Selfie sticks OK, says Te Papa

EVERYONE IN: English tourists Matthew Shufflebottom and Lucy Brown, turned to their selfie stick in order to get a good ...
KEVIN STENT / Fairfax NZ

EVERYONE IN: English tourists Matthew Shufflebottom and Lucy Brown, turned to their selfie stick in order to get a good snap of themselves with a statue of Azog the orc at Te Papa yesterday.

It's not the most sophisticated art form around, but our national museum has no plans to put a stop to it.

Te Papa confirmed yesterday that it would not be following the lead of several museums in the United States, which have banned the use of selfie sticks - the extendable poles that allow people to shoot wide-angle self-portraits on their camera phones.

The museum actually encouraged people to take selfies in certain situations. These included snaps with the statue of Azog - an orc from The Hobbit - and in the Nga Toi/Arts section, which featured a mirrored "selfie wall", a Te Papa spokeswoman said.

"We want visitors to be able to take pictures and share their experience with friends."

Many museums across the US, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC, are concerned that people wielding selfie sticks could pose a danger to other visitors and to valuable exhibits.

Te Papa said there had been no problems with people using selfie sticks, but it would reconsider their use if that changed.

Wellington Museums Trust chief executive Pat Stuart echoed those sentiments, saying the only real concern with photos being taken in the capital's museums was flash photography damaging exhibits.

English tourists Matthew Shufflebottom and Lucy Brown, who visited Te Papa yesterday, said they liked the idea of being able to take pictures with a selfie stick in a wide-open gallery.

"It's a modern trend. I was in Australia before coming over here and everyone was using them," Shufflebottom said.

But he felt that in smaller, more confined, art galleries people waving selfie sticks around could become a bit annoying.

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Use of selfie sticks has also been banned at the home grounds of all but two English Premier League football clubs in Britain. North London clubs Arsenal and Tottenham cited concerns that the sticks could be used as weapons.

Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon said yesterday there were no plans to ban selfie sticks from the ground for Friday's Cricket World Cup match between New Zealand and England.

"We haven't had any issues with selfie sticks in the past. To be honest, we haven't seen many of them at the stadium.

"So long as there's no-one causing a nuisance with them, then they're OK . . . vuvuzelas are still banned though."

 - The Dominion Post

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