How to borrow collection items from Te Papa

By Sabine Schulte, Senior Adviser Loans & Acquisitions, Te Papa

Te Papa offers public museums, galleries, libraries, archives, iwi, educational institutions, public and charitable bodies, including community and commercial organisations, an opportunity to borrow from over two million collection items.

Using Te Papa’s collections provides endless opportunity for you to tell stories that are significant to your communities, and further afield across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Te Papa’s extensive collections span:

  • History
  • Mātauranga Māori
  • Pacific Cultures
  • Art
  • Natural History

Porcupine fish helmet, 1900s, Kiribati, maker unknown. Gift of Jennifer Orange, 1995. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (FE010482)

Borrowing is now easier

We are here to help you to ensure your Te Papa borrowing experience is easy. The borrowing process has been improved so that it is simple and straight forward, including:

  • New look loan agreement which is easy to interpret
  • Revamped easy to fill-in facilities questionnaire
  • Shorted assessment times so we’ll get back to you quicker

Our Loans & Acquisitions team is happy to work with you in relation to your loan request.

Your guide to borrowing from Te Papa’s Collection

Te Papa’s lending programme is an essential part of connecting the collections to new audiences – and we want to make it easy for you. This guide to borrowing from Te Papa explains how to make a loan request and how the Loans & Acquisitions team will help make it happen.

Who can borrow from Te Papa?

Te Papa will lend to public museums, galleries, libraries, archives, iwi, educational institutions, public and charitable bodies, including community organisations and commercial organisations for appropriate purposes.

If there is demonstrable public benefit in doing so, we may consider lending to any venue that provides public access and is able to meet our conditions.

What can I borrow from Te Papa?

There are over 2 million items in Te Papa’s collections, spanning across several collection areas including Art, History, Mātauranga Māori, Pacific Cultures and Natural History.

On Collections Online you will find 800,000 artworks, taonga, photographs, collection objects, and botanical and zoological specimens from Te Papa’s collections. Every day, descriptions are being updated and images are being added.

Browse our collection on Collections Online

Costume mat, 1800s, Marshall Islands, maker unknown. Purchased 1911. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (FE000116)

How do I borrow from Te Papa? What are the requirements?

Once you have identified the collection items/taonga you wish to borrow you would need to fill in the loan request form online or download it and send it to us via email or post.

To complete the form you will need:

  1. A registration number for each collection item you wish to borrow
  2. Details of your exhibition
  3. A facility report (If you do not have a report readily available you can download the questionnaire here
  4. A letter of support from the appropriate iwi should you wish to borrow Māori taonga with clear iwi or regional provenance (in some cases, Te Papa can complete this process).

What if we don’t fulfil all requirements, can we still borrow from Te Papa?

Requirements can vary depending on the collections you would like to borrow. So even if you think you might not fulfil the requirements, please get in touch, and we can discuss possible options.

What is the cost to borrow from Te Papa?

Te Papa does not charge an administration fee or for Te Papa staff time.

There may be associated costs for packing and materials, however we are making every attempt to keep costs at a minimum to enable all institutions across the country to access the collection.

When do I need to submit my loan request?

We recommend to submit your loan request six months prior to exhibition opening. However, we do understand this is not always feasible. We will try to accommodate your request as best as we can.

What happens next?

Your loan request will be assessed by Te Papa’s curators, collection managers, conservators, and object support staff. The team will make recommendations, identify potential costs, and the assigned Loans & Acquisitions Adviser will be in touch with a final decision.

If your loan request is approved, it will be followed with a formal loan agreement.

Kato alu (woven ceremonial basket), circa 1900, Tonga, maker unknown. Purchased 1916. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (FE001172)

Where do I get further information

For further information on how to borrow from Te Papa, please see the Te Papa website

Alternatively, feel free to get in touch via the details below. We are always happy to help.

Loans & Acquisitions at Te Papa:

Call: 04 381 7000