'Honeymoon' over for museum's butterflies

Cathryn Edwards wears a recently emerged butterfly at Otago Museum in this file photo. Photo by...
Cathryn Edwards wears a recently emerged butterfly at Otago Museum in this file photo. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
The "honeymoon" is over for the commercial stars of the Otago Museum - the butterflies of the Tropical Forest.

Since the $1.2 million installation opened, in November 2007, the museum has reported record-breaking visitor numbers.

But at yesterday's Otago Museum Trust annual meeting, a drop in revenue from the forest was noted as part of a decline in the museum's overall financial position.

Income from the public in the 12 months to the end of June was $1,952,377, down $413,323 on the previous year's $2,365,700.

The museum's total income for the year was $6,432,818, down $759,772 on the previous year's $7,192,690.

Government and other grants dropped to $248,265 ($270,603 the previous year) and an item listed as "financial instruments" showed a loss of $147,676 compared with a gain of $251,134 the previous year.

The only area of income showing an increase was levies on local authorities, up by $209,714 to $3,642,294.

The museum's surplus for the year was $72,637, compared with $1,019,363 the previous year.

Noting the drop in revenue from the public, board deputy chairman Malcolm Farry said the "honeymoon is over" for the forest.

Board member Syd Brown said the drop in revenue from the forest had been expected and an explanation should be included in the annual report.

Chief executive Shimrath Paul said the forest was due to be "reviewed" in 2011-12.

Improvements to the forest are listed in the draft annual plan as due for completion in 2012-13.

More than 100,000 visitors paid to see the forest - part of Discovery World - in its first six months of operation.


Discovery World visitor numbers

    2008-09
  2009-10
July
- 13,160   9262
August
- 8226   6828
September
- 8936   7530

 

 

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