Te Papa celebrates 150 years

  • Wellington

Te Papa is celebrating 150 years since the founding of the Colonial Museum in 1865 which then evolved into today's Te Papa in Wellington.

The Colonial Museum was founded on December 8 1865 by scientist and collector James Hector, who later gave his name to Hector's dolphin.

Te Papa Chief Executive Rick Ellis says, “We are thrilled to be able to mark this momentous anniversary,” 

“When we look back on our history we see an amazing tradition of celebrating New Zealand’s uniqueness.”

In its first year, the Colonial Museum attracted around 2,000 visitors. In the present day, Te Papa welcomes well over one million a year.

The original guest book from December 8 1865 is currently on display at Te papa as part of "You called me what?"- an exhibition on species named by the museum's directors and scientists.

Visitors can use an interactive screen to suggest their own names for two new species recently discovered by Te Papa staff, and become part of New Zealand's scientific history.

Ellis says many leaders throughout the years have ensured the museum stayed relevant in changing times.

“The opening of Te Papa in February 1998 was a landmark in New Zealand’s development as a nation.”

“From the very first day, New Zealand voted with their feet. We had over a million visitors in the first year, and have just topped 25 million since opening.:

Te Papa is about to begin a major renewal of this building, replacing its permanent exhibits.