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Price Increase at Science Centre

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Media release – 22.03.22
Price increase at Science Centre

Tūhura Otago Museum announced a price increase at the Science Centre and planetarium, effective from 3 April.

Science Centre prices will increase for adults by $5, and children by $3, and the planetarium entry will increase by $3 and $2 respectively.

“This was not something that we wanted to do, but unfortunately our hand has been forced”, said Dr Ian Griffin, Museum Director.

“With 7% inflation, and huge increases across all our fixed costs like insurance, while also paying our staff the new living wage, something has to give. 

Tūhura Otago Museum depends on income from the council levies, which hasn’t matched inflation in recent years. The levy funding is for core operations of the Museum, keeping the public galleries free.

The Science Centre, including its Tropical Forest butterfly enclosure, and planetarium are entirely self-funded, and attracts around 70,000 visitors annually; this is the only such science experience in the South Island.

Like the Museum shop and venue hire, the Science Centre’s profits help offset the Museums operating costs; costs such as providing Education programmes for school children, science outreach delivered to community days and schools around the region, the care for over 1.5 million objects and taoka in the Museum collection, and keeping the free public galleries open.

 “The Museum houses over a million nationally significant objects and specimens, Aotearoa New Zealand’s treasures, and yet recieves no government funding to help us maintain these items. We also provide support to all the smaller, regional Museums in Otago and Southland to help them maintain their collections. All of this costs money, which we have to self generate via commercial activity.

The fact of the matter is that, If we wish to continue the wide range of services our community expects the Museum to provide, we need to cover that cost by increasing our prices.

We really appreciate the support provided by Dunedin, Clutha, Waitaki and Central Otago Councils via the levy. However levy funding alone isn’t enough to cover our operating costs. Despite having a collection comparable in size and significance to other Metropolitan Museums, and despite providing access to a similar number of researchers, the Otago Museum receives dramatically less public funding, because of the smaller number of ratepayers in our region.

We raise the largest percentage of money through commercial activity of any museum in New Zealand, and the pressure is on us to raise more, or have collection peices fall into disrepair, close galleries, or offer less education to school children. We really dont want to do this”, continued Dr Griffin.

The Science Centre will be keeping the Caregivers Annual Pass the same price, and also decreasing the price for children from larger families in an attempt to make the centre as accessible as possible for all parts of the community.

The Museum has also felt the effects of Covid, with overseas visitors still signifcantly lagging behind pre-COVID times further adding to financial pressures..

“We have not raised Science Centre prices since we openned in 2017”, said Dr Griffin. “However, with inflation, funding challenges, and the ongoing impact of Covid, we have no choice if want to still provide such a unique and important experience for our community.”

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For more information, please contact
Kate Oktay – 020 4197 1907
[email protected]