Wellington Scoop

Te Papa’s bugs exhibition closes, after 130,000 visitors

News from Te Papa
Te Papa’s spectacular science exhibition about the genius of bugs closes, after a hugely successful four month season, on Easter Monday.

Created by Te Papa and Weta Workshop, the high impact, hands-on experience gives visitors the chance to learn from the genius of bugs. Visitors enter a colourful, magical space, marvel at large-scale bug models, and explore hands-on science.

Te Papa Chief Executive Rick Ellis says the exhibition has been incredibly popular with visitors of all ages. “Bug Lab exceeded our expectations and has had over 130,000 visitors across four months. Their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Mr Ellis says the hands experiences and other worldly environment of the exhibition proved a big hit, particularly with children. “The huge scale bug displays, crafted by Weta Workshop, created awe and wonder.”

Some visitors’ comments:

“There are many fascinating things about our planet that escape our knowledge until exhibitions like this come along”.
“I loved the interaction the kids were having and the parents were joining in.”
“It was amazing. So interactive and the dragon fly experience was just WOW”.

The exhibition reveals stories about the lives of bugs which have developed over millions of years, with 92% of visitors reporting that they learned something new about bugs.

“Science and technology education is hugely important for New Zealand’s future, and Bug Lab has been getting people excited about these subjects,” Mr Ellis says.

The dragonfly chamber has been a visitor favourite, closely followed by the interactive honeybee versus hornet challenge.

Exhibition Creative Director and co-founder of Weta Workshop Richard Taylor says Bug Lab is an exceptional experience. “Myself and the team at Weta Workshop were enthralled by the opportunity to collaborate with our friends and colleagues at Te Papa,” he says.

“We worked together to design and build a wildly creative, wonderfully engaging and exciting educational exhibition. Bug Lab delivers a unique look into the lives of some extraordinary inhabitants of our planet.”

The exhibition has been designed to travel the world and is to exhibit in Australia and America.

Bug lab at Te Papa closes on Easter Monday, with last entry at 5.30pm. The museum closes at 6pm.

Notes to Editors

The exhibition elements created by Weta Workshop took 40,000 hours to make, over a six-month period. Visitors enter four immersive chambers, including the ‘operating theatre’ of the iridescent female jewel wasp to watch her turn a cockroach into a zombie on which her larva feeds. She is the devoted mother, and killer brain surgeon of the bug world. Some of humankind’s best bio-inspiration efforts feature in Bug Lab. Drones based on insect flight, life-saving medicine made from venom and new body parts printed from spider silk.

Fascinating stories of New Zealand insects feature in Bug Lab. Visitors learn about Weta – son of Punga who is the God of Ugly Things, find out about Puriri moth larvae which inspired the whakairo (carving) of the Putorino (bugle flute).

Bug Lab features a debate space which promotes conversation on current topics such as edible bugs and eradicating mosquitos worldwide.

Creative leads for the exhibition are Weta Workshop’s Sir Richard Taylor and Te Papa Head of Design Ben Barraud – who worked together on Gallipoli: The scale of our war.

The science behind Bug Lab comes from Te Papa entomologist Dr Phil Sirvid, TV’s “bug man” Ruud Kleinpaste, and University of Canterbury spider scientist Dr Simon Pollard. That science has been brought to life by Te Papa’s large team of creative exhibition developers.

Te Papa acknowledges the generous support of partners Wellington City Council as Destination Partner, Technology Partner Samsung Electronics New Zealand, Logistics Partner Mainfreight, Media Partners QMS Media, New Zealand Media and Entertainment and Val Morgan Cinema Network and Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency our Marketing Partner for Major Exhibitions.

Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $5 for children, with concession and family tickets available.