Mahuki, developing technology to connect New Zealanders to their treasures — Te Papa
Mahuki is an innovation accelerator programme focused on global opportunities in the culture and heritage sector.
It is a space located in Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand’s national museum, where entrepreneurialism and culture collide to create innovative solutions that enrich galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM).
Mahuki is a sustainable way for Te Papa to address their transformation and audience engagement challenges through innovation that is distributed through the creative tech business sector in our communities. It has enabled the organisation to pursue innovation that would not occur under business-as-usual.
We produce an innovation/entrepreneurial programme designed to help teams of 2–4 members develop their idea and business to produce a commercially-viable solution. The best teams are selected to participate in an offshore programme where they are exposed first-hand to the nuances, opportunities and pitfalls of delivering internationally to strengthen their business activities in New Zealand (including their investment pitches). The offshore component of the programme was held in the United States in 2016 (its first year), in Australia in 2017 and this year Mahuki are actively exploring opportunities in Asia.
Mahuki is part of a growing trend amongst museums and cultural institutions to partner with industry/entrepreneurs to fast track innovation, and adapt to a dynamic and increasingly digital world. With this in mind, there is an expectation that for Mahuki to remain ahead of the curve, we must actively seek and participate in the global conversation.
Through Mahuki, we are pioneering and championing the concept of 'Culture Tech' — a fusion of emerging technology with a New Zealand worldview that embraces the deep storytelling, content and traditions of Māori and Pasifika culture in the GLAM sector. Telling deep and genuine stories resonates with these cultures and we are heralding a new frontier where those gifts for storytelling can be fully realised.
We have a unique opportunity to lead the Culture Tech brand globally and, for us to take advantage of this, we need to be at the forefront of the brand entering the mainstream realm. As the world’s first museum to fully embrace biculturalism, Te Papa is mandated under the Te Papa Act to reflect the diversity of New Zealand. From day one, there has always been a revolutionist spirit of breaking new ground at Te Papa and that fearlessness to be bold courses through Mahuki today.