New Zealand report
Macrons and museums
The great macron debate
New Zealand English uses quite a few words borrowed from Māori, a language which has both short and long vowels, the latter indicated by a macron accent: ā. These don't just change the pronunciation, they change the meaning of the word: so Sir Peter Jackson's digital effects studio Weta Workshop should actually be spelled "Wētā Workshop", because currently the name translates as "Excrement Workshop".
For many years, NZ English simply ignored long vowels because macrons were too difficult to type (in the '90s people experimented briefly with umlauts, but "Mäori" just looked too peculiar). Since about 2015, though, with better technology, most reliable sources in NZ have switched to macrons: television, newspapers, education, most book publishers, most major magazines, and all government departments. Wikipedia has generally used macrons for words of Māori origin in articles in NZ English, with one exceptions: place names, which don't use macrons, a decision which has supposedly been "under discussion" since 2007.
In 2018 a long debate broke out on the Wikiproject NZ Talk page over retitling an article "Paekākāriki"; much heat but little consensus ensued, and those favouring the status quo pointed out this was the wrong forum for the debate anyway. A couple of weeks ago User:Schwede66 put together a thoroughly-researched RFC and proposed an update to the Naming conventions (New Zealand) to allow macrons in place names, based on the official names in the New Zealand Geographic Board's official gazetteer. Comments are currently running 34 to 4 in favour. If the change is approved, this will affect hundreds of article titles, and thousands of instances of usage.
What's notable about the discussion is the media coverage. In 2018 one newspaper noticed the great macron debate and ran a short piece; in 2020 there has been radio, magazine, and newspaper coverage (even by the UK Guardian), all generally giving a good account of the intricacies of Wikipedia decisionmaking. This is the sort of public discussion of Wikipedia we'd never have seen in New Zealand just a few years ago.
Wikipedians take top roles at the national museum
Courtney Johnston, Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive Te Papa
Victoria Leachman (User:Einebillion) is one of the organisers of Wellington's fortnightly Wikimedia meetups. She has also for some years been Digital Rights Manager at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and has been in the forefront of discussion of GLAM copyright issues. In January she was promoted to Head of Collections Access, which bodes well for Te Papa's future collaboration with Wikimedia projects.
Te Papa's new Chief Executive is Courtney Johnston, who came from a career in digital heritage and director of the Dowse Art Museum to be Te Papa's Director Audience and Insight, before being appointed the youngest-ever head of the institution in January. Courtney is also a Wikipedian (User:Auchmill), who in 2015 organised the New Zealand Craft Artists project, the first GLAM-Wiki residency at a New Zealand institution. Two students spent a summer creating 100 articles about New Zealand craft artists, well described at the Dowse's website. It's great to see senior museum positions like these occupied by people with hands-on Wikimedia experience; watch this space.
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