Kia ora,

I hope you have been coping well and finding plenty to keep you amused and busy in your bubble during the Covid 19 lockdown. We are lucky to live in a country that has managed the crisis so well, with everyone doing their best to keep us all safe. Like me, I am sure you are looking forward to Level 2 and a little more freedom. Under Level 2 however, many restrictions will continue, with Te Papa unlikely to open to the public.

It has been hard to be separated from friends and family for so long, and to miss out on all the wonderful activities that we were looking forward to. Events with overseas speakers may not be possible for a while, but many, including our special visit to Mana Island with Te Papa Curator Dr Colin Miskelly, are re-scheduled for spring, so do keep a watch on our website.

Thank you to all those members who have now renewed their subscriptions. The lockdown restrictions have meant a delay in holding our membership draw, so you still have a chance to renew and to win one of five $50 Te Papa store vouchers! A special thank you and welcome if you are among the many new members who joined the Friends over the summer promotion. We are looking forward to meeting you at an event before too long. And a huge thank you to the wonderful team of volunteers who successfully raised awareness of the Friends and helped grow the membership during Te Papa’s fascinating Wonderland exhibition.

You may not have seen our faces, but behind the scenes the office and committee have been busy working to ensure the Friends continues to run smoothly. My grateful thanks to you all, especially our staff, Demi Heath and Aloema Ioane, who have been working from home. This is always a busy time of year for the Friends, as we work on the papers for the AGM, alongside managing the membership renewals and general business.

Looking back, as we prepare the annual reports, the Friends enjoyed another amazingly rich and diverse programme in 2019/2020. Check out the excellent articles and reviews by Friends’ members under the Features tab on our website, and re-live your favourite highlights. Our Annual General Meeting is still planned for Tuesday 16 June but, because of continuing restrictions on public gathering, it is likely the meeting will be by Zoom. We will let you know how to join in when the meeting papers are sent out in due course.

Lastly, as our 16 June AGM approaches, if you would like to be more closely involved with Te Papa do consider joining the Friends Committee. If you would like to know more, please get in touch with the Office on friends@tepapa.govt.nz.

Nga mihi nui,

Elizabeth Kay, President