There’s been talk about a Te Papa presence in Auckland for a while now and yesterday a proposal for a Te Papa North was finally announced. The big idea is a new venue doing a dance between showing our National Collections (art, history and natural history) and delivering temporary exhibitions down on Auckland’s rejuvenated waterfront.
Refreshingly, Hamish Keith told the NZ Herald that the TPN team has been concentrating on what the building will do rather than what it looks like although the dreaded S-word is in there too (that’s S as in “Signature Building”). As for the do-ing part, TPN is slated as “a space for roaming exhibitions, rather than being a fixed museum or art gallery.” That certainly brings up the question of how exhibitions of Te Papa’s collections would fare in competition with a money spinning temporary exhibitions like The Motorbike as Art.
Apparently the director of the Auckland Art Gallery and Auckland Museum are “enthusiastic about the proposed project” which feels a bit out of left field. Hard to see how a big box venue showing exciting temporary exhibitions on the waterfront would do anything to help the AAG or AM’s profile or audiences.
Still the timeframe we’re talking is 10 to 20 years so tons of time for things to change. And they will.
Image: A generic rendition of a ‘Signature building’ as presented with the Te Papa of the North proposal