Te Papa demonstrates impressive return on Council investment

3 April 2012

For every dollar Wellington City Council invests in Te Papa, it gets $41 back in contributions to the capital’s GDP, supporting the local tourist economy and strengthening communities in Wellington.

Te Papa Chief Executive Officer Michael Houlihan told Wellington City councillors that considering a $1,250,000 reduction in their investment in Te Papa puts the sustainability of the museum’s economic contributions at risk.

“Show me the bank where you get $41 for each dollar invested, and I’ll be there. Council’s investment ensures that Te Papa is able to develop exhibitions that are seen by the world. And every time a Te Papa exhibition goes on show overseas, Wellington is on show to the world,” says Mr Houlihan.

However, the timing of the council’s proposed investment cut puts sustainable development at risk.

“This proposal cuts across our forward planning for future exhibitions and the proposed cut of 56 percent will severely reduce our ability to offer exhibitions that have generated the kinds of return we’ve seen to date” says Mr Houlihan. “Reducing funding to Te Papa creates potential long-term damage to the economic development of Wellington city.”

Te Papa’s Chief Executive Michael Houlihan and Board Member Evan Williams presented the findings of economic impact reports to Wellington City Councillors as part of the long term council plan submissions process. Public submissions will open in mid April and continue until mid May. Below are highlights from the report’s initial findings.

Te Papa’s Economic Impact on Wellington City

  • Te Papa is open 365 days a year – special events may come and go, but we attract visitors every day of the year

  • Te Papa is the second most popular activity for visitors to Wellington – after walking the streets of the city.

  • For every dollar that the WCC invests in Te Papa, Te Papa generates $41 for the city.

  • Te Papa adds $91.3 million every year to Wellington City’s GDP figures

  • Te Papa spend in Wellington City $38m each year (plus additional $7.8m p.a in Wellington Region – total $45.8m p.a.)

  • $59 million of direct tourist spend per year can be attributed to Te Papa’s presence

  • Te Papa visitors just keep coming back – 96 percent of our Wellington City visitors come back more than twice and 60% visit 5 or more times every year. [1]

  • Te Papa sustains employment equivalent to almost 1,500 Wellington city jobs annually

[1] Regional Amenities Review commissioned by WCC 2011