There’s been some publicity about Te Papa lately and in particular our commitment to science and the future of the National Collections. Just so we’re all clear, here are the facts.
Te Papa’s commitment to science hasn’t changed, in fact we are strengthening it. We have not reduced our numbers of practising and researching scientists or curators.
We have broadened our sciences programme to include physical, earth and technological sciences.
We have also strengthened our curatorial capability and have established six new scientific roles including a new position of Head of Science. We have created three assistant curator positions and senior research positions will also be added as our research programme expands.
All research programmes underway last year remain in place. We are also refreshing our major natural history exhibits, Awesome Forces and Mountains to Sea, and these will showcase our own scientific research as well as that of our science partners.
In other developments, we have changed the way Library Services operate. We have reviewed our library collection and the material now sits with the departments and curators who use them. We then offered the remaining material to other institutions like Victoria University. Any other material which was duplicated or out of scope was offered to staff. In some instances these publications were unable to be re-homed and were recycled. This was a very small proportion of publications.
The Sciences Library, the Hector Room at Tory Street, is still there and there’s an archive reading room available by appointment. We also now have a dedicated Sciences Librarian. We will continue to provide a reading room service and research space for the public by appointment at a new location on Te Papa’s Level 4. That’s due to open at the end of next month.
One final point: the National Collection. We have a responsibility to take excellent care of it and we take that responsibility extremely seriously. We’ve been looking at long term storage solutions so that the Collection will be safe in the event of a natural disaster like an earthquake. We’ve made no decision yet on where that might be, but rest assured our focus is on the preservation and safety of the Collection for future generations.