“Everything is always a story, but the loveliest ones are those that get written and are not torn up and are taken to a friend as payment for listening, for putting a wise keyhole to the ear of my mind.”― Janet Frame
Part of renowned New Zealand author Janet Frame’s story lies in 56 Eden Street, Oamaru – her childhood home. With the modest cottage currently a museum, the Janet Frame Eden Street Trust has big plans to transform the garage into an iconic visitor centre to celebrate Frame’s work – with the aim of beginning work in 2024, the centenary of Frame’s birth.
Trustee Karen Ross approached the Community Comms Collective for a media savvy volunteer to help get the word out about their Givealittle campaign to kick start their fundraising.
Matchmaker Judy Cochrane says the trust had the visitor centre concept designs done, the support to set up the crowdfunding campaign and their spokesperson, Kate Camp, poised.
“What they needed from the collective was a media marvel and wonder wordsmith to help develop a media plan and messages to support the crowd funding campaign. They were looking for someone who could channel the edginess, the uniqueness and the sense of fun and adventure of Janet Frame.”
Judy matched the trust with experienced journalist and communications expert Gordon Harcourt who quickly put his extensive broadcasting talents and networks to good use.
“I prepared a comms plan which included identifying a strong story angle for potential TV coverage. This was around preparation of quince jelly from a tree in the garden of the Eden St House and auctioning it on Trade Me.
“I also produced a video which became the ‘hero’ video on the project’s Givealittle fundraising page. As part of the video I secured a video message from Jane Campion, director of the 1990 Janet Frame biopic ‘An Angel at my Table’, as well as her signature on the quince jelly jar. The trust got the co-operation and signatures of Helen Clark and musician/author Shayne Carter. I then got TVNZ News interest in the story, and it was broadcast in a reasonably high position on the Sunday evening 6pm news. It was also covered on RNZ, the Spinoff and in Stuff.”
Karen says Gordon spearheaded the media campaign and made a huge difference. “Being able to be matched to these types of skills is immeasurable. Gordon’s skills contributed more than we had to move this campaign along.”
She says the trust had a vision and needed a wider lens for how to implement it. “As with most things once a campaign goes live, outcomes you don’t expect occur. We didn’t hit the initial funding target, but the profile of the trust and the support and engagement we achieved far exceeded our expectations. Alongside Gordon two other volunteers gave their time and expertise in social media and IT and as a result the trust learnt a lot about what we need to continue the success the campaign generated,” says Karen.
“We have a clear steer for what comes next, it helped shape our plans for the 100th year since Frame’s birth in 2024, guide us on what interested and called people to be involved, provide a stable base for the remaining fundraising needs, and most of all, hone our ideas on the shape of the proposed centre.”
Gordon says the project came up for him at just the right time workwise when he had the bandwidth to dedicate time and energy. “I found it immensely satisfying and rewarding. The team were great fun to work with and exceedingly generous in their gratitude for my contribution.”
The Janet Frame Eden Street Trust owns and administers the childhood home of Janet Frame and at 56 Eden Street, Oamaru, which operates as a house museum. This property is a key part of Aotearoa New Zealand's literary landscape and pays tribute to Frame and her legacy. During the year the Trust delivers an annual writing writing weekend and several events.
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