Our collections policy
Te kaupapa here mō ngā kohinga

Te Papa is responsible for managing and developing the National Collection. We ensure that significant cultural property is acquired, that the collections survive, and that they are as accessible as possible through virtual and actual channels.

Te Papa is responsible for managing and developing the National Collection. We ensure that significant cultural property is acquired, that the collections survive, and that they are as accessible as possible through virtual and actual channels.

On this page:

Why we acquire objects
How we assess potential new objects
Insight through collection integration
Gift an object to Te Papa

Why we acquire objects

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Act 1992 describes our principal functions, including those regarding collections development.

We acquire objects for a number of reasons, including:

  • to fulfil exhibition and public programme requirements
  • to carry out research
  • to explore and record mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge systems)
  • to address the responsibilities of holding the National Collection.

Acquisition process

How we assess potential new objects

Items enter the collection in various ways, including through:

  • purchase
  • collection in the field
  • commission by Te Papa
  • exchanges with other institutions
  • donation or bequest.

Approvals process

Objects and art works go through an approvals process to ensure they fulfil criteria outlined in Te Papa’s Collection Development Policy and Acquisitions Strategy.

First, our curators identify and nominate items for acquisition. They assess each object’s relevance and importance to the collection and to Te Papa’s exhibition and research programmes.

Next, our collection managers, conservators, and object support staff (mount-makers, crate-makers, and framers) give feedback on each item’s storage, preservation, and display needs.

Finally, the information is presented to Te Papa’s Acquisition Committee, which reviews the information about the proposed acquisitions and makes a recommendation.

Insight through collection integration

The Te Papa Collection spans five major areas:

  • Arts
  • Taonga MāoriTaonga Māori Māori cultural treasures
  • Pacific
  • History (focused on New Zealand heritage)
  • Natural history

By integrating our collections, we discover new meanings within them. This enables us to present fresh insights into New Zealand’s national identity, through narratives in exhibitions and public programmes.

Gift an object to Te Papa

Gift an object to Te Papa

Make a donation or bequest