Whalery completed– Our new “front door”!

Our Code of Compliance certificate was granted on Friday 17 December–just in time for the 374th anniversary of “First Meeting Day) in 1642, when Abel Tasman sailed into Golden Bay/Mohua. As well as helping mark that event, Netherlands Ambassador Rob Zaagman and his wife Monique were the first members of the public to enter by the new door.  (The official opening of the Whalery will be held when the whale skeleton is installed.)

Here’s how it looks — as if it’s always been there!  We are very grateful to Pub Charity for donating funds to upgrade the glass to museum-standard UV-resistant.

Update: (Tasman Leader) Whalery Construction hits the headlines …

Tasman Leader05--01-09-16

Update: Bones out of the bath!

Alan and jawbone--small

Whale-Man Alan McLean at the Easter Rockville Museum SteamUp — he’s holding one of the jawbones, showing that it’s fragile and hollow. The bones are now out of the soaking water and drying out before careful removal of hard waxes.  The finished skeleton seems much closer, but we still need to build the whalery!

T-SHIRTS (available from the Whale-Man, Alan McLean)

Alan has these top-quality fine cotton T-shirts available for $30. Contact Alan direct by phone/txt — 027-455-2228 — or by email:

T-Shirt 1--front

T-Shirt 2--back













Artist's impression of the Whalery by Kathy Reilly

Artist’s impression of the Whalery by Kathy Reilly

Kathy Reilly’s drawing–from the final plans

We’re extremely grateful to Kathy Reilly for preparing this new impression of the how the Whalery will look.

Our initial vision, discussed with original architect James Beard, was for a spectacular “glass box”. The final result will be more utilitarian, partly for heat considerations, and partly to provide walls to display information.  It’s going to create a remarkably different presence on Commercial Street, and will also provide improved access and climate control for the existing exhibition area.

SteamUp Brings Interested Visitors

The whale preparation container at Rockville Museum was open to the public at the museum’s SteamUp Day on Sunday 3 January, and a steady stream of visitors came to find out more.

Whale skeleton updateHere “whale-man” Alan McLean (left) shows his first pilot-whale skeleton to Elaine Mackay of Parapara and her daughter Fiona Mackay and grandson William Hynes, to give them an idea of how complicated the reassembly of the cleaned bones is. The second skeleton (a bit larger at 4.2 metres) is still at the soaking/cleaning stage but should be ready for display next summer.

Cleaning the bones takes many months and a lot of patience.

Cleaning the bones — this takes many months and a lot of patience. It can’t be hurried.



Wonderful donation by GB Quilters

Golden Bay Quilters President Rhonda Lash (3rd from left) presents a cheque for $3,000 to Museum Services Manager Karen Johnson (far right). The proceeds of the quilters’ annual raffle were donated to the museum’s whalery project—it’s the largest single community donation so far.   Others in the photo (from left) are: Colleen Byrne, Hetty Nobel, Renee Bomer, Ann Lewis, Joan Fishley, Jenny Treloar, Gael Anderson, with museum Chair Penny Griffith also gratefully touching this wonderful donation. It was a beautiful quilt, too.

Quilters handover


Hot-off-the-Press News–6 October 2015

Pub Charity grant--6 Oct 2015--for website


bone cleaNING

By September 2014 bone cleaning for the Whalery project was underway.  Click Here to read that GB Weekly article.


GBW pic Oct 2014

In October 2014 students at Central Takaka School completed a spectacular whale sign under the guidance of parent Sheryl Flanders. Click HERE to read that GB Weekly article.

GBW pic Dec 2014

Then in December Takaka Primary School became involved. Click HERE to read that GB Weekly article.

Leader pic July 2015

Since then the Collingwood Area School has also been involved, as Helen Murdoch reported HERE in Tasman Leader in July 2015.


August 2015:
big boost