Friends may have read the recent media coverage of a proposed partnership between Te Papa and central government to develop a national cultural centre for collections in South Auckland. The project would involve Te Papa and the government working with the Auckland War Memorial Museum and Regional Facilities Auckland/Auckland Art Gallery.

The New Zealand Government’s media release outlining the concept are published in full here.

New Zealand Government Media Release

Saturday, 7 September 2013, 1:21 pm.

Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson and Auckland Mayor Len Brown today announced an agreement to investigate in association with Te Papa the development of a national centre for cultural collections, exhibitions, education and touring to be situated in Manukau, Auckland.

The Minister and the Mayor say the collaboration between the government and Te Papa along with Auckland Council, Auckland War Memorial Museum, Regional Facilities Auckland and Auckland Art Gallery would create an innovative cultural hub at the heart of New Zealand’s most culturally diverse and fastest growing region.

“The centre would improve the accessibility of our national treasures and exhibitions to the community, researchers and other institutions,” says Chris Finlayson. “There are enormous educational opportunities to connect our nation’s treasures and stories with pre-school to tertiary students, and the learning audience beyond.”

The Minister says the centre would also be an exciting opportunity to engage and connect with communities across New Zealand and the world through digital technologies to tell the stories of New Zealand.

The Mayor says Auckland Council is delighted to be part of a nationally significant, community-focussed cultural project.

“This would be a huge economic as well as cultural asset for communities in the south and across Auckland. It would attract visitors from across New Zealand and around the world. We have made a commitment to build the centre in Hayman Park, in the heart of the Manukau city centre and with easy access to all major transport hubs.”

Te Papa Chief Executive Michael Houlihan says the museum has been exploring ways to share the nation’s collections with communities locally and nationally.

“The Centre would create a hub for Te Papa working alongside the wider museum, arts and research sector. It would present an opportunity for local, regional and national communities to bring together the very best that Auckland and the nation has to offer in terms of art, science, heritage and culture. By working with others, Te Papa will be able to make the experience and collections available to more communities,” said Mr Houlihan.

The Centre’s activities would promote lifelong learning through community-focused education and exhibition opportunities that reflect New Zealand’s new and changing demographics.

The proposed facility would provide a space for exhibitions, an education centre and collections. The purpose-built facility would also house parts of the national collections which are being moved out of storage in Wellington to mitigate the risk of natural hazards like earthquakes.

Its activities would span events, community outreach, research and scholarship, exhibitions, and provide a hub so national and regional collections could be toured around New Zealand.

A working group of partners will commence development of the concept for this state-of-the-art collection and interactive learning space, and will engage with communities and stakeholders during this process.

This work will inform the business case which will considered by Government later this year.