Dear members,

We will forever remember 15 March 2019 as one of New Zealand’s darkest days. Pride in our country is usually a response to our beautiful landscape, or a magnificent win by the All Blacks, but these past weeks we have had reason to be proud of ourselves as a people of compassion, tolerance and diversity. Led by the exemplary response of our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, the nationwide outpouring of grief for all the victims has been lightened by some wonderful demonstrations of bravery, human kindness and empathy.

In this country we are all immigrants, many as refugees; we are a mobile people who have all been uprooted at some point. The exhibitions on Level four of Te Papa, the world’s first bicultural museum, vividly portray the multi-braided stories of our journeys to becoming New Zealanders. Since opening, Te Papa has had a leading role towards informing and shaping our nation and breaking down divisions. Its vision, Changing Hearts, Changing Minds, Changing Lives remains key to all of the museum’s activities and underpins the Friends programme.

March has been a very busy time for the Friends. We have run a diverse range of events and membership renewals have been flooding into the Office. Thank you for your wonderful response and enthusiastic support. The Committee and I love meeting you at our events, every time we meet Friends we have never previously met. Your engagement and generosity of spirit is inspirational; it shines through the articles you write on our events, so do check out those on our wonderful visit to historic Whanganui, the insightful Pride 101, and Claire and Sean’s fascinating glimpses into curating Te Papa’s Pacific collections.

The evils of racism and prejudice, violence and hate, feed on ignorance and fear, isolation and insecurity. They can only be banished by deeper engagement and taking steps towards better understandings. So, sign up for a Te Reo class (which will be released soon), come along to 101 Repatriation, discover how to make your own beeswax wrap, be amazed at the adventures of explorer and mountaineer Adrian Hayes, delight in the treasures of London’s Guildhall, and make sure you diary the two special Friends previews of Te Taiao | Nature.

Lastly, if you would like to be more closely involved with Te Papa and its amazingly knowledgeable and talented staff, do consider joining the Friends Committee, a terrific team of talented people with a shared passion for Te Papa. If you would like to know more, please get in touch with the Office.

See you soon at Te Papa,

As-salaam-alaikum, Kia kaha,

Elizabeth Kay

President