11 Feb 2019

Te Papa gets CEMARS certified

Posted in: News

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is certified CEMARS for the first time

A trip to the Tokelau Islands by the co-collection team from the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, reiterated the urgency of reducing carbon emissions and the Museum’s commitment to achieving CEMARS certification.

Atonio Tuia wades in water up to his thighs in an area that was a rugby field when he was a boy. Nukunonu atoll Tokelau 2017. Film still by Andrew Matautia.

Atonio Tuia wades in water up to his thighs in an area that was a rugby field when he was a boy. Nukunonu atoll Tokelau 2017. Film still by Andrew Matautia.

The Te Papa team visited Tokelau in 2017 as part of a co-collecting initiative, designed to engage Pacific communities in curating collections that represent how they are living with climate change.  While there, the Te Papa team was struck by the impact of climate change on the low-lying islands. Tokelau is made up of three coral atolls sitting only metres above sea level. Communities are already adapting to rising sea levels and frequent storms by building sea walls and lifting houses on to stilts.

If our global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at current levels, the long-term viability of the islands is under threat. Tokelau’s government has become a prominent voice in the international call to do more, faster, to drastically reduce emissions. For Te Papa, it was a call to action to continue their efforts to reduce emissions through the CEMARS programme, recognising that everyone must play their part to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.

“Climate change poses an existential threat to Pacific nations such as Tokelau, where rising sea levels are threatening ecosystems and livelihoods”, says Te Papa Chief Executive Geraint Martin. “It’s crucial that we all play our part in tackling climate change”.

“Te Papa is committed to taking action on climate change. With Enviro-Mark Solutions we have developed a comprehensive plan to measure, manage and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We are proud to be CEMARS certified.”

Te Papa CEO Geraint Martin, presented with Te Papa’s first CEMARS certificate by Minister for Climate Change James Shaw.

Te Papa CEO Geraint Martin, presented with Te Papa’s first CEMARS certificate by Minister for Climate Change James Shaw

Enviro-Mark Solutions’ Chief Executive Dr Ann Smith attended an event in Wellington on Friday 8 February, where the CEMARS certificate was presented to Mr Martin by Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw.

Dr Smith noted how important it is for organisations like the Museum to contribute to the global effort to reduce emissions.

“For many of our most vulnerable island communities, the threat of climate change is already real and happening”, she says.

“It’s fantastic to see Te Papa translating their experience into meaningful and practical climate action. As an iconic New Zealand institution, Te Papa is in a great position to use its leadership to influence and support others to play their part. All carbon reductions, no matter where they are undertaken, make a difference to our atmosphere, and through that to all impacted communities including the island nations threatened by climate change”.

Enviro-Mark Solutions Chief Executive Dr Ann Smith, and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw, with Paula Faiva, Climate Change Manager, Tokelau Climate Change Unit, Government of Tokelau.

Enviro-Mark Solutions Chief Executive Dr Ann Smith, and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw, with Paula Faiva, Climate Change Manager, Tokelau Climate Change Unit, Government of Tokelau.

Te Papa is already working on projects to reduce their carbon emissions over the next five years. These include:

  • Transitioning house lights and exhibition lighting to LED, which has achieved 49% energy reductions to date
  • Introducing museum wide rubbish recycling, which has so far achieved a 35% reduction of waste to landfill
  • Upgrading aging heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems with modern, power efficient alternatives
  • Te Papa’s future energy management project will leverage off solar power and other technologies to reduce energy draw from the main grid and potentially supply back when demand exceeds supply.

Congratulations Te Papa on your first CEMARS certification!