The Dargaville Museum (New Zealand) presents...
'Accordion Gems' by Kevin Friedrich
...A Master Collection of Accordions through Time...

Aratapu Library Purchased - June 2006
Dedication of the Accordion Gems Display - 3 December 2006
Aratapu Library relocated to Harding Park - January 2007
Grand Opening of New Music Wing at the Dargaville Museum - 21 October 2007 at 1:00 PM
Launching of Accordion Gems Exhibit in Display Cabinets - 29 March 2009

Accordions New Zealand Bound
After collecting instruments my entire life, I had accumulated dozens and dozens of accordions during the course of my travels and friendships made within the accordion world. I had instruments stored in boxes, basements, attics and storage facilities all over the place, so one day decided it was time to begin work on finding a home where they could be proudly displayed.

Even though I have resided in the USA most of my life, I always remained passionate about my home town, so I approached the Dargaville Museum to see if the might be interested in housing the instruments in their current Collections Hall. After several discussions and meetings, we established that there was a definite interest in the collection, and we would examine further the appropriate means with which we could display them.

On my next visit to New Zealand, exciting developments had taken place. Museum Manager Pene McKenzie proudly announced that due to a wonderful turn of events, my dream of a Music exhibition was going to become a reality, and that the Museum had acquired the Aratapu Library, and it would be used to house my accordion collection and musical heritage of the area. This was all the confirmation I needed, and while the Museum was beginning their several year project of relocating the Aratapu Library to the Museum and subsequent restoration, I began the arduous task of shipping some 100 instruments back to New Zealand.

One by one, the instruments were gathered from their various storage places in the USA and Europe, packed and then shipped by sea and air to New Zealand. As the instruments began arriving at my Mother's house near Dargaville, the Rural delivery mail person became quite acquainted with the project as box after box after box began arriving from their long journeys from the northern hemisphere.
Above: Box after box of instruments stacked to the ceiling as the instruments arrived in Dargaville
Above left and below: Whiskey was most interested in the proceedings and loved to sleep among the instruments
Above right: Some of the instruments as they were unpacked
Above: The instruments as they were unpacked
Above left: at the Kravatti instrument at the "Accordion House" in Ikaalinen at the
beginning of the long journey down-under to New Zealand.
Above right: in London at the house of Raymond and Anna Bodell
Note: While some instruments were shipped back to New Zealand, others were hand carried, such as this Kravatti instrument from Finland. The instrument was hand carried from Ikaalinen to Helsinki, London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles and Tahiti before arriving in New Zealand.
Above left: in La Salle sur le Bied near Paris at the house of Frederic Deschamps
Above right: in Papeete, Tahiti
Kravatti finally being welcomed to her new home at the Dargaville Museum
Destination - Dargaville Museum

After months of shipping and transporting, all the instruments arrived safely via sea and air to the rural community of Dargaville, New Zealand, where they were transported to their new home, the Dargaville Museum.

The instruments being transferred to the Dargaville Museum
Some of the instruments arriving at the spectacular Dargaville Museum, located on Mt. Wesley,
overlooking the Dargaville township and Northern Wairoa River.
The instruments were displayed at a Press Conference, before being put in storage at the Museum,
awaiting the completion of the Music Wing and display cabinets
some of the instruments shown in storage, awaiting the completion of the Music Wing and display cabinets

Contact for the Accordion Gems Exhibition: Kevin Friedrich
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