Buller District Council

Blacks Point Museum receives Te Papa funding

3rd December, 2021

Blacks Point Museum secured $25,000 of funding from the National Services Te Paerangi (Te Papa) museum hardship fund.

The funding enables the Blacks Point Museum Trust to employ a part time curator and a part time stamper battery operator for one year and develop a new e-commerce capable website.

The museum fell into financial difficulties when COVID-19 hit causing a significant decrease in visitor numbers last year. For the first time the museum ran a loss in the financial year 2020/21.

Buller District Council’s socio-economic development officer in Reefton Rachel Fifield says the museum was in financial difficulty.

“The museum’s collections are important history for Inangahua and for Aotearoa/New Zealand. The amazing collections tell the story of discovery of the first gold-bearing quartz reefs near Reefton in 1870 and the years that followed’.

Ms Fifield worked with the museum’s secretary Pat Russel to submit a funding application to Te Papa so that the public will still have access to historical items showing the eight decades of industry progression, technology and innovation, community life, woman’s suffrage movement, and the development of the hydroelectric plant which brought the first public electricity supply to Reefton in 1888.

The museum’s difficult situation was exaggerated through the loss of two key volunteers who were operating the museums stamper battery and who did a lot of maintenance work.

The funding ensures the ongoing operation of the museum as well as injects the necessary investment to revitalising the museum.

Ms Fifield says the funding enables the trust to let the museum’s amazing collection shine, make it more accessible to more people, and create new income sources to reduce the need for outside funding.

“Looking back COVID-19 had a big impact on the museum, but it forced the trust to re-evaluate how the museum can stay viable.”

A spokesperson for OceanaGold says: “Ms Fifield’s work as Reefton socio-economic development officer in helping to secure this funding from Te Papa for Black’s Point Museum is exactly what OceanaGold had envisaged when the company provided funding as part of the Globe Progress rehabilitation and closure programme.

We are really pleased to see the ongoing practical outcome of this position and look forward to what can be achieved during the third and final year of our involvement.”


The Blacks Point Museum was founded in the 1960s by Blacks Point residents to preserve the history of the Inangahua area. The Blacks Point Museum Trust is running the museum with one full time curator and the support of volunteers.

The museum houses a historical collection of memorabilia, artefacts, and machinery celebrating the past 150 years history of the Inangahua area.

One of the only two working water driven stamper batteries in the southern hemisphere is part of the collection. The reconstructed fully operational quartz-gold battery allows visitors to fully experience the original extraction process of gold from quartz in 1870.

OceanaGold partnered with the Buller District Council and Reefton Visitors’ Centre, committing $250,000 to support Reefton after operation of the Globe Progress Mine stopped in 2016.

The socio-economic development officer (SEDO) position is funded by OceanaGold for three years, to work with the community to develop, secure funding, and establish projects to stimulate socio economic development in Reefton.

The National Services Te Paerangi (Te Papa)’ s museum hardship fund is a contestable grant fund to address the impact of forced closures and reductions in visitor numbers for museum, galleries, and iwi organisation as a result of COVID-19.


For more information please contact:
Rachel Fifield
Reefton socio-economic development officer

Photo: Blacks Point Trust committee gathered outside the Golden Fleece Battery at the Blacks Point Museum being congratulated by BDC Socio economic development officer Rachel Fifield. From left; Trish Saunders, Peter Lawn, Russell Lye, Helen Bollinger, Pat Russell (secretary), Bill Watts (seated), Rachel Fifield (SEDO), Allie Caddie (chairperson), Dave Russell, Steffan McKay and Nigel McKay.



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