In April 2018, the Southland Museum and Art Gallery closed its doors for the final time with no one knowing when those doors would reopen. But when one door closes another door opens, and I’m not taking about the property’s backdoor. It has been two years, but finally a proposed funding operation is underway that would help put the wheels in motion to reopen the Museum and Art Gallery, but will it be in Southland?
The Southland Museum and Art Gallery closed due to safety hazards as the building was only 35% secure when it came to earthquake impact. Faced with permanent closure, the sum of $20,000 needs to be raised in order to get a brand new project up and running to help renovate the site so that the building structure met all the safety requirements that would help it withstand any pressure put on it from an earthquake.
Since the closure, there has been strong community support to help get the Southland Museum and Art Gallery back up and running, even if it meant whole new rebuild and development in a new location.
There has been a number of considerations, one being a sponsorship agreement with a major online casino firm that handles sports betting on the NZ market. Off the Line Betting, is an online casino firm registered in Europe that has legal access and licensing to the New Zealand market. They took interest in the story after the girlfriend of the CEO who was born in Southland raised this asking if there was any way they could support the project of resurrecting the Southland Museum and Art Gallery. Off the Line Betting provides a global sporting market for people to gamble on and also provides a number of online casino games that offer up card games like blackjack and poker. There is also the option to play live casino games and hundreds of online slot machines. However, due to recent events at the start of 2020 and the sporting calendar taking a hit and effectively put on lockdown just like the Southland Museum and Art Gallery.
Until normal resumption is commenced on the sporting front, Off the Line was unable to comment further on the developing stories of sponsoring the development.
Other avenues taking is requesting lottery funding to open the new site of Southland Museum and Art Gallery, this has yet to materialise, plus a there have also been limited charity events to help get things up and running, but because of the pandemic in 2020, this has halted a logistical means of putting on events or organizing activities.
The future does look promising though. Now whether the casino opens in Southland or somewhere else, there is clear interest in having the history of the art and culture preserved and watch over by the community and visitors that once walked through the doors of the old Southland Museum and Art Gallery.