What differences does a museum make? Te Papa's contribution to the New Zealand economy

Document Type

Journal Article


School of English, University of Queensland


Regional Professional Studies


Regional Professional Studies Deans Office, Centre for Sustainable Regional Futures




This article was originally published as Kaino, L. (2005). What Difference Does a Museum Make? TE Papa's Contribution to the New Zealand Economy. Media International Australia incorporating Culture and Policy, 117(1), 31-42. Original available here


Te Papa museum opened in Wellington, New Zealand in 1998. This paper examines its impact on economic growth in Wellington and New Zealand. It argues that Te Papa's outstanding achievements in visitation numbers and reception have been pivotal to the transformation of Wellington into an attractive tourist, leisure and working destination. Te Papa's exogenous wealth has been considerably boosted by a high overseas visitation rate. In addition, its popular, accessible exhibition programs, augmented by extensive education and outreach programs to arts and education institutions, business people and the general public, have provided a cultural milieu that attracts both arts and business practitioners to Wellington.