Te Papa plans to re-open within two weeks of alert level two

Te Papa announced today it will open to the public within two weeks of the country’s move to alert level two.

This follows announcements from government that museums and galleries can open under that level.

Te Papa board chair Dame Fran Wilde said the museum was determined to open as soon as it was safe to do so.

“Te Papa is an icon of Aotearoa, and belongs to all New Zealanders. We will be proud to open our doors and welcome New Zealand back to our place,” said Dame Fran.

The national museum has been closed since Friday 20 March to protect the public from the risk of covid-19.

Te Papa’s co-leaders, Tumu Whakarae | Chief Executive Courtney Johnston and Kaihautū Arapata Hakiwai, said the museum would re-open to the public as soon as possible. They expect this would be within two weeks of the country’s move to alert level two.

“We are so excited to welcome people back to our place as soon as possible,” said Tumu Whakarae | Chief Executive Courtney Johnston.

“We will do that in a way that’s safe for visitors and staff, and that feels really welcoming.

“We don’t have an opening date locked in yet, but we expect to be open within two weeks of moving to alert level two, and if we can do it sooner, we will.”

It’s likely Te Papa will open in a phased way with some parts of the museum open before others.

Kaihautū Arapata Hakiwai said that opening the museum would be a special moment for Te Papa and its communities.

“We are so grateful for the support of our staff, our communities, our iwi in residence Rongowhakaata, and mana whenua,” said Dr Hakiwai.

“Working together we will ensure that we can open our doors, and once again hear Te Papa resound with many voices.”

The well being of staff and visitors was the number one priority, Dr Hakiwai said.

“We know our team are really excited to get the doors open and we will ensure they have the support they need to do that with confidence.”

“We will have the systems in place to provide outstanding manaakitanga to our visitors, within the rules,” said Dr Hakiwai.

Te Papa will register people on arrival for contact tracing, and take steps to ensure visitors can practice distancing and good hygiene.

This is the longest the museum has ever been closed since it opened on 14 February 1998. The longest the museum has been closed prior to 2020 was for two or three days following earthquakes and a sprinkler activation.


Media contact

Kate Camp, Head of Marketing and Communications
029 601 0180

Cleaner Kellie Tapuae is one of the essential workers taking care of Te Papa while it is closed to the public. Wellington Foyer, 2020. Photo by Maarten Holl. Te Papa