Iwi Rongowhakaata and mana whenua grateful for $18mil in funding for Te Papa

By Jessica Tyson

Funding of $18mil for Te Papa has been announced for the museum as part of a $70mil package for the New Zealand arts sector.

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

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

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.

The museum re-opened yesterday after a 68-day closure and Dr Hakiwai says it was a special moment for Te Papa and its communities.

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

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 board chair Dame Fran Wilde says Te Papa was incredibly grateful for the support of the 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.”

The longest Te Papa has ever been closed before was two days in 2016 closed after a sprinkler activation and November 2016 after the Kaikoura earthquake. Te Papa opened on 14 February 1998.