Have your say on pressing environmental issues in Te Taiao Nature

In our new Te Taiao Nature zone we’ll be harvesting visitors' environmental concerns in a new move to build open data. 

The Current, 2019. Te Papa

Our new interactive tool The Current is expected to quiz 300,000 museum visitors every year, for at least a decade, on questions including water quality, pests, oceans, and climate change.

Our experience developer Jen Craddock said it was new territory for the museum. ‘We know we had to tackle tough environmental topics head-on. As Kiwis we know we’re not as clean and green as we want to be – so what will we do about it?’

Te Taiao Nature, which opens next week, needs to be a place where people feel they had a voice. Jen says ‘It's going to be really interesting to see how the national mood shifts over time.’

When participants stand in the exhibition space in front of The Current they will see a large-scale snapshot of New Zealanders’ feelings on nature topics.

Over time, opinions will be broken down to compare views from people in cities to those in rural areas, what men or women think, or in different age groups.

We're sharing all the data we collect so that absolutely anyone can use it. It's completely open. The results will be shared on the site data.govt.nz for researchers, policy makers, or anyone who is interested.

‘The really exciting thing is that this could have real-world impact,’ Jen says. ‘We'll be fascinated to see what researchers and policy makers, and journalists do with this information.’

Jen and Amos discuss ‘The Current’, 2019. Photo by Jack Fisher. Te Papa

The Current will quiz participants on one idea at a time, but that will be switched regularly.

‘We don't want to set the agenda for people – we want New Zealanders to make this their own. If there's an idea you want to throw at The Current, you can.’

Craddock worked with Te Papa digital producer Amos Mann to design The Current.

‘It's new territory for us and we can't wait to see how people respond.’

Te Taiao Nature, which has been years in the making, opens on May 11.