The Friends were delighted to welcome 90 members to the AGM on Tuesday 28 July. All present enjoyed hearing Courtney Johnston speak about her first six months as Te Papa’s CEO, and the exciting new events coming up at Te Papa. Courtney had barely settled in when the advent of Covid.19 meant Te Papa had to shut to the public, a 68-day closure that is the longest in the museum’s history.

At the AGM we were delighted to introduce new Friends’ President, Koenraad Kuiper, and committee members Bridget Hodgkinson and Richard Norman. All bring a wide range of skills and interests to the committee, and do come up and say hello at an event soon. You can read about the new committee here.

Our warmest thanks to retiring President, Elizabeth Kay, committee members Marion Crawshaw, Ann Hodson and Christine Turner, and co-opted member Ana Coculescu. Thank you also to Kevin Isherwood and Michelle Janse, who stepped down soon after the 2019 AGM. The contribution and enthusiasm of those who serve on the Executive Committee is greatly valued, and key to the continuing success of the Friends.

At the AGM, we were sad to farewell our Manager, Demi Heath. The Friends have greatly benefited from Demi’s strong networks across Te Papa and her in-depth understanding of the museum’s operations. Her energy, fresh ideas, huge enthusiasm and passion for both the Friends and Te Papa led to a very diverse and rich programme, which attracted not only our members, but some 700 non-members each year.

In her two years as Manager, Demi ran 106 events, drawing an impressive 7,356 attendees, a highlight being the 450 Friends who attended our first, hugely successful Friends’ Take Over Night. Sadly, Covid.19 meant cancellation of this year’s Open Night, but plans are already underway for one in mid-2021. The Friends wish Demi all the very best for her future endeavours.

Feature image: Detail from: North Island Kaka, Nestor meridionalis septentrionalis, collected 24 April 1988, Waiterimu, near Ohinewai, Waikato., New Zealand. CC BY 4.0. Te Papa (OR.024148/1)