Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Te Papa and China

Emperor Taizong, Tang Dynasty (618–907). National Museum of China from Te Papa’s China: Throne of Emperors exhibition in 2014 .

Interview: New Zealand’s national museum looking to ramp up China collaboration, news.xinhuanet, 24 December 2015

Wellington, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) – New Zealand’s national museum is looking to expand cooperation with museums in China as the government seeks to build cultural links.

The Wellington-based Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) was also hoping to attract more of the record numbers of Chinese visitors to New Zealand, chief executive Rick Ellis told Xinhua Thursday.

In particular, Te Papa was hoping to build on collaboration agreements with the National Museum of China in Beijing and the Shanghai Natural History Museum, said Ellis, who visited the two Chinese museums this year.

“While there are no fixed plans at this time, we are certainly looking forward to future collaborations with these and other institutions in China,” Ellis said in an e-mail interview.

“Te Papa has strong ties with China, and with the local Chinese community.”

New Zealand’s national museum was founded 150 years ago and had been at the forefront of building cultural ties with China.

“When a purpose-built museum was created in Wellington in the 1930s, it was built with generous support from the local Chinese community,” said Ellis.

“In 2012, to celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand, Te Papa’s ‘Kura Pounamu: Treasured Stone of Aotearoa New Zealand’ toured five museums in China,” he said, referring to the exhibition of New Zealand greenstone (pounamu), a variety of jade.

In return, two exhibitions from China were shown at Te Papa in 2014: “China: Throne of Emperors,” which celebrated thousands of years of Chinese civilization; and “China: Shi Lu — A Revolution in Paint.”

Te Papa was seeing strong growth in the number of Chinese visitors and, in the last month, had established a presence on the Weibo microblog site to better connect with potential visitors in China.

“We have a dedicated China tourism advisor and we see great potential to increase what we can offer for Chinese tourists,” said Ellis, who also sits on the New Zealand China Council.

 

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