January 2023

Reflecting on 2022: Year in Review

Te Papa Foundation had a fruitful year in 2022 with special evenings, generously supported campaigns, and the successful inaugural fundraising event, Spring Fling.

The continued support, passion, and aroha of our donors has allowed us to achieve so much over the last twelve months, enabling new botany scholarships, purchasing much needed equipment for our art conservators, and support towards new acquisitions for Te Papa's permanent collection.

UK Foundation Circle celebrates Matariki from afar

The membership of the Te Papa UK Foundation Circle has continued to grow since its launch in October 2021. The Circle is all about creating a bridge for expat kiwis to connect with Aotearoa and provide opportunities to participate in once-in-a-lifetime experiences - and the midyear event, Matariki in Mayfair, certainly delivered. Thanks to a collaborative effort between kiwi diamond jeweller Jessica McCormack ( and Kea, the Foundation Circle enjoyed unique access to an exceptional collection of Māori and Pacific art at Jessica’s stunning premises in Mayfair to celebrate New Zealand’s acknowledgment of Matariki as a new public holiday.

The jewel in the crown of this event was a rarely-seen work by Rita Angus, Sun Goddess, which was kindly loaned from a private collection thanks to the support of the Royal Academy. New UK Foundation sponsor Crown Fine Art generously transported the works across London for the event and multiple kiwi businesses donated to a Luxury Lucky Dip, with the top prize a pair of Jessica McCormack diamond earrings.

Opening evening of Robin White: Something is Happening Here

A number of Foundation donors joined Foundation trustees at the Robin White opening event at Te Papa in June 2022.

Guests enjoyed canapés & drinks, followed by the opportunity to preview the Robin White: Something Is Happening Here exhibition in Toi Art. The exhibition brought together more than 70 works from across Dame Robin White’s 50-year career – forming what the artist describes as a ‘family reunion’ of pieces from galleries and private collections across the country.

Featuring Robin White’s celebrated portraits and local landscapes from the 1970s, and the ambitious collaborative works she has made with artists from across the Pacific and Aotearoa New Zealand in recent years, including That Vase (Robin White/Tamari Cabeikanacea), an acquisition recently made by Te Papa with the generous support of Foundation donors Chris and Kathy Parkin.

Success at inaugural Foundation fundraiser

In September 2022 the Foundation held its inaugural fundraising gala, Spring Fling, supported by our event partner Partridge Jewellers.

Guests were welcomed with wine kindly supplied by Foundation wine partner Brennan Wines, gin cocktails by Dancing Sand Distillery and StrangeLove tonic, and a room abundant with floral blooms filled with the promise of spring. The evening featured a live jazz band, and the opportunity to bid on both a live auction and silent auction of incredible money-can’t-buy experiences. Auctioneer Sabine Davison of Sotheby’s New Zealand International Realty generated a sense of palpable energy in the room, which resulted in the Foundation raising over $80,000.

“The inaugural Te Papa Foundation fundraiser Spring Fling was a splendid event Partridge Jewellers are proud to have supported and we look forward to supporting Spring Fling 2023.”

- Grant Partridge, Partridge Jewellers, named event partner of the Foundation’s Spring Fling: At Our Place.

The Foundation are delighted with the fundraising effort of Spring Fling, which will help fund Te Papa projects across science/nature, culture, art, education, and museology in the coming year.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the Foundation’s 2023 fundraising event – mark Saturday, 2 September 2023 in your diaries now. It’s sure to be the soirée of the season!

$30,000 raised for Orchid Research Scholarships

The Foundation announced a dedicated campaign to raise $30,000 in support of the research of Botany Curator Dr. Carlos Lehnebach to identify and understand New Zealand’s rare native orchids.

In October, the Foundation was delighted to announce the Orchid Campaign a success, having raised the full $30,000 campaign goal by October through the generosity of the following donors:

  • Withiel Fund

  • New Zealand Native Orchid Society

  • The Wellington Orchid Society Inc

  • The Orchid Council of NZ (OCNZ)

  • Chris and Dayle Mace

  • Sir Bruce and Lady Lyn Robertson

  • Danielle Genty-Nott & Mark Crawford

  • Fleur Baker

  • Debbie Cook

  • Beverley Eriksen

  • Mervin Dougherty/Wellington Orchid Society

  • Hugh Davies

  • C Wang

  • Mel Maguire
  • Stephanie & Sjoerd Post

  • J Ingram-Seal
  • Kylie Archer-Byrne

  • Anonymous

These funds will provide scholarships for two Masters-level botany students to undertake research into New Zealand native orchids under the tutelage of Dr Lehnebach.

Orchid conservation research is urgently needed in New Zealand as nearly 40% of our orchid species are of conservation concern – some species stem from only one known site in the country with less than 400 plants.    

Part of Dr Lehnebach’s research will involve studying historical orchid collections at Te Papa, collecting modern samples from the wild and conducting genetic analyses at Te Papa's DNA Lab. The team’s findings will help the Department of Conservation to promptly identify threatened species and prioritise work to secure their long-term survival.

Dr Lehnebach’s orchid research will also take a deep dive into the unique partnership formed between orchids and the fungi which is essential for the seeds to germinate. If the identity of the orchid fungal partner and its pollinator is not known, these orchid species cannot be multiplied and saved from extinction.  

The Foundation’s orchid campaign met with high levels of enthusiasm from the public, with many expressing a new-found fascination with this somewhat niche area of botany. Others, however, were already ensconced in the world of native orchids: during the campaign, Dr Lehnebach received an invitation to visit one donor’s Department of Conservation-protected private reserve, which has been in their family for 150 years and is home to a variety of tiny native orchids.

Dr Lehnebach and his students will no doubt be excited to explore this reserve as they embark on this important research.

UK Foundation Circle inaugural distribution meeting

In November 2022, Circle members were treated to a rare viewing of The Aristocrat, a 1933 portrait of Atama Paparangi, Chieftain of the Rarawa Iwi by renowned New Zealand artist C.F. Goldie. In close association with UK-based iwi, guests enjoyed a lecture about its provenance by kiwi Imogen Kerr, Director, Senior Specialist, Impressionist & Modern Art at Christie's.

Generously hosted by Keith and Rhonda Lloyd, Circle members enjoyed canapés and a tasting table from the couple’s Central Otago winery, Te Kano Estate.

Prior to the event, this very special group of donors participated in the inaugural Distribution Meeting where members considered a wish-list of priority projects supplied by Te Papa to which the funds raised in the last 12 months could be applied.

From several deserving options, the Circle decided to fund a project that reasonated with many in the room: sending every school in New Zealand a copy of Te Ata o Tū | In the Shadow of Tūmatauenga: The New Zealand Wars Collections of Te Papa.

The wars of 1845-72 were described by James Belich as “bitter and bloody struggles, as important to New Zealand as were the Civil Wars to England and the United States.” This richly illustrated forthcoming publication, developed in partnership with iwi, delves into Te Papa’s Mātauranga Māori, History and Art collections to examine taonga and artefacts intimately connected with the New Zealand Wars, sparking conversation and shedding new light on our colonial past.

Ensuring that this rich resource from Te Papa Press is available to every school history educator in Aotearoa is an incredible gift, and the Foundation applauds the generosity of the UK Foundation Circle for making this possible.

For more information on the Foundation Circle or to be added to the mailing list for events, please contact Louise on on 07979 344 480 or sign up to the Foundation Circle here

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