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Highlights in News from New Zealand Museums

Reporters from Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin

News from Wellington
Te Papa reaches 12 million visits and is the most visited Museum in Australasia

Te Papa's Chief Executive, Dr Seddon Bennington, announced today that Te Papa has achieved the milestone of 12 million visits since opening on 14 February 1998.

Te Papa reached 12 million visits on Thursday 31 August, after eight years of consistently high visitor numbers. Numbers have averaged around 1.3 million visitors per year. To date, 7.2 million of these visits have been made by New Zealanders and 4.8 million by people from overseas.

Te Papa's high visitor numbers reflect its popularity and appeal to a broad audience. Visitor surveys by Te Papa show that the Museum has succeeded in attracting a broader museum audience – with younger visitors and more Mäori, Pacific Island, and male visitors – than traditionally visited museums in the past.

Satisfaction with the Te Papa experience has also remained high, with 96% of visitors reporting being satisfied with their visit in 2005/2006, and 26% giving Te Papa a rating of 10/10. 86% of New Zealand visitors to Te Papa report that they will revisit in the next twelve months, and 99% said they would recommend Te Papa to others.

In the most recent annual survey by the Council of Australasian Museum Directors (2004/2005), Te Papa continued to be ranked the most visited museum/gallery in Australia and New Zealand. Te Papa has held this position for the last five years.

“One aspect of Te Papa’s continued success is its exciting and diverse short term exhibition programme. The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy – The Exhibition has achieved over 100,000 visits in its recent second season at Te Papa, and international art shows like Constable: Impressions of Land, Sea, and Sky have wide audience appeal. Our latest permanent exhibition Blood, Earth, Fire, has also been very popular with families since opening in April,” Dr Bennington said.

“The upcoming Spring/Summer programme is equally diverse, featuring fashion designs in Annie Bonza: Fashion Explosion (opens 22 September), and over 300 art works from the National Collection will be displayed in Toi Te Papa – Art of the Nation (opens 25 October) showcasing a thousand years of New Zealand’s art. Egypt: Beyond the Tomb (opens 9 December) will showcase the famous collections of the National Museum of Antiquities (Leiden, The Netherlands).“

Note: Te Papa monitors its visitor count through its front door electronic counter, which is internally audited each year against manual counting to ensure accuracy. To be conservative, Te Papa's visitor count is adjusted down by 1.5% daily. Te Papa's visitor research methodology and visitation statistics were audited and approved by Audit New Zealand in December 2001.

News from Auckland
At the Auckland War Memorial Museum
Navy Veterans in Focus 1941 – 2006:
Photographs by Nikki Payne
15 September – 12 November, Pictorial Gallery, Level Two

The Royal New Zealand Navy Museum and Auckland War Memorial Museum are collaborating in an exhibition to celebrate the Year of the Veteran and the upcoming 65th anniversary of the Navy.

The exhibition features large-scale photographs of Royal New Zealand Navy veterans, taken by photographer Nikki Payne. The photos tell the stories of twenty individual Navy veterans and through them the story of the Navy, from World War II to recent campaigns and operations in the Persian Gulf, East Timor and Afghanistan.

Photographer Nikki Payne wanted the exhibition to highlight the naval veterans as part of the community, “Naval veterans range in age from their twenties to their eighties (and for some hardy and salty ones, even older). I hope to remind the viewer that our now-elderly veterans were young once, - most became veterans in their teens and twenties - and they all have stories to tell. The display sets up conversations and relationships between the photographs: veterans who are still in the Navy, and those that are out of the Navy; those that were at war, and those who were peacekeepers.”

All subjects were asked to dress as if they were going to an Anzac parade. This is one time in the year when both Navy veterans (current and ex-Navy) meet and join together on parade as one. After the Anzac parade they exchange stories at the RSA (Returned Services Association).

All the veterans hold a photograph of themselves: the situation where they qualified for one of the medals they wear. I realised when photographing the veterans that, when they leave the military, the only reminder they have of serving in war, or in an operation, are their medals - and if they are lucky - some photographs. The photograph within the photograph represents the inextricable nature of past and present narratives. The subjects project a vulnerability in the ‘presentation’ of their past – a presentation that is simultaneously tentative and proud.

Rear Admiral David Ledson, Chief of Navy, says “many of the elements of these stories will be new to most New Zealanders. The Navy by its nature has written much of its history overseas and at sea – out of the sight and mind of the vast majority of us.” He hopes the exhibition gives those who view it an understanding of the Navy is and what it does. “Consequently, I am sure it will also help correct the widespread view that the story of the Navy is only a story of ships. And that people will come to understand that the Navy’s story is also very much a story of sailors and their contribution to the prosperity and security of all New Zealanders – on and from the sea.”

Hi resolution images can be downloaded from the news and media section of our website

Leading Seaman S. P. Money
Leading Seaman S. P. Money

Click here to view a larger version

Leading Seaman S. P. Money
World War II

"We were welcomed by Captain Bell, who introduced himself as Captain Bell from the EXETER (which we had just lost.) Then he began to tell us how he had just seen the Admiral and things were going well in the War. We were sort of looking around where we were standing and all the buildings were scarred with shrapnel and there were holes in everything and we thought, if this was winning…….."

Chief Petty Officer Medic S.J. Lockyer
Chief Petty Officer Medic S.J. Lockyer

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Chief Petty Officer Medic S.J. Lockyer
Iraq, Arabian Gulf, East Timor

"Had better send this letter off swiftly or I may never end up posting it. Please say "HI" to everyone back home. Will try and write more frequently. Try not to worry too much about me as I am doing fine."

Letter sent home on Friday 8 March 1996

Lieutenant Commander K.E. Woodhead, MNZM, RNZN
Lieutenant Commander K.E. Woodhead, MNZM, RNZN

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Lieutenant Commander K.E. Woodhead, MNZM, RNZN
Arabian Gulf, Sinai, Afghanistan

"The University had been the target of an American bomb during the war, as the Taleban were headquartered there. The Americans and Kiwis rebuilt it, and on Opening Day it was potentially a target again, but this time for the Taleban or Al Qaeda. Opening Day saw the weird juxtaposition of banners, flags, fighter bombers, US Marines, helicopter gunships and heavily armed Kiwis."

News from Dunedin
Otago Museum

The Return of Cosmix!

Don’t wait. Follow the crowd. Grab your copy of Cosmix Issue Two.Dive back into the stories and find out what cunning innovations and adventures your favourite characters have been up to, as the mysteries begin to unfold.

Issue One went like hot cakes with a total of 50,000 distributed throughout New Zealand. Teens are amazed by the everyday presence of science and technology. Seeing it wrapped into the storylines of risky adventures, hip fashion and murder mysteries, teens are encouraged to formulate a greater understanding of science in their own lives.

The total Cosmix project is a series of three science and technology comic books.

Issue Three is to be released on 6 October.

An Otago Museum initiative, the project blends our in-house science communication skills with the talents of a team of young local writers and illustrators.

Latest news from Otago Museum – Cosmix Issue Three
What an issue we’ve got in store for you! Dive back into your favourite stories and catch the concluding episodes of our dynamic dramas. That’s right, the adventures of Cosmix continue with some surprise endings in store!

The highly anticipated Cosmix Issue Three, available from Saturday 7 October features the work of Felice Gazo of Lower Hutt, the national “Illustrate for Cosmix” competition winner. Also, get a taste of our “Write for Cosmix” competition winner, Kieran Bunn of Dunedin’s narrative talent as his story is brought to life and professionally illustrated in this outstanding edition.

Cosmix has turned on New Zealand teens to the everyday presence of science and technology. Seeing it wrapped into the storylines of risky adventures, hip fashion and murder mysteries, teens are encouraged to formulate a greater understanding of the science in their own lives and they’re responding in volumes over 76,000 copies ofCosmix have navigated through the hands of New Zealand teens!

This engaging publication is produced by the Otago Museum and is funded by the Governments Science and Technology Promotion Fund, which is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand. This project aims to promote and develop understanding, knowledge and appreciation of science and technology amongst New Zealand Teenagers.

Hunt out Cosmix Issue Three from selected video, music and game stores, public libraries, and science centres nationwide and of course from the Otago Museum! Back issues are also available. Cosmix. Click the Cosmix link at to read the comic online, vote for your favourite character and discover more.

What happens in Cosmix could happen in real life. The science of Cosmix is everywhere!

Editor's comment
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