This being the beginning of December and so the last President’s column for the eventful year of 2020, I wish you all and all your whānau very best wishes for the festive season.   The year which brought us COVID 19 also separated many of us from those whom we love and who might have been with many of us or we with them at this time. Instead, we are in virtual contact by Skype or Zoom, peering into the camera on our ‘devices’. It’s not the same, is it, as opening our Christmas presents, sitting around the table and enjoying the sunshine together. But it’s all that is available for now for those with whanau and friends overseas. And we have to be grateful that it’s as good as it is.

My parents left their home country with the knowledge that they would probably never see their parents again. And they didn’t. At the moment in one of the Te Papa galleries are the stories of young refugees who came to Aotearoa from societies ravaged by war, revolution and famine. Our losses, we hope and trust, are temporary but many of them have lost members of their whanau permanently.

The beginning of December is also a time when I need to thank all of you for your continued support of the Friends. The Friends would not be here without you and the Friends exists for you. With that in mind, I especially want to thank Aloema Ioane, who does so much for all of us in her own wonderful way. I also must thank the committee who work tirelessly for you, the members.

As all of you who have read the newsletters and looked on the web site will know, this has been a year of transition for your committee and Aloema. Our aim has been to maintain the programme for the Friends in as vibrant a way as the tiny covert Covid 19 virus would allow. That has meant postponements, sanitizers, face masks, Zoom meetings but at the end of 2020, the Friends is in great heart. We have a full programme planned for 2021 which will be as stimulating as we and the great staff at Te Papa can make it. We also thank the staff at Te Papa who have provided so much support for our events in the museum. They give us great back-of-house tours, insightful floor talks and cooperate in so many ways to contribute to making the Friends such a worthwhile organization to belong to.

Season’s greetings to you all. We look forward to seeing you at many of the events in 2021.

Koenraad Kuiper