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PM tables Te Papa Statement of Intent

Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark said today that the national art collection at Te Papa will be given new emphasis following a review of the national museum and gallery commissioned by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

The changes at Te Papa are laid out in the museum's Statement of Intent, which was tabled in Parliament this afternoon. The Review of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, commissioned in March, was also released.

"The Statement of Intent suggests that Te Papa will enhance spaces for visual arts display, improve the extent of and access to information about exhibitions, and develop core projects for research and associated activites," Helen Clark said.

"The coalition government has made a serious and long term commitment to rebuilding New Zealand's cultural identity.

"Te Papa is the national museum and gallery, and we are determined that it will succeed, both in engaging the general public and in enjoying the respect of the scholarly, art loving, and philanthropic communnities.

"In the arts package announced in May, Te Papa's funding was increased by $11 million a year - $2 million per annum for its operations and $9 million per annum as a capital contribution.

"The $2 million for operations is required to maintain the current level of Te Papa's services. The $9 million for new capital funding will be used for exhibitions development and renewal, and includes an annual $3 million acquisitions budget.

"While acknowledging Te Papa's success in a number of areas, and in matching the conceptual framework envisaged for it when the museum was established, the review team noted that 'the Museum has also been the focus for much debate and some criticism…particularly around its approach to the display and the interpretation of the visual arts.'

"The review team, convened by Dr Des Griffin, recommended a number of changes to current practices. A willingness to implement such changes is outlined in the Statement of Intent, including improving the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the existing spaces suitable for visual arts display, and increasing the amount of gallery space for display of the collections."

Helen Clark said she was pleased with the constructive nature of the review team's report, and Te Papa's willingness to accept its recommendations.

"I look forward to seeing the implementation of the changes recommended, and to the leadership that the new chairman, Roderick Deane, will provide," Helen Clark said.

Contact: David Lewis 025 409 492, Mark Watts 025 822 734

Ministry of Culture and Heritage contact: Sarah Tebbs, 04 498 9218

To see the Statement of Intent, visit Te Papa's website at www.tepapa.govt.nz. To see the review document, see Ministry of Culture and Heritage website at www.cultureandheritage.govt.nz

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