Ngā mihi o te tau hou! Happy New Year!

Matariki celebrates the advent of the Māori New Year, when the seven sisters of the Matariki star cluster appear in our southern skies. It marks the turning point of mid-winter in Aotearoa and is traditionally a time for celebration and renewal. I hope you enjoyed some of the special events run by Te Papa and the lovely fireworks display over the harbour.

The Friends have also been busy with the process of renewal and celebration. Recently we held our AGM, a time for renewing your committee and telling the story of our performance this past year to members and the wider public, as it is now obligatory to file the Statement of Service Performance with Charities Services for all to read.

Thank you to those of you who attended the Friends at the AGM on 20 June. The meeting elected Kathleen Willis and re-elected Heather Macfarlane to the committee and farewelled Jenny Campbell, Lois Daish and Michael Potts. Thank you all for your contribution and support. We were also pleased to welcome Elizabeth Ellis as a co-opted committee member.

At our AGM we were delighted to introduce Geraint Martin, Te Papa’s new Chief Executive, to the membership. Geraint’s enthusiasm and appreciation of all Te Papa’s taonga, and for New Zealand art and history, certainly won him many new friends. Geraint assured us that he is here for the long haul and that he is keen to hear the views of the Friends. The Committee is very much looking forward to working with him.

The Committee has also been planning an exciting programme for the second half of 2017. I am especially looking forward to visiting fabulous stained-glass windows of Wilhelmina Geddes in Karori’s old crematorium chapel, which, thanks to Dr Joseph McBrinn’s recent visit, we now know are a highlight of the Irish Arts and Crafts movement. Who knew they were tucked away in Wellington!

Nāku noa, nā

Elizabeth Kay