Postcards to the Future – where was your head at?

Postcards to the Future – where was your head at?

Just over six months ago, we lived in a very different Aotearoa. Six months later, what would we remember from then? On May 28 2020, we reopened our doors to the public after three months of closure due to Covid-19 lockdown.

To acknowledge the time we’d spent apart, and to welcome our manuhiri (visitors) back into the building, we wanted to give them the opportunity to capture a small, personal moment in history, a snapshot in time as we collectively adjusted to our ‘new normal’.

Postcards to the Future invited our visitors to reflect on their experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a simple prompt:

Write a postcard to yourself, a friend or a member of your whānau (family). Tell them about your life now. What are you taking away from your experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic?

The postcards were collected and stored for six months. The week before Christmas 2020, we sent them across the country.

Postcard to the Future from June 2020. Te Papa

During the first few weeks after re-opening, there was a slow trickle of postcards as our manuhiri cautiously re-entered the building.

By the time the school holidays began, the letterbox quickly began to fill up; tamariki (children) and their pakeke (adults) were filling the museum once again.

This postcard reads: 'Hi dad During this pandemic i'm sorry i did'nt spend that much time with you but i did enjoy doing some cooking with you an know i know hot to make a meal'
Postcard to the Future from June 2020. Te Papa

There were words written between friends and loved ones, thanking each other for their company over lockdown, reflections on working and living during the lockdown, and commitments to new goals.

This postcard reads: 'Dear _, dear _ and not to forget dear_! Before this pandemic started and also during this special and demanding time you have become very important people to me. Although I went through a very hard time you managed to make me laugh, forget my worries and pain for a while and forced me to focus on the really important things in life. Your friendship has become one of them. I appreciate it very much to call you my friends, and even if we shouldn't be able to stay in contact, I will never forget the time we had! Yours, __'
Postcard to the Future from June 2020. Te Papa

There were also expressions of sadness and anxiety; worry for friends and whānau overseas; fear of a resurgence of Covid-19 in the community.

There was both uncertainty and anticipation for the future, a shared sentiment of extraordinary change.

This postcard reads: Just a little message from POST-LOCKDOWN PAST!!! (Boo!) I'm so glad I got to travel with you (especially before the borders shut). Hopefully we can catch up sometime - I think we both deserve a hot chocolate for getting home in time. Stay safe.'
Postcard to the Future from June 2020. Te Papa

Postcards to the Future gathered 5000 postcards from the people of Aotearoa, reflecting on the impact of Covid-19 across our communities, our workplaces, our whānau and our personal lives.

They are a snapshot of an uncertain point in time, and they reflect the very personal impacts of Covid 19 on the people of Aotearoa.

This postcard reads: 'Covid-19 hit the world so hard......but we managed to survive! Today, we are all living in the "new normal". During the pandemic, I was working in a kiwifruit packhouse (Eastpack) at Te Puke. There were frightening moments when you imagine that you would be still working with so many people in an enclosed area. However, precautions were taken very seriously in order to ensure that everybody is safe. Tears of joy were shed when we knew that we have survived the journey together as one big family. You can feel the atmosphere has changed completely. Hugs and kisses!'
Postcard to the Future from June 2020. Te Papa

These postcards will now be winding their way to addresses across the motu (country).

If you receive a postcard in the mail, let us know!

This postcard reads: 'SQUIDS=COOL, COVID=NOT
Postcard to the Future from June 2020. Te Papa
This postcard reads: Fear has a name, it is COVID19. Fear has a taste, a lacking in sugar. Fear has a sound, a silence of seperation. Fear has a smell, clean green air. Fear has a touch, skellatil fingers seeking. Fear has a name, but it doesn't have my name... yet.
Postcard to the Future from June 2020. Te Papa
This postcard reads: 'hand sanitiser. Bike rider'
Postcard to the Future from June 2020. Te Papa
A postcard that says: 'I am Kitty. When I stayed home all the time with my mum and dad it was like being home sick all day.'
Postcard to the Future from June 2020. Te Papa

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