Fishing industry to star

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by Alexia Johnston

Countless hours of research and interviews about Timaru’s offshore fishing industry will benefit South Canterbury Museum and its many visitors.
Information gathered by Ruth Low and Linda Hepburn during an oral history project they completed in 2015 is being used for the museum’s upcoming exhibition, “Fishing the Bight: Timaru’s Independent Commercial Fishermen”.
Both women are working with the South Canterbury Museum’s curator of documentary history, Tony Rippin, to create the display, due to open on June 9.
For the initial research project, Mrs Hepburn and Ms Low interviewed about 20 people, aged from in their 20s through to their 80s, who were involved in the district’s fishing industry.
Women who supported the men from the shore were also interviewed for the project.
To give their hours of hard work more mileage, for the benefit of the wider community, museum staff have been working with the researchers to use the information in a “publicly consumable” way.
The women said the people they interviewed represented all those who worked in the fishing industry.
“There’s many more people we could have talked to,” Mrs Hepburn said.
“The exhibition is based on [their] memories, plus a lot of other research from books, publications and newspaper clippings.”
That research would be displayed in various ways, including on information panels, touch screens and audio extracts.
“Hopefully between the three of those it will give a real insight into the challenging life of those fishermen over the last 50 or so years,” Mr Rippin said.
Fishing the Bight: Timaru’s Independent Commercial Fishermen will be open to the public from June 9 until the end of September.