Update on Te Papa’s Manukau Project

By Jami Williams, Project Director

Kia ora koutou. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to introduce myself to the Friends of Te Papa. I have recently joined Te Papa to take on the exciting new role of Project Director for the museum’s Manukau project. I started in September and am located in an office hosted by the Auckland Council out in Manukau. It is great to be based in south Auckland, where the proposed new facility may eventually be built.

Prior to joining Te Papa I was at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), where I led a variety of projects. I am looking forward to engaging with many interested stakeholders to help shape the unique opportunities that this one presents.

The concept of a national collections, storage, education and exhibition space in South Auckland will help address challenges faced by Te Papa, its partners in the project and many other museums around the world, such as ever-growing collections and a drive to reach out to more communities.

The facility, earmarked for Hayman Park adjacent to the Manukau town centre and transport connections, will help increase access to our collections in Auckland, our largest, most diverse city.

The Manukau project also provides much-needed museum-grade storage for the museum and other partners and spreads the earthquake risk for Te Papa’s ever-growing collection, currently all housed in Wellington.

Planning for the facility is still in its infancy and no decisions have been made on what collections or staff would move to Auckland. I can assure you these sorts of decisions will only be made after we complete extensive consultation with stakeholders, including, but not limited to, Te Papa staff, the Wellington-based research community and partners such as the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Auckland Council, Auckland War Memorial Museum, iwi, community representatives, learning practitioners, youth and the Friends of Te Papa.

Key themes, ideas and aspirations arising from the consultation undertaken to date will contribute to the business case, which we hope to submit to Treasury for approval in 2015. Further discussions on the concept will continue, pending government support for the business case. After initial discussions with a variety of communities in south Auckland, it has become clear they are really excited about the opportunities that a facility like this could provide for them and their families.

Overall, this project is an opportunity for Te Papa to have a physical presence in New Zealand’s largest city, in keeping with its mission as a truly national institution. The rich cultural and educational opportunities it presents, together with the unanimous initial endorsement from stakeholders and partners, have been more than encouraging.

As some of our most loyal supporters, we would welcome your feedback via email at friendsforum@tepapa.govt.nz