Kia ora, happy New Year,

We hope you have had a wonderful summer break and are looking forward an exciting 2020 at Te Papa with the Friends. Have you seen this summer’s intriguing Wonderland exhibition? This month come and hear our fascinating series of talks, Wonderland on Wednesdays, which include special entry to the exhibition. And do join us on our day tour to Foxton, a fascinating glimpse into the rich story of this historic river town.

2019 was an exceptionally busy year for the Friends, with some wonderful lectures and talks, and visits and tours to places both near and far. Those who came on the tour to Historic Whanganui will be delighted that the Sarjeant Gallery redevelopment project is about to begin, with the help of a $12 million grant from the Provincial Growth Fund. In September the Friends ran two tours to Egypt and Jordan, in association with Innovative Travel, our very first overseas venture. Participants had a simply magical experience in these sun-baked ancient lands, discovering their fascinating architecture, art and history, magical landscapes, delicious local food and meeting friendly locals. It was terrifically hot, as you will see in the story and images of the Friends in Egypt and Jordan.

The Committee were delighted to welcome so many of you to the opening of Wonderland. If you visit Te Papa on a weekend afternoon, do come and say hello to our wonderful team of Front of House volunteers, who are working hard to raise awareness of the Friends and join up new members. A huge thank you to all our volunteers, your support is hugely valued.

Behind the scenes, we have been busy planning our programme for 2020. As a taste, besides the visit to Foxton, we are working on a special visit to Mana Island with Te Papa’s sea bird expert Colin Miskelly in late April, our exclusive and very popular visits to artists’ studios, further fascinating art talks in association with The Arts Society Wellington, and even a talk by your president on a local forest restoration project! And if you dream of an island life, grab the chance to join geologist Hamish Campbell on a tour to the amazing Chatham Islands – you will have a simply wonderful week!

So, look out for our e-newsletters, check our website, and remember to book early, to ensure you don’t miss out. And if you do, please get in touch with the office as we may be able to offer a second chance.

Ngā mihi o te Tau Hou ki a koutou katoa

Elizabeth Kay