Te Papa to re-open on Tuesday 29 June after six day closure

Te Papa will re-open to the public at 10am on Tuesday 29 June and be open with its regular hours of 10am to 6pm, seven days a week.

Most of the museum’s exhibitions and spaces will be open, with some interactive displays closed off.

The Surrealist Art exhibition will be open. A maximum 78 people will be allowed in the exhibition at a time, to enable the recommended distancing between people.

Te Papa closed last Wednesday soon after it was announced as a location of interest for Covid-19. A visitor to the museum on Saturday 19 June tested positive for the virus on his return to Australia.

Te Papa said that 123 of its staff were affected.

  • 119 were at the museum between 3pm and 6pm on Saturday 19 June. Of these, 28 were in the Surrealist Art exhibition and 91 were in the general museum.

  • 4 more staff were at other places of interest in Wellington.

All staff in the museum in the time period were required to get Covid-19 tests, with staff who were in the Surrealist Art exhibition required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Te Papa’s Chief Executive | Tumu Whakarae Courtney Johnston is among those self-isolating, as she visited the Surrealist Art exhibition on Saturday during the time of interest.

As of Sunday afternoon, more than half of Te Papa’s affected staff had returned negative Covid-19 tests while others were awaiting results. No positive tests had been returned.

The museum will re-open on Tuesday 29 June under its established Alert Level 2 settings and will move to Alert Level 1 settings when Wellington does. Some additional measures will also be in place, which are detailed below.

Tumu Whakarae | Chief Executive Courtney Johnston said the museum was looking forward to welcoming back its visitors.

“We deep cleaned the building last week and have been looking forward to opening our doors again,” she said.

“Te Papa can open safety under Alert Level 2. The key thing for us is having enough staff on the floor, while a number of our team are waiting for test results.

“With sufficient test results now coming in, we have enough staff who have tested negative to welcome and care for our visitors.”

Te Papa’s Kaihautū | Māori co-leader Dr Arapata Hakiwai said the well-being of visitors and staff was paramount.

“Te Papa is all about manaakitanga, caring for our visitors, and that means caring for our team too,” Dr Hakiwai said.

“The health of our community is our number one focus, and we have worked with health authorities to do whatever we can to support the health of Aotearoa.”

While Te Papa was closed over the weekend, it made its carpark available to health authorities as a temporary Covid-19 testing station.

Karakia were held for the re-opening of the museum to staff on Monday, and a further karakia will be held on Tuesday before the museum opens to the public.


Media contact

Kate Camp, Head of Marketing & Communications
029 601 0180

Te Papa under Alert Level 2

  • Limit of 900 people allowed in the museum at a time

  • All visitors must scan in, or check in manually

  • Distancing required

  • Gatherings limited to 100 people (e.g.: conferences, events)

  • Cafes operate under Alert Level 2 rules

  • Coat and bag storage not available

  • Additional cleaning throughout the museum

Additional measures in place under Alert Levels 1 and 2

Te Papa is putting additional measures in place, which will apply under Alert Levels 1 and 2. These measures provide extra assurance to the public. They are in place until 6pm Saturday 3 July – this is “day 14” since the museum became a location of interest, and is the day when all Te Papa staff are due to finish self-isolation. The measures will be reviewed at that time and may change.

Extra measures in place in addition to alert level one and two settings:

  • Limit of 78 people in Surrealist Art at a time (previously was 270 per hour)

  • High-touch interactive in Surrealist Art closed

  • Distancing in queue to enter Surrealist Art

  • Additional cleaning throughout the museum including in Surrealist Art

  • More signage and encouragement to scan in

Surrealist Art exhibition

Running from 12 June to 31 October, Surrealist Art: Masterpieces from Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is the largest international art exhibition to ever be shown at Te Papa.

It includes 180 priceless works from Surrealist artists including Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, and Marcel Duchamp.

Information about Surrealist Art and downloadable images

Previous closures of Te Papa

As part of New Zealand’s Covid-19 response, Te Papa closed on Friday 20 March 2020 and re-opened on Thursday 28 May 2020, a closure of 68 days. The longest Te Papa had ever been closed prior to that was two days (closed 18 and 19 August 2016 after a sprinkler activation, closed 14 and 15 November 2016 after the Kaikoura earthquake).

Te Papa opened on 14 February 1998.

The museum has 36,000 square metres of public exhibition space, spread over six floors.