands, there is not a museum in Tauranga and opportunities to access Tauranga’s cultural and historic stories are limited.

Community interconnectedness, learning empowered communities and transitioning to low emissions living are some of the areas that the local government sector needs to consider for the future well-being of their communities. The proposal put forward by BlueSky would enable the community to connect with each other while celebrating the City’s cultural and historic stories. By using a digital medium rather than a bricks and mortar building, the ‘Reimagined Museum’ will reduce travel emissions as well as ongoing emissions from lighting and heating a building.    

“We wanted an idea that would appeal to a wide range of people in our community” said BlueSky team member Ariell King.

“We also wanted to address an issue facing our community. Funding constraints and the need to prioritise capital expenditure means that our community has not been able to access the incredible historical taonga that Council carefully looks after. We wanted to improve accessibility to this taonga and to the many stories that members of the community have.”

“There is no better way to celebrate diversity and to encourage cultural awareness than enabling the telling of our stories by our people - making our stories accessible to our community and ultimately to the world!“

This year’s Management Challenge teams were required to develop and evaluate ideas for new or improved service delivery through an innovative use of volunteering. After coming up with a suitable idea, each team was then required to consult with their council’s senior leadership team and with their community on the proposal.

At this stage the Council is not planning to adopt the idea of the Reimagined Museum. However, the team noticed that during lockdown there were a number of virtual experiences that emerged including virtual tours of museums and other places around the globe. They are hoping that this might provide the impetus for their idea to gain more traction!

We’ll be watching from the sidelines!