Please select your home edition
Edition
SW newsletters (top)

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

by Hillary Rock-Archer 14 May 2019 19:42 PDT 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 11 - Latest NZ and World News
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for May 11, 2021 Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for May 11, 2021, as with last week this edition comes to you from Melbourne, we return tomorrow. Posted today at 7:16 am
Hello, my old friend…
So I put the word out... it got heard… and how! So I put the word out back in 52 pick up. At any rate, it got heard… And how! Posted on 9 May
Gladwell's Line: Pressing ignition on pro-sailing
The sail racing world is spluttering back into life after over 12 months of being hostage by COVID The sail racing world is spluttering back into life after over 12 months of being hostage to the COVID pandemic - here's a look at how SailGP and the America's Cup coped, plus the 2024 Olympic event quandary. Posted on 6 May
More Grit!
Our good friend, inspirational sailor, champion human being: Jeanne Socrates Sounds like the title to a new Western movie. Perhaps even the sequel to True Grit. Alas, it is not. It is a reference to our good friend, inspirational sailor, and champion human being, Jeanne Socrates. Posted on 4 May
Sail-World NZ: May 4 - Latest NZ and World News
Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for May 4, 2021 Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for May 4, 2021 Posted on 4 May
52 pick up
Somebody only gets you the once. Hopefully… Somebody only gets you the once. Hopefully… Where the playing cards are held between the thumb and index finger, flexed down, and then sprayed out to a jumbled mess on the floor. Posted on 25 Apr
Can You Feel It?
Well? Can you? The Jacksons certainly did back in 1980 with this single from their Triumph album. Well? Can you? The Jacksons certainly did back in 1980 with this single from their Triumph album. Some of the names that went into included the exceptionally talented, and most sought after Greg Phillinganes on ivories, and then one Venetta Fields. Posted on 11 Apr
America's Cup: Two feet
A unit of measurement, avatar and a couple more often helpful in sailboat racing It can be a unit of measurement. Also the very extremities you use for balance when standing up. Then on March 5 this year, we saw that they can even belong to an avatar assisting you and your cause via reinforcement learning. Posted on 28 Mar
Sail-World NZ: March 24 - Kiwis defend Cup
Few commentators, this one included, would have picked that the 36th America's Cup would have sat on Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for March 24, 2021 Posted on 23 Mar
Whispering Jack
Unabashedly, this title does refer to the Aussie singing icon, John Farnham Unabashedly, this title does wholeheartedly refer to the Aussie singing icon, John Farnham. Not that our subject does in any way whatsoever warble in the same category. Posted on 22 Mar
MBW newsletters (top)