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Ron Richardson

Above 1960s. Portrait of Ron Richardson, 04-2242. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).

Ron Richardson was appointed as the first full-time director at the Museum of Transport & Technology in November 1970.  He had come on a "secret shopper" visit before he started and was very concerned about the number of artefacts out in the weather.  Dealing with this became one of his goals.

Ron was a larger than life figure.  He was charismatic and convincing.  He encouraged innovative and entrepreneurial ideas.  People would arrive with the stuff they had cleared out of their basements and storerooms, and he began a major expansion of the collection.

He would encourage people to come and help and set up new sections within the museum.  If someone turned up with a number of pushchairs and prams, he saw this as an opportunity for a new specialist collection.

Above: 1972. Presentation of Pearse medallion to Smithsonian Institution., 03-1497. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).

Throughout the 1970s many well attended live days were held. Ron’s focus was on getting the paying public through the gates at any cost so he sought out things he thought would attract visitors, such as double decker buses (very new to Kiwis in those days), live animals and live music and other activities in the grounds. 

In June 1977 Ron arranged for Jean Batten to come to NZ to open the Pioneers of Aviation Building and got her to help with fundraising for MOTAT and the Keith Park Memorial Airfield at Meola Road.  The story is that he invited her around to his and Loy’s home for coffee – and she stayed for several months.

In April 1980 – Ron retired from MOTAT. He was a key player in the history of MOTAT and is fondly remembered. 

Above: 15 Nov 1973. Pearse No 3 airplane : opening ceremony, 03-683. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).

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