President’s Column: November 2023

President’s Column: November 2023

Hello everyone:

I recently attended the 50-year reunion of my secondary school “class of 73” and was struck by the tradition of the event as well as the joy, fun, and abiding camaraderie so readily in evidence. It was a wonderful occasion where I reacquainted myself with old friends, many of whom I had not encountered during that 50-year period. We rekindled old associations, shared old memories and laughs, quietly acknowledged those who had died during the period, and created new memories to treasure for the years to come.

The experiences we had each had over the 50 years were, obviously, unique to each of us and for all of us are the context in which we have lived, learned and grown into the people we are now. And this is of course true for everyone. Every experience we have had, whether good, bad or indifferent, adds to the mixture which is our context.  And so will it be for all future experiences we will have until our time runs out.

During the seemingly busier years of life (through periods of education, work, raising families etc) many of the experiences we may have had we were neither voluntary nor within our control to manage. But as we get further along life’s timeline it seems that we gain a little more control over our own experiences and therefore our destiny. There seems to be more flexibility to choose what we will do, or what we will not do, and when, how, where and with whom we may (or may not) choose to do it.

The decisions we take regarding our experiences may seem a little closer to the surface as we get older. Gone are the days of “anything goes” – decisions are now considered a little more deeply as we have a more constrained term within which to optimise our outcomes. So choosing to do things which are good for us, which feed us, from which we gain enjoyment, and which create a positive context for our lives, becomes important to us.

For me, membership of, and involvement with, The Friends of Te Papa have created experiences of the type I am describing. It is my hope that you feel the same way regarding your involvement with The Friends.


Richard Dean