Please select your home edition
Edition
SW newsletters (top)

Exhibition: One Man’s Treasure - John Street and the Fosters Collection

by Hillary Rock-Archer 15 May 2019 14:42 NZST 15 May 2019
Fosters © John Foster

A new exhibition at the New Zealand Maritime Museum celebrates the man behind the historic Fosters ship chandlery and one of the country’s most recognised maritime identities, John Street.

From lobbying against Robert Muldoon’s boat tax in the 1970s to introducing the Tug Boat race at the Auckland Anniversary Regatta, he’s been the man at the helm of many of Auckland’s maritime projects for over 50 years.

Street gifted an eclectic collection of nautical objects to the Maritime Museum in 2017. A selection of these curiosities can now be viewed as part of the exhibition, One Man’s Treasure: John Street and the Fosters Collection, opening May 29 in the Maritime Museum’s Edmiston Gallery.

The exhibition provides a rare opportunity to take a look inside Street’s maritime treasure trove and discover the projects that have helped shape the City of Sails as well as New Zealand’s maritime industry.

In 1979, as chairman of the Boating Industries Association, Street lobbied against Muldoon’s 20 percent boat tax as he felt it was an unjust and fatal attack on an industry which was just beginning to develop export markets.

“We did a survey of the boatbuilding industry and found that the tax was demolishing around 83% of it,” says Street.

“A lot of our tradespeople were going overseas or moving into other trades like cabinet making, so there was a vacuum of apprentices. It took years and years, maybe even 20 years, for the industry to get back to normal.”

Street’s other maritime accomplishments include helping to establish the New Zealand Maritime Museum, introducing the annual Tug Boat race as part of the Auckland Anniversary Regatta, lobbying for the restoration of the Percy Vos Heritage Boat Yard and, most recently, backing the 2018 salvage of DARING, a shipwrecked schooner revealed by shifting sands on Muriwai Beach.

Many of the objects in the One Man’s Treasure exhibition come from Fosters Ship Chandlers, a century-old historic building located on Fanshawe Street where Street worked for around 50 years.

The original Fosters Ship Chandlers was a marine and engineer supply business established in 1907 and located on the old shoreline of downtown Auckland. Street began working at the chandlery in 1959, eventually taking over the company from his father.

Street would curate displays of historical objects and relics inside the store to showcase the building’s history, attracting local and international visitors alike.

During the lifetime of the Fosters business, which is now located in Beaumont St, Wynyard Quarter, Street witnessed several significant developments in the maritime industry.

“When I first started working at Fosters all the boats were made out of wood. There was no such thing as fibreglass, let alone aluminium, or carbon fibre, or even steel apart from commercial vessels,” he says.

The exhibition features the propeller, steering wheel and life ring from the MV TIRI II, the boat used to broadcast Radio Hauraki from 1968 to 1970 when state broadcasters held a monopoly. Other objects include a 1940s era diving suit, the store’s original cash register and an anvil from the blacksmiths who supplied Fosters with wrought iron and steel products.

“I’ve kept all these items as a collection because I think it’s an interesting and important bit of history,” he says.
What: One Man’s Treasure: John Street and the Fosters Collection
Where: New Zealand Maritime Museum, Auckland Viaduct
When: 29 May – 8 September
Cost: Free with museum entry (museum entry is free for Auckland residents with proof of address)

Related Articles

Sail-World NZ: May 30: The week that was May 30
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for May 30, 2020 Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for May 30, 2020 Posted today at 2:06 am
Sail-World NZ news : May 19 - The Week that Was
Sail-World NZ - May 19: NZL32's win...AC75's reach skywards...Saffier Yachts in NZ Read the Sail-World NZ latest newsletter and editorial for May 19: covering NZL32's win...why AC75's reach skywards...Saffier Yachts arrive in NZ and the top 50 stories of the past 10 days Posted on 22 May
Sail-World NZ: May 19 2020
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for May 19, 2020 Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for May 19, 2020 Posted on 19 May
X2. Times three...
This is the third instalment of information about the exciting new X2 by Farr This is the third instalment of information about the exciting new X2 by Farr. Since its inception we have been excited about the project, if for no other reason than it stood up to be counted as a true racing boat. Posted on 17 May
The last bus stop
Graeme Ainley - a truly great man - passed away yesterday. Graeme Ainley - a truly great man - passed away yesterday. Posted on 7 May
Gladwell's Line: Tip-toe out of the Lockdowns
Getting sailing back on track after the Lockdowns, and a look at the options for running the Cup American Magic's "pivotal" decision, as Executive Director Terry Hutchinson describes the move, puts increased certainty into the America's Cup in Auckland which is a very strong and positive signal to the sailing world, and New Zealand generally. Posted on 6 May
Sail-World NZ: America's Cup surprise..Bieker Moth
Sail-World NZ - May 5: America's Cup surprise...Bieker Moth... ETNZ goes sailing Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for May 5, 2020 Posted on 5 May
Howzat! (He implored)
Apologies to anyone unaware of the shenanigans surrounding a small red ball Immediate apologies to anyone around the globe who has not been indoctrinated by memories of their childhood years with the shenanigans surrounding a very hard, and reasonably small, red ball. Posted on 3 May
Sail-World NZ news : April 22 - The Week that Was
Read the latest newsletter from Sail-World New Zealand, with all the top stories Read the latest newsletter from Sail-World New Zealand, with the top stories covering the America's Cup and how the various lockdowns are affecting the teams, the fourth installment of The Ocean Race interview with Race Director Richard Mason and more.. Posted on 22 Apr
What was your most spectacular capsize?
It's time to celebrate the best photos Capsize, wipe out, broach, pitchpole, going down the mine... call it what you will, these moments of unexpected wetness can usually make us smile afterwards. It would be great to share any of these unintended antics which were caught on camera. Posted on 22 Apr
MBW newsletters (top)