Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Northern exposure

The business case for Te Papa of the North was due to go to Cabinet toward the end of last year so time to get ready for the promised consultations around this big culture-to-the- people idea. As Te Papa consistently gets 98 percent “good to excellent” in its audience surveys expect general support for a Te Papa to go in Manukau.  Hard to believe that questions will be test priorities. “Would you rather have a Te Papa storage facility cum display area or a swimming pool, a library or a sports stadium?” is unlikely to feature. #dontaskquestionsyoudontwantanswersto. Last year when the Stuff organization (Dominion Post etc.) went out with the bald, “Do you agree with the plans for a Manukau Te Papa?” just 750 votes were cast of which 56.7 said no.

The Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage has certainly been touting for the Te Papa of the North concept.  It was nice to have him actually comment on something cultural. Of course he couldn't help himself and retorted to critics of the far flungness of the Manukau site that, “As the crow flies, it is but a few hundred metres from the Royal Auckland Golf Club.” Rich in sarcasm of course but digs at the hoity-toity attitudes of NZ’s 1% is a bit rich coming from a man who names Bayreuth as a personal cultural hotspot.

For the record here’s what they all said when announcing Te Papa of the North so you can compare it to what they’ll all say later.

It will “improve the accessibility of our national treasures” – Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage

“It will enable South Auckland to have a place that has a Pacific focus, and be an invaluable resource for the area's schools”  - Mayor of Auckland

It will “create an innovative cultural hub at the heart of New Zealand’s most culturally diverse and fastest growing region” Mayor and Minister

“Manukau is not off the beaten track.” – Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage

“Different stakeholders will be consulted at different times, and on the aspects that are relevant to them.” – Chief Executive, Te Papa