Te Papa reopens after lockdown

Some exhibitions and high touch interactive displays are still off-limits at Te Papa. Photo: ODT...
Some exhibitions and high touch interactive displays are still off-limits at Te Papa. Photo: ODT files
Te Papa museum will begin reopening to the public from today.

The national museum in Wellington has been closed since March 20 to protect the public from the risk of Covid-19.

This 68-day closure is the longest in the museum's history. Some exhibitions that will remain closed today include Gallipoli, Te Taiao Nature, Mana Whenua, and Ko Ronowhakaata.

They will be reopened gradually over the coming days and weeks.

The museum's opening hours will be from 10am-6pm daily, and a maximum of 500 visitors will be allowed in at any one time.

Groups can have up to 10 people if visiting the museum together.

Not everything will be the same - while cafes and stores will be open, some taonga Māori may be closed off to ensure the best cultural care, some high-touch interactives will be closed, and hosted tours and programmes will be on hold.

Te Papa board chair Dame Fran Wilde said the team was delighted to reopen to the public.

"Te Papa is an icon of Aotearoa, and belongs to all New Zealanders. We are proud to open our doors and welcome New Zealand back to our place," she said.

Te Papa will register people on arrival for contact tracing, and take steps to ensure visitors can practise distancing and good hygiene.

StoryPlace and the children's discovery centres will also be closed.

Staff are also ramping up cleaning measures, with hand sanitiser dispensers installed throughout the museum, and increased cleaning of high-touch areas.

"The experience at Te Papa will be different, as we create space for our visitors to reflect, relax and reconnect," chief executive Courtney Johnston said.

"We are doing that in a way that is safe for visitors and staff, that is safe for our taonga, and that feels really welcoming."

The museum will offer ways for the public to share their experiences of this time in history, and would also have a memorial in place to the lives lost and affected by Covid-19.

There will be pop-up performances to provide special experiences for visitors in the building, and on the forecourt.

By the numbers

• 1-metre distance between visitors inside Te Papa under alert level two

• 500-visitor limit at Te Papa under alert level two

• 68 days closed, March 20 – May 28

• 36,000 square metres of public floor space

• 6 floors

• 2 million collection items

• 600 staff

• May visitor numbers 2019: average 2567 visits on weekdays and 4751 on weekend days


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