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'New Zealand's first Covid-19 exhibition now live at MOTAT'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand’s first Covid-19 exhibition is now open at the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). Ingenuity during Noho Rāhui/Lockdown celebrates Kiwi innovation with objects from Hills Hats and ShieldsUp.

Both organisations pursued creative solutions to meet the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on the eve of the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020. The exhibition is on display in MOTAT’s new exhibition space ‘Parapara Ingenious: Innovation in Aotearoa’, designed to celebrate Kiwi ingenuity and innovation.

ShieldsUp rallied a community of volunteers with 3D printers all over New Zealand to print and deliver 18,000 face shields to vulnerable frontline workers in just over seven weeks. ShieldsUp’s Tim Carr explains that the innovation was inspired by the aroha felt towards frontline workers.

"With the resources, and our community behind us, we found a way to provide protective equipment to those who needed it. It was our way of showing the frontline that we had their backs".

Transforming their business almost overnight, 145-year-old millinery company Hills Hats diversified from making bespoke headwear to producing stylish and practical face masks for anyone who needed one. Using what they had on hand, Hills Hats styled their first mask prototype using a paperclip and a non-woven hat filter.

"Both stories capture the collective kindness, collaboration and innovative spirit shown by so many Kiwis during lockdown," says Exhibitions Curator Rachel Bush.

MOTAT have recently made a second call out to the public for inventions and innovations designed, made, or dreamt up during the pandemic for their growing Covid-19 collection. The Museum is specifically seeking objects, big or small, which showcase technological, scientific, or transport related significance.

MOTAT Curatorial Research Manager Belinda Nevin elaborates, "We are accepting items from all aspects of New Zealand society - from businesses, school and community groups to individual innovators, we want to see items which embody good ol’ Kiwi DIY at its best."

Examples of recent donations to the museum include the PEAR-1 Ventilator Prototype created by students of St John’s College in Hastings, and ‘Suzy’ the unusual 3D printed ventilator hood designed by Dunedin based SouthMed.

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