A new book for a new year: The history of Te Papa

In February 2018, NZ’s national museum will celebrate its 20th anniversary. The most visited museum in Australasia, The Museum of New Zealand 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.

In 2017 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. Here is the advance copy being toasted on the deck in early summer (late 2017).

TP book toasted

You can find more about the book, and read an interview with the author, here:

Author interview, bio and profile of book

On Feb 14 1998 at Te Papa there was birthday celebration, a panel of speakers, and a giant birthday cake, as well as the book launch:

Te Papa’s 20th birthday

About mccartco

Conal McCarthy is a former museum professional and academic who has published widely on museum history, theory and practice. He is the Director of the Museum and heritage studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s