In February 2018, NZ’s national museum will celebrate its 20th anniversary. The most visited museum in Australasia, MONZ Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) is well known around the world for its innovative approach to audience engagement, commercial savvy and ground-breaking collaboration with indigenous Maori.
Last year I was commissioned by Te Papa Press to write a history of the institution 1998-2018. The book charts the background to the establishment of the Museum of NZ in the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in terms of NZ society and the new museology, and analyses the day one exhibitions and what made them so successful with the public, including the controversial art exhibition Parade. It also contains a chapter on biculturalism (and its discontents), current developments, and a comprehensive chronology and references.
The research and writing were completed in double quick time, former staff helped out with photos, documentation and memories, and Nicola Legat and her team at Te Papa Press did a great job on the production. Advance copies of this book have just arrived – here is my copy being toasted on the deck last night.
You can find more about the book, and read an interview with the author, here:
On Feb 14 at Te Papa there will be birthday celebrations, a panel of speakers including Simon Knell, Jock Phillips and Huhana Smith, as well as the book launch.