Supporting your staff, volunteers and visitors in challenging times

By Emma Philpott, Content and Resource Adviser | Kaitohutohu Rauemi, National Services Te Paerangi

We join with all across Aotearoa and the world in mourning the terrible events in Christchurch. Our thoughts are with the Muslim community and with Christchurch. Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa | Let us keep close together, not far apart.— message from Te Papa twitter account (@Te_Papa) March 15, 2019

We didn’t expect to be here, but we are.

As individuals, communities and organisations across Christchurch and New Zealand deal with the aftermath of the Christchurch Mosque attack and loss of life on Friday 15 March, our hearts are with the Muslim community of Christchurch and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Public response to Christchurch Mosque shootings, Taranaki Street, Wellington, 2019. Photographer Stephanie Gibson, Te Papa
Public response to Christchurch Mosque shootings, Taranaki Street, Wellington, 2019. Photographer Stephanie Gibson, Te Papa

Acknowledging that each organisation’s actions and responses in the last few weeks will have been reflective of their communities and workplace needs, we wanted to share some practical steps from Te Papa’s own response as an institution to ensure staff and visitors are supported and safe.

There will be many ideas from within and outside your organisation of actions that you could take, and we all share a sense of urgency about responding to these events. It is important though to take time to consider what the right approach is for you and your organisation.

National Services Te Paerangi is available to support museums, galleries and iwi through our Expert Knowledge Exchange programme and grants scheme – please reach out to our staff for advice if you need more information or support in any of the areas below.


  • Review your security arrangements to ensure you are confident of staff and visitor safety on your premises
  • Remind staff of security expectations
  • Consider security needs at events expecting a large number of people now that New Zealand’s current national terrorism threat level is high.

Emergency plans

  • Review Emergency Response and Incident Management plans to ensure they are current
  • Check your emergency contact lists are up to date
  • Have a plan in place if you need to support school groups or large groups of people within your building for an extended period of time.

Staff and volunteer support

  • Let staff and volunteers know where they can go to for support and be aware that everyone’s response will be different.
  • Share the national mental health helpline number – Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Community support

  • Make a place for commemoration or quiet.
  • Be part of the positive in your community.

This month’s On the Road blog post highlights one of the many examples across New Zealand of museums and galleries embracing the diversity of their communities.

Read On the Road: Inclusion and Diversity