Auckland Museum goes green for World Environment Day

Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum will be lit green on Sunday 5 June to celebrate World Environment Day.

The United Nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the environment, World Environment Day is a global platform for raising awareness on environmental issues, with participation from over 143 countries annually. 

“It’s also an ideal platform to draw attention to the publication of the Museum’s Three-Year Sustainability Action Plan,’ says Dr David Gaimster, Chief Executive, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

“We recognize the unique role this Museum has to play in contributing to New Zealand’s environmental, social and economic sustainability efforts. Specifically, we can support Auckland’s ambitions, outlined in the Auckland Plan 2050 and Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan, contributing to the city’s sustainability and building cohesive and sustainable communities.” 

“Like many organisations, we have an active commitment to reducing our environmental footprint and the impact of how we deliver our activities and operate our buildings,” says Gaimster.

“However, as a public museum and destination attraction, the Museum has an important role to play in public education, sharing information and highlighting the need for action to achieve environmental sustainability, through our public experience, exhibitions, education and activities. New galleries are scheduled to open in 2023/24 which explore the Human Impact on the Natural Environment.” 

“What people may be less aware of is the critical role Auckland Museum plays in research, collecting the evidence required in order that environments and landscapes can be protected and restored. This research builds a base of evidence that informs the understanding of human impact on the environment in Tāmaki Makaurau and Aotearoa.” 

With over 170 years of collecting, the Museum’s collections of natural and human history provide a unique base line for measuring change over time, and its scientific fieldwork and partnerships with others provide a rich data source for research into environmental change and biodiversity loss. 

Examples of such research include The Noises Marine Restoration Project, a partnership between the Neureuter family trust, Auckland Museum and the University of Auckland, with the ambition of enabling the conservation and regeneration of the marine environment surrounding The Noises islands and archaeological investigation of early human impact on the local biodiversity.

Te mana o Rangitāhua: A holistic approach to transform ecosystem wellbeing, is a five-year research programme in partnership with Ngāti Kuri, together with the University of Auckland, Massey University, NIWA and Manaaki Whenua. Funded by a $13.3M research grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment’s Endeavour Fund, the research will identify tohu (signs) of ecosystem change and develop methods of ensuring the long-term wellbeing of Rangitāhua’s ecosystems. 

“Auckland Council has long acknowledged the importance and urgent need to address climate change,” says Councillor Richard Hill, Chair of Auckland Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee.

“The role of the Museum in both research and public education will ensure that all Aucklanders can understand how they can contribute to the city’s efforts for the benefit of current and future generations” 

“Not only does our role as a kaitiaki in caring for this iconic heritage building and collections contribute to the delivery of UN Sustainability Development Goals, including the protection and safeguarding of cultural and natural heritage in the wider world,” says Dr Gaimster concludes.

“The Museum enables cultural participation for all Aucklanders with the aim of supporting social cohesion.” 

“Looking ahead, 2020-2030 has been set out as a decade of action: global action, local action, and people’s action. Through our Sustainability Action Plan, our role is to inspire people to take action that sustains and enhances both the environment and community wellbeing.”

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