Kia ora tatou

There has been a great deal of noteworthy activity in and around Te Papa since our March newsletter. I would like to begin by extending our appreciation and good wishes to Michael Houlihan as he takes up his new role as Special Adviser on Military Heritage at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. As I said in my earlier comments on our website, the Friends have enjoyed a very constructive and positive relationship with Michael and warmly welcomed his success in steering through arrangements to get more of our national art on display and accessible to the public. Likewise we valued his efforts in cultural diplomacy and building new relationships which laid the basis for bringing superb exhibitions like those from Mexico and China to Te Papa. We are very glad his special expertise will continue to be available as preparations continue for exhibitions to mark the centenary of Gallipoli and New Zealand participation in battles on the Western Front.

While the search for a new Director is under way, Arapata Hakiwai, known to many Friends in his Kaihautu role, has been appointed to the position of Acting Chief Executive. He has kindly agreed to set aside time to address our Annual General Meeting, on the evening of Thursday 3 July, on current issues at the Museum and, in particular, on the imminent repatriation of an especially valuable taonga.

Friends will get more formal notification about the AGM through the mail and our newsletter. On the latter score, we are very pleased with the number of Friends who have taken up the option to get their newsletter online, rather than in hard copy. Not only does this represent a considerable savings to us in postage, but we can also offer much more up-to-date information about up-coming events and attractions (along with opportunities to book securely through our improved website). With postage to increase on 1 July and related costs also to rise soon, your Committee is coming to the view that we should move wholly to an online newsletter, with a hard-copy version retained solely for those Friends who have no internet connection or who have special needs.

Friends will know that our programme for the year is well and truly under way, with events organised almost every week. I have just come back from a very successful group visit by 40 Friends to Hawke’s Bay and the new MTG: Museum Theatre Gallery in Napier, where we were received very kindly by the Director, Douglas Lloyd Jenkins, his staff, the Patron and some Friends of the MTG. For other Te Papa Friends looking for an excuse to travel to the region to enjoy its many delights, Douglas tells us that an exhibition of ‘political costume’, featuring pieces from the Hon. Whetu Tirikatene’s wardrobe, will be opening in late September. Seize the day!

Nga mihi

Gordon Shroff