Te Papa’s Board takes action to protect national collections

28 August 2013

The Board of Te Papa has prioritised the need to reduce seismic risk to the National Collections by seeking an additional location to house some of the collections.

Currently all of the national collections are either displayed or stored in Wellington. By housing parts of its non-displayed and reference collections in another region, the risk of natural hazards to the collections will be significantly reduced through geographical spread.

Te Papa Chief Executive Michael Houlihan says the Board has taken this decision based on its statutory responsibilities for the care and preservation of the national collections. This will also present an opportunity to make the taonga (treasures) available to more New Zealanders in more places.

The Board has not yet made any decision as to the location.

The Museum is actively seeking a suitable location, which will also take into account the opportunities for increasing public access to the collections, creating educational experiences, and meeting the needs of researchers.

There has also been no decision as to which parts of the collections might be moved. This decision will only follow once a location is secured, and will be fully informed by advice and consultation with expert staff and external stakeholders.

"Ensuring the safety of the national collections is a high priority for Te Papa. The importance of this has been highlighted by the recent earthquakes in Wellington. GNS Science has been commissioned to scope locations that offer reduced risk from natural hazards. Considerations such as access for the public and researchers must be taken into account, in addition to obtaining or constructing a museum standard building with convenient transport links," said Michael Houlihan.

"The Board is mindful of its accountability to the Nation for the Nation’s collections, and will be working with due care and in consultation to ensure the preservation of these taonga (treasures) for future generations."

Media contact

Heather Church
04 3817083 or 029 601 0180