Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Your tax dollar at work

The Te Papa score sheet (sorry, we mean Annual Report) is just out with last year’s results.  So what have they been up to over the last year?

ART GOT MORE SPACE. The commitment to an “increase in art exhibition space from
2,500m2 to more than  8,000m2 is being met with the first  650 m2 already open.

OUR PLACE IS NOT NECESSARILY YOUR PLACE. 45 percent of visitors (just under 600,000 of them) are international tourists while 32 percent of NZ visitors are from the Wellington region. Just 24 percent of visitors come from the rest of New Zealand.

GO FIGURE. Even with refurbished exhibitions Te Papa still struggles to raise visitor numbers. In total 65,600 (just over 1,000 a week) fewer people visited than last year keeping Te Papa’s figures stuck at the 1.3 million mark.

UP AND OUT. The number of staff paid over $100,000 has gone up from 31 to 34.  $1,396,535 was paid to 31 people made redundant over the year

MAJORITY RULES. Visitors of European ethnicity are now up to 78 percent, a 5 percent increase on last year.

DON'T PUBLISH AND BE DAMNED. For all the talk of art being important there is still no senior curator, curator of Modern art or historical NZ art, so the publishing is negligible.  2 research papers, 3 conference presentations, 4 ‘popular’ articles and 1 book (The New Zealand art activity book: 100+ ideas for creative kids)

. 8 paintings by men (John Pine Snadden, Gordon Walters, Michael Illingworth, Brent Wong, Allen Maddox, Peter Robinson, Darryn George and Shane Cotton who’s painting is recorded as Contemporary Maori art unlike Peter Robinson and Darryn George), 4 works on paper by men (Eric Lee-Johnson, Edward Bullmore, Michael Stevenson x2) and 2 digital works by men (x2 Michael Stevenson). Then there's 1 sculptural installation (Yuk King Tan), 1 international installation (Destiny Deacon and Virginia Fraser) and about 96 photographs including around 40 works by Ans Westra and 1 by Bryony Dalefield. New Zealand based and born Bruce Connew filled in as an International Artist with Te Papa's purchase of 5 photos.

Te Papa's Annual Report is also interesting for what it doesn’t tell you: 

•    The number of visitors under the age of 16 (they aren’t separately recorded - maybe they are hiding in the 16-24 year old figures?)
•    The percentage of attendances that were not for museum purposes (i.e. people who were there for conferences, film festivals, Marae functions, weddings etc.)
•    The percentage of involuntary attendances (i.e. school groups etc)
•    The visitor numbers for each of the paid exhibitions like Game Masters, Angels & Aristocrats and Warhol Immortal
•    The number of visitors to non paying exhibitions like Angels and aristocrats

We’ll ask Te Papa all these questions and get back to you.

You can download the Te Papa Annual Report as a pdf here (we found it under Legislation and Accountability).