Te Papa's quake-less day irks

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 19:03 24/02/2014

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Te Papa has been criticised for not commemorating the third anniversary of Christchurch's February 22 earthquake.

The lack of recognition prompted Mike Dickison, a visitor to the museum on the anniversary on Saturday, to take the national museum to task on Twitter.

"The staff at Te Papa tell me there's no event, talk, or remembrance scheduled to commemorate the Chch quake. Compare with @Auckland_Museum," Dickison tweeted.

Auckland Museum joined a nationwide tribute in which flowers were placed in traffic cones to remember those who lost their lives in the earthquake.

Dickison sent an inquiry to Te Papa asking for an explanation and an apology.

"It's been three years: ample time for Te Papa to have come up with even a small display to at least let visitors to NZ know that the earthquake actually happened."

The museum posted a response on its blog on Saturday.

"Te Papa acknowledges that the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 were one of the most significant and devastating events in New Zealand's history.

"As such, Te Papa is working actively to preserve the memory and evidence of these traumatic events for future generations, as well as providing direct, expert support to heritage organisations affected."

It would be refreshing its Awesome Forces exhibition in the near future to include the cause and impact of the Canterbury earthquakes, it said.

In consultation with Canterbury Museum, the collection would continue to grow through this process.

Dickison said that was not good enough.

"They've had time to put up a case – they could have done that in the first few months after the quake, just put up something to acknowledge that had happened," he told Fairfax Media.

"It's really quite surprising this didn't even crop up on the calendar."

He argued more people were affected by the Christchurch earthquake today than by Anzac Day, yet that event was still commemorated annually.

When contacted for comment, Te Papa sent Fairfax Media the blog post and added that it had posted tributes to Christchurch on its Facebook page and Twitter feed on Saturday.

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