Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Te Papa’s innovation hub

Wellington’s Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa has launched a new innovation hub, Mahuki, which will offer local entrepreneurs a residential program through which they can develop new products and experiences for the culture, heritage, and learning sectors.

Te Papa’s Mahuki teams showcase the future of innovation in the culture sector, Te Papa, 6 December 2016

At Te Papa’s Mahuki showcase last night, nine teams of innovators unveiled business propositions that deliver digital solutions to challenges faced by Te Papa and other cultural service providers across New Zealand and the world. Mahuki is Te Papa’s innovation hub.

The teams have taken part in a four month residential programme which began in August.  Thirty six particpants researched, developed and user- tested the next generation of experiences for the culture, heritage and learning sectors, while based at Te Papa.

The Mahuki innovators worked with Te Papa’s experts and collections, and market-tested their ideas with Te Papa’s millions of visitors. They worked on real-world problems, informed by Te Papa’s experience as a global leader in cultural experiences.

“At Te Papa we are passionate about activating new kinds of storytelling, and enabling New Zealanders to access their national collections in new ways. The incredible businesses and ideas developed at Mahuki give us more options to continue delivering a world class visitor experience,” said Te Papa Chief Executive Rick Ellis.

Mahuki General Manager Tui Te Hau said the businesses that have been developed in Mahuki are world class.

“Over the last four months we’ve been working with innovators at the cutting edge of technology; interactive holograms, out of home virtual reality experiences and indoor location based services to name a few,” said Ms Te Hau.

Mr Ellis said successful innovations from the Mahuki programme may be taken up by Te Papa and the New Zealand cultural sector, and exported globally.

“I firmly believe that businesses and ideas developed at Mahuki can transform the way New Zealanders understand our country, and each other. The entrepreneur’s business have the potential to reach beyond our shores to share stories with the world,” said Mr Ellis.

Mr Ellis said the innovation hub model enables Te Papa to tap in to the creativity of New Zealand companies.

“In the next four years our renewal programme will see us make the most dramatic changes to the museum since opening,” he said.

“Te Papa has always been a creative powerhouse, and working with these exciting businesses will bring new ideas into the mix.”

At the Mahuki showcase on Monday night, Mr Ellis acknowledged the team or entrepreneurs for their dedication to the programme and to Te Papa.

“Tonight we celebrate the inspiration, the hard work of the Mahuki teams and the incredible ideas that have been developed into outstanding business propositions,” he said.

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