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Weta Workshop’s “hands-on” bug exhibition opens at Te Papa on Saturday

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News from Te Papa
A spectacular science exhibition titled Bug Lab opens at Te Papa next Saturday. The high impact, hands-on experience will give visitors the chance to learn from the genius of bugs. Visitors will enter a colourful, magical space to see large-scale bug models and explore hands-on science.

The exhibition was created by Te Papa and Weta Workshop and is an experience for all ages.

Te Papa Chief Executive Rick Ellis said the exhibition is like no other.

“This is an experience that will have a huge wow factor for visitors. We know how important science and technology education is for New Zealand’s future, and Bug Lab is going to get people excited about these subjects,” he says.

Exhibition Creative Director and co-founder of Weta Workshop Richard Taylor says Bug Lab is an exceptional experience.

“The team at Weta Workshop and I were enthralled by the opportunity to again collaborate with our friends and colleagues at Te Papa – to design and build a wildly creative, wonderfully engaging and exciting educational exhibition that delivers a unique look into the lives of some extraordinary inhabitants of our planet,” he says.

“For 450 million years, bugs have been getting smarter. From brain surgery to teamwork to mastering flight – they can really outdo us humans at most things! Come and visit Bug Lab and discover how these extraordinary creatures are sharing their genius to help humans make the world a better place,” Richard says.

Throughout the exhibition, bugs tell humans about their world and their stories are brought to life on a monumental scale.

The exhibition elements created by Weta Workshop took 40,000 hours to make, over a 6-month period.

Bug Lab will run for four months. After its season at Te Papa, the exhibition will travel the world, and is already garnering strong global interest.

“Bug Lab will be exhibited at Melbourne Museum next year, and we have bookings in progress with several major museums in the US and interest from Asia,” Mr Ellis said.

Bug Lab

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 will 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 own “bug man” Ruud Kleinpaste, and University of Canterbury spider scientist Dr Simon Pollard.

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.

The exhibition opens on Saturday 10 December and closes Monday 17 April 2017 (Easter Monday). Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $5 for children, with concession and family tickets also available. Tickets are on sale now.