Otago Museum’s former Discovery World Tropical Forest is undergoing a $2.5 million redevelopment and will reopen in December chock-full of exciting new interactives and with a new name: Tūhura Otago Community Trust Science Centre. This name reflects the dual knowledge bases of scientific understanding and Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) to explore and explain the world we live in.
Tūhura Otago Community Trust Science Centre is supported by $500,000 in funding from the Otago Community Trust. It will be home to 50 new hands-on science interactives and a refreshed Tropical Forest butterfly house. The centre will also encompass the world-first, digitally interactive Beautiful Science Gallery and Perpetual Guardian Planetarium, which were both completed in December 2015 during stage one of the project.
Tūhura is te reo Māori, meaning to discover or explore, and maintains the whakapapa, or connection, back to the original Discovery World. It invites visitors to be curious, to discover and to explore questions large and small; about the universe, life and ourselves.
Otago Community Trust recognises the Trust’s significant contribution to this project and also acknowledges the long relationship the Museum has had, and hopes will continue, with the Trust.
Science Centre is what we are and do, and offer to our visitors. It is also the centre for Science Communications – from outreach to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment projects, Curious Minds and Participatory Science Platform initiatives.
Rachel Wesley, Otago Museum Curator, Māori says “the name reflects dual views of the world we live in, so whether we as a community know the science centre by the name ‘Tūhura’ or just as the ‘Science Centre’, it’s inclusive of the different approaches that we as humans take to understand our world and our place within it.”
An icon of Tūhura Otago Community Trust Science Centre will be a six-metre-high spiral slide inspired by the DNA double helix, funded by a $100,000 grant from The Lion Foundation. Several key interactives have been manufactured in Germany and are arriving at the Museum today and over the next few days – a week earlier than anticipated. They departed from Europe by ship two months ago to the day. “The arrival of these exhibits is thoroughly exciting. After many years of planning it’s great to see them finally being unloaded, in preparation for installation” says Museum Director, Ian Griffin.