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Te Papa’s funding bid for new facility declined

Te Papa will spend about $2 million strengthening part of a storage facility in Wellington, after a bid for money to build a new facility for specimens preserved in spirits was declined.

Photo: RNZ / Supplied

The museum had made a bid for $17 million from the government to buy land and build a new facility in last year’s budget, but that bid was knocked back.

Instead the museum would carry out earthquake strengthening work on the current site.

The spirit collection store was kept in a storage facility on Tory St.

Last March, in a briefing to the Arts Culture and Heritage associate minister, Grant Robertson, the museum said the flammable preservative the specimens were kept in presented an “unacceptable risk” to the rest of the collection stored in the earthquake prone building, and to people in the building.

It said if the collection continued to be stored in the facility, Te Papa would not be able to meet its legislative requirements of securely storing and conserving the national collection.

Te Papa said the budget bid for a new facility was declined, and so the museum opted to strengthen the Tory Street site.

The part of the facility the spirit collection store was in was at 33 per cent of the new building standards.

In 2017 it was closed so some remedial work could be done.

Strengthening the building was expected to cost between $2 million and $2.5 million, Te Papa spokesperson Kate Camp said.

Te Papa and NIWA had talked about building a new centre for the museum’s fishes collection, which was stored in the earthquake prone building.

The museum still had a working relationship with NIWA, and long-term, nothing was off the table, Ms Camp said.

“In the immediate term however we are committed to strengthen and retain our facility at Tory Street.”

RNZ / Laura Dooney