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Prime Minister Announces Funding Boost At Te Papa’s Re-opening

At Te Papa today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the museum will receive an additional $18 million of Crown funding for the financial year 2020/2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern visits Te Papa exhibition Tamatea: He Tūtakinga Tuku Iho | Legacies of Encounter with Curator Dr Rebecca Rice. Photo Jo Moore. Te Papa
 

This will help maintain Te Papa’s core operations and critical infrastructure after the impacts of covid-19.

Making the announcement in the museum’s art gallery Toi Art, the Prime Minister talked about the importance of arts, culture and heritage to New Zealanders.

“Te Papa is one of those places that make us feel like we’re getting back to normal, places that are treasures for us,” Ms Ardern said.

She encouraged Kiwis to get out and enjoy New Zealand’s tourist attractions and services, adding “come to Te Papa!”

Te Papa board chair Dame Fran Wilde said Te Papa was incredibly grateful for the support of government during this time.

“This will enable us to re-orient our commercial activities, so we can continue to earn the revenue required to support the national museum.”

“There are challenging times ahead, and this puts us in a position to meet those challenges.”

Taharakau Stewart from Te Papa’s iwi in residence Rongowhakaata leads the karakia at Te Papa. Photo Jo Moore

The museum re-opened today after a 68 day closure. A karakia cleared the way for visitors to re-enter. Te Papa staff were joined by representatives of mana whenua and the museum’s iwi in residence Rongowhakaata. The museum’s flags were raised, and those who had lost their lives to covid-19 were acknowledged.

Te Papa’s Tumu Whakarae | Chief Executive Courtney Johnston said she is thrilled to welcome people back to Te Papa.

“We know how significant this moment is. We are making history just by living in this time, and we are delighted to have New Zealanders back at our place.”

Visitors started arriving at Te Papa before the doors opened at 10am.

Juan-Luis Tolebo and his three-year-old son Gabriel from Karori were the first in line to visit the museum this morning.

Photo Jo Moore. Te Papa

“We knew Te Papa was opening at 10am but my son was just too excited, so we had to come down early. Gabriel just loves Te Papa so much. The people at Te Papa are always so friendly, it’s always such a great place to be,” Juan-Luis said.

Trainee art teacher Alex Murdoch from Wellington visited Te Papa with friends for research purposes, and praised the museum for its welcoming environment.

Photo Jo Moore. Te Papa

“I’ve felt really comfortable and safe here in Te Papa, I feel the process of coming in here has been really structured,” she said.

Te Papa is registering people on arrival for contact tracing, and has taken steps to ensure visitors can practice distancing and good hygiene.

  • Exhibitions open from today: Toi Art; Signs of a Nation; Tangata o le Moana; Passports; The Mixing Room; Blood, Earth, Fire.
  • Exhibitions closed: Gallipoli, Te Taiao Nature, Mana Whenua, Ko Rongowhakaata. Te Papa’s marae Rongomaraeroa will also be closed. These spaces will re-open gradually in the coming days and weeks.
  • Cafés: The store café on Level 2 and Espresso on Level 4 are open. The ground floor café re-opens on Sunday 31 May.
  • Visitors will be checked in and out at the main entrance to the museum.
  • Opening hours will be 10am – 6pm, seven days a week.
  • Te Papa will have a maximum of 500 visitors at any one time.
  • Groups of up to ten visitors are allowed.
  • Some taonga Māori may be closed off to ensure the best cultural care for them.
  • Some high-touch interactives will be closed.
  • StoryPlace and children’s discovery centres will be closed.
  • Hosted tours and education programmes are currently on hold.
  • High touch areas within the museum will be cleaned frequently.
  • Hand sanitiser dispensers will be available throughout the museum.
  • Distancing of 2 metres will be required when queuing outside; within the museum distancing of 1 metre is required.

Visitors are invited to share their photos and comments about life in lockdown during the Covid-19 crisis on a screen of Instagram images using #TePapaNohoPoihau and #TePapaBubbleLife.

A memorial to the lives lost and affected by Covid-19 is in place on Level 2 in Wellington Foyer.

Kaihautū Dr Arapata Hakiwai said that opening the museum is a special moment for Te Papa and its communities.

“We are so grateful for the support of the government, our staff, our communities, our iwi in residence Rongowhakaata, and mana whenua,” Dr Hakiwai said.

“We are thrilled to hear Te Papa resound again with many voices.”

Dr Hakiwai also expressed gratitude for the work of staff in caring for taonga, connecting with Kiwis over the lockdown, and preparing the museum to re-open.

Te Papa funding boost
The closure of Te Papa during the lockdown has had a significant impact on the museum, which usually receives $42 million a year baseline funding from the Crown, and also relies on $30 million a year commercial revenue.

As well as an international visitor attraction, the museum is one of the country’s leading conference venues. Commercial revenues are vital to support Te Papa’s museum delivery, including scientific research and collection care, as well as visitor experiences.

Museums hardship fund
Also announced today is two million dollars over two years for other New Zealand museums in a hardship relief fund. The Museums Hardship Fund will provide $2 million contestable funding over two years, to support museums, galleries and heritage organisations. This will be administered by Te Papa.

Dame Fran said the support for other museums through a hardship fund was valuable for communities around New Zealand. “We know that many museums around Aotearoa are struggling as a result of covid-19, and we are pleased to be able to help support them by administering this fund,” Dame Fran said. Under the Te Papa Tongarewa Act, Te Papa is charged with providing a national service to support New Zealand museums, which it does through its National Services Te Paerangi service.

Te Papa closure
The museum closed on Friday 20 March and re-opened on Thursday 28 May, a closure of 68 days. The longest Te Papa has ever been closed before was two days (closed 18 & 19 August 2016 after a sprinkler activation, closed 14 & 15 November 2016 after the Kaikoura earthquake). Te Papa opened on 14 February 1998.

By the numbers

  • 1 metre distance between visitors inside Te Papa under Alert Level 2
  • 500 visitor limit at Te Papa under Alert Level 2
  • 68 days closed, 20 March – 28 May
  • 36,000 square metres of public floor space
  • 6 floors
  • 2 million collection items
  • 600 staff
  • May visitor numbers 2019: average 2,567 visitors per day on weekdays and 4,751 per day on weekends

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