Te Papa to renew exhibition on Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Te Papa co-leaders Tumu Whakarae | Chief Executive Courtney Johnston and Kaihautū | Māori Co-leader Dr Arapata Hakiwai have said today that the museum’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi display will be renewed.

“The purpose of this exhibition is to provide space for conversations about the Treaty, and it needs to change to meet the needs of today.”

“Te Tiriti o Waitangi is important for all New Zealanders, and now is an appropriate time to move resource to this area.”

They noted that to do this work properly, including having conversations with communities, would take time.

“As we re-imagine this exhibition, we are committed to a process that involves communities and creates a space for authentic, honest and informed conversations about Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

The Signs of a Nation exhibition has been at the museum since opening day in 1998. It has been changed a number of times but this would be the first full renewal of the area.

In recent years Te Papa has invested heavily in the physical infrastructure necessary to care for the collections. The cost of renewing long-standing exhibitions must be balanced against spending required to provide specialised care for more than two million collection items.

The exhibition panel defaced by protesters on Monday 11 December will remain on display at Te Papa over the summer break.

“Open, honest conversations are important to us, and we can see it is provoking rich, thoughtful kōrero among our visitors. There are also practical considerations in removing this large panel which will require specialised equipment.”

Te Papa co-leaders Tumu Whakarae Courtney Johnston and Kaihautū Dr Arapata Hakiwai acknowledged the message that had been conveyed through the protest action.

“We have heard the message of this protest action, and we have heard the many and varied responses to it.”

The panel will eventually be removed and stored. No decisions have been made about whether it would become part of Te Papa’s collections.

Te Papa is carrying out a full review of the protest incident.

Media contact

Kate Camp, Head of Marketing and Communications
029 601 0180