New Zealand and Guam collect Guam heritage together

10 May 2016

Te Papa is working with Humanities Guahan to collect objects from Guam, which will become part of the Te Papa’s Pacific cultures collection.

The co-collecting project will focus specifically on the culture of Guam’s indigenous Chamorros people, including works by master carvers, weavers, and blacksmiths.

Te Papa Pacific curators Sean Mallon and Nina Tonga will travel to Guam in May to work with Humanities Guahan Executive Director Kimberlee Kihleng, Monaeka Flores, Coordinator for Marketing and Programs, and selected artists.

According to Humanities Guahan, Executive Director Kimberlee Kihleng the co-collecting project is the first of its kind in the region.

“We are honoured to be embarking on this co-collecting project to promote a presence of Chamorro art at Te Papa.”

“This collaboration expands our efforts to present programs that reflect Guam’s place in a larger Pacific community,” said Dr. Kihleng.

Te Papa Senior Curator of Pacific Cultures Sean Mallon says the museum is delighted to work alongside Humanities Guahan.

“The peoples of Micronesia are currently under-represented in Te Papa’s collections. There is a range of historical items, but very few examples of contemporary material culture.”

“This project will bring the Te Papa’s collections up to date with the culture of modern day Guam, and advance the museum’s aspiration to document the cultural diversity and ever-changing lives of contemporary Pacific peoples,” says Mr Mallon.

This project is the pilot for future co-collecting activity in the region. The first selection will include works by Master Carver Jill Benavente, Master Blacksmith Francisco Lizama, and weavers James Bamba and Mark Benavente.

Humanities Guahan is an independent non-profit organization that presents and supports public humanities programs and projects for the people of Guam and has expertise and long-term experience in supporting and presenting the history, arts and cultures of Guam. For more information see

Curator Sean Mallon is available for interview before the trip, or afterwards, when media will be able to see and photograph / film the objects collected.

Media contact

Kate Camp, Communications Manager
029 601 0180