Te Papa gets new exhibitions, revamps the old

  • 23/12/2017
Te Papa.
Te Papa. Photo credit: Getty

Te Papa's nature zone is being redeveloped with some old favourites kept and an update on earthquakes.

Te Papa is the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand, opening on Wellington's waterfront on 1998.

The nature exhibitions will close from Easter for an $11 million redevelopment, which will open in 2019.

This will follow the opening of Toi Art, a new art gallery, in March 2018, which is the biggest change to Te Papa since it opened.

The nature spaces closed during the redevelopment include Mountains to Sea, home of the colossal squid, and Awesome Forces, which features the Edgecumbe earthquake house.

New exhibitions will explore the natural world, active lands, and environmental challenges.

The squid is staying, as is the earthquake house, with some updating to take in recent "seismic shifts" in New Zealand.

A current environmental challenge that will be explored is fresh water.

The museum wowed with interactive tools when it opened and more are promised in the revamp, including using more digital technology.

"We're exploring so many great ideas to show the wonders of our environment - perhaps you could dance like an albatross, smell a kakapo, or test your intelligence against a kea," says Dr Dean Peterson, head of science at Te Papa.

"Whatever ideas we choose, there'll be something for people of all ages, and plenty of ways to get involved in conversations about the future of our planet," he said.

A mummified moa foot, beaked whale skulls and fragile plants collected on Captain Cook's first voyage to New Zealand are among the specimens the museum has available for display.

The Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes have occurred since the museum opened.

"The earthquake area will be a space of activity and action, with experiences like the updated earthquake house, but also a place of reflection and contemplation," Dr Peterson said.