Monday, November 04, 2013

Mini me

Te Papa is now busy socializing its Manukau ICH (Innovative Cultural Hub) to be built in Hayman Park. The project is still often referred to as Te Papa North, but it’s not. The business plan (#begging bowl) which is to be presented to the Government in December asks for a $33+ mil loan (how Te Papa intends to pay back this money is anyone’s guess as it is already struggling to find funds for the over-due re-do of its own displays).

One rather strange twist is Te Papa’s conviction that it will be able to create a genuinely New Zealand experience for New Zealanders in Manukau. Where have we heard that before? Apparently there is some concern that nearly half of the current 1.3 million visitors to the Te Papa Mothership are tourists. So it’s Our Place again only this time in an economy pack.

Is Te Papa consulting with the local community as it develops this new project? Well the original idea was certainly sprung on them as a surprise leg-up for Len ‘Manukau’ Brown, but no doubt at some stage the roads of Manukau will be clogged by streams of pizza deliveries to focus groups for local input.  As for how this new entity might collaborate with other institutions from what we hear the briefing to the museum profession was a this-is-what-we’re-doing affair rather than a got-any-thoughts-on-how-we-could-do-this-together? 

So the big question remains how will Te Papa deliver Manukau something that will be locally important and develop a presence in the wider region? And all this within a pressured budget that includes allowing for an expensive storage responsibilities.

Still, as everyone said back in the 1980s when the original Te Papa was being developed, “It’s no point just being critical. You have to give them a chance to show what they can do.” And that’s what we all did.