President’s Column: September 2022

President’s Column: September 2022

Why am I a member of the Friends of Te Papa? We were originally given a gift membership when we moved to Wellington and consequently came to a variety of Friends’ events. They were great. They allowed us to explore what Te Papa had on offer with the curators who were responsible for various aspects of the museum’s collection and its exhibitions. It also became clear that, by coming to Friends’ events, we were supporting Te Papa both directly through paying for events and indirectly by telling others about the events and what there was to experience at Te Papa. We brought some of our friends.

Friends Group visiting one of the Fishes Wet Room facilities, led by Andrew Stewart (Assistant Curator Natural History)

Then came Covid. During the last two years the Friends’ committee has created as many events as possible given the circumstances. Now that things are a little less constrained, the Friends have again held one their popular back-of-house tours at the Tory Street Te Papa facility. We saw the way in which marine life was stored and catalogued including the wet room with many tanks and were introduced to parasites including bedbugs, the kind you would not want to meet on your next holiday. As one of the members who was there said, ‘I found last week’s Curator’s Pick very interesting. The two speakers are clearly passionate about their respective specialties, I’m looking forward to more of these events.’ A very successful event.

Lead Curator Invertebrates, speaking a Friends Group on her favourite insects and species.

But some other events have had to be postponed in the last while because there have been insufficient numbers booked. Postponing events is hard on everyone planning the event. It also reduces our ability to provide continuing support for Te Papa, since all the income from our events returns to Te Papa. Let me assure you that both the Te Papa staff and the Friends committee make every effort for our events to be safe. Let me also encourage you to come to all the events which you might be interested in and even some which may not at first sight look like something you might be interested in. I assure you they all are. Bring your friends. Encourage them to become members. Give them a gift membership for birthdays or Christmas. It’s better than a lotto ticket. The odds of getting something worthwhile are much higher.