Tau Hou hari, Happy New Year!

I hope you have enjoyed a relaxing summer break. Wellington has been the best place to be this summer and hopefully the amazing weather will continue as 2018 is not only a New Zealand Festival year, but the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongawera celebrates its 20th birthday on 14 February!

Many of you will remember the huge excitement of the opening day, maybe you were among the crowd of Wellingtonians, queuing between the hay bales, waiting to enter and to see our amazing new museum. In 1998 Te Papa was truly ground-breaking, setting an example that many museums worldwide have since followed.

The construction of Te Papa was a huge project. Hailed as the world’s biggest museum construction project of the 1990s, it was delivered on time and within budget, an extraordinary achievement largely due to the outstanding leadership of Dame Cheryll Sotheran, Te Papa’s founding Chief Executive, and Dr Cliff Whiting, Te Papa’s first Kaihautū. Cheryll and Cliff were determined to achieve an exciting bi-cultural space that would draw in and challenge every visitor. The Friends were deeply saddened to hear of Dame Cheryll’s death on 30 December, following Dr Whiting’s passing in July 2017.  You can read Tim Walker’s eulogy for Dame Cheryll Sotheran here (7 pages.)

Te Papa’s 20th birthday sees the museum’s exciting new art spaces nearing completion. We are all looking forward to the Friends’ Preview on Thursday 15 March prior to the official opening, so mark the date in your diary. If you would like to bring a friend, just get them to sign up to membership!

Your Committee is currently busy planning another exciting Friends year, so keep an eye on our web-site and watch for e-news updates from the Office. We have some special tours, local and away, planned for 2018. Make sure you register early as places always fill quickly. I look forward to seeing you at a Friends event very soon,

Te pai katoa mo te Tau Hou,

Nga mihi nui

Elizabeth Kay