Mina Louise McKenzie

Ngāti Raukawa, Te Āti Haunui a Pāpārangi, Rangitāne

1930 - 1997

Mina was born in Palmerston North and was educated at Wanganui Girls’ College, Otago University from 1948-50 and Massey University in 1963. In 1952 she married Barry Woods and had two children. During the 1950s she worked in the Department of Māori Affairs. In 1965 she married Bruce McKenzie and had four children. She was Curator of the Manawatu Museum in Palmerston North from 1974-78 and Museum Director from McKenzie was President of the Art Galleries and Museums Association from 1988-90 and was chair of the Cultural Conservation Advisory Council to the Minister of Internal Affairs from 1987. She was President of the New Zealand Committee of the International Council of Museums from 1982-87 and was a member of the Management Committee for the Te Māori Exhibition from She was a member of the Project Development Team to redevelop New Zealand National Museums in 1985. McKenzie was a member of the Manawatu Regional Committee of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust from 1975 and was an honorary associate Lecturer in Museum Studies at Massey University from 1990. She was an appointed member of the Manawatu-Wangaui Area Health Board from 1989-91 and was a member of other local health organisations. In much of her non-fiction writing she raised questions on the approach of New Zealand museums towards Māori taonga and issues of biculturalism.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Bruce McKenzie on 25 Feb. 1998.
  • New Zealand Who’s Who Aotearoa 1998 Edition. Auckland, N.Z.: New Zealand Who’s Who Publications, 1998. 836.


  • "It Happened To Us - It Could Happen To You." AGMANZ News: Quarterly of the Art Galleries and Museum Association of New Zealand 12.2(June 1981):22-23.
  • A detailed account of a burglary at the Manawatu Museum and measures taken to strengthen the museum’s security.
  • "Te Ao Hou O Nga Kaitiaki O Nga Taonga." AGMANZ Journal 15.4 (1984): 28-29.
  • In this paper McKenzie writes that ‘one of the important questions facing the museum profession is the re-evaluation of our responsibilities to the collections of Māori objects; to their care and preservation; to the interpretation of Māori culture; and, most importantly, to the Māori people of ancient Aotearoa and contemporary New Zealanders themselves.’ McKenzie also discusses issues raised by the success of the Te Māori exhibition.
  • "Editorial." AGMANZ Journal 17.3 (Spring 1986): 8.
  • McKenzie briefly reflects on the impact of Te Māori and how this will effect its ‘physical guardians’ in the museum world.
  • "Forty Years On." AGMANZ Journal 19.2 (1988): 4-5.
  • As president of the Art Galleries and Museums Association of New Zealand (AGMANZ), McKenzie writes of the great progress and development of New Zealand museums and art galleries in this birthday issue celebrating the first forty years of AGMANZ. McKenzie points to issues that need to be faced in the future if museums are to ‘truly reflect the nature of New Zealand society’, and particularly stresses the need to encourage greater Māori involvement in the museum profession.
  • "Towards Bicultural Museums in New Zealand." AGMANZ Journal 19.4 (1988): 4.
  • McKenzie discusses the implications and possibilities of biculturalism in the museum world - a debate she notes was triggered by the Te Māori exhibition which had Māori involvement at every stage of the project. McKenzie affirms the contribution of Dr Michael Ames, Director of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Colombia in Canada, in his studies on the treatment of indigenous peoples.
  • "Report of the President for the Year 1988-1989." AGMANZ Journal 20.2 (1989): 7-8.
  • McKenzie asserts that AGMANZ must continue to ‘provide the forum for debate’ and adds that it ‘must be the catalyst for the development of new ways of seeing and understanding. It must and can provide the leadership in developing bicultural partnership between Māori and Pakeha. We must strengthen our association, our profession and our professionalism to ensure that our museums are relevant to all the people of Aotearoa New Zealand into the 21st century.’ McKenzie gives an account of the work of executive officer, Cheryl Brown, and the Council during 1988-1989.
  • "Notes from AGMANZ." AGMANZ Journal 20.4 (1989): 2.
  • McKenzie reports on the implications of reduced funding on the ongoing administration of AGMANZ.
  • Papers/Presentations

  • "The Conservation of Cultural Property - the New Zealand Position." AGMANZ Journal 18.3 & 4 (Spring/Summer 1987/88): 34-35.
  • An edited version of McKenzie’s address to the International Council of Museums (ICOM) Committee for Conservation meeting held in Sydney from 6-11 September 1987. McKenzie gives a brief overview of the settlement of New Zealand and of the material cultural heritage of the Māori and Pakeha of New Zealand. She discusses New Zealand’s recent history of conservation and the progress made between 1972-1986, and notes three events that have stimulated increased attention to conservation issues: the Te Māori exhibition, the decision by Parliament to develop the National Museum of New Zealand, and the establishment of the Cultural Conservation Advisory Council to the Minister of Internal Affairs.