co collecting project


The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is working with Humanities Guåhan to collect objects from Guam, which will become part of the Te Papa’s Pacific cultures collection. The co-collecting project will focus specifically on the culture of Guam’s indigenous Chamorro people, including works by master carvers, weavers, and blacksmiths.  Te Papa Pacific curators Sean Mallon and Nina Tonga will travel to Guam in May to work with Humanities Guåhan Executive Director Kimberlee Kihleng,  Monaeka Flores, Coordinator for Marketing and Programs, and selected artists. 
According to Humanities Guåhan, Executive Director Kimberlee Kihleng the co-collecting project is the the first of its kind in the region. “We are honored to be embarking on this co-collecting project to promote a presence of Chamorro art at Te Papa. This collaboration expands our efforts to present programs that reflect Guam’s place in a larger Pacific community,” said Dr. Kihleng.
Te Papa Senior Curator of Pacific Cultures Sean Mallon says the museum is delighted to work alongside Humanities Guåhan. “The peoples of Micronesia are currently under represented in Te Papa’s collections. There is a range of historical items, but very few examples of contemporary material culture.  This project will bring the Te Papa’s collections up to date with the culture of modern day Guam, and advance the museums aspiration to document the cultural diversity and everchanging lives of contemporary Pacific peoples,” according to Mr. Mallon.
This project is the pilot for future co-collecting activity in the region.  The first selection will include works by Master Carver Jill Benavente, Master Blacksmith Francisco Lizama, and weavers James Bamba and Mark Benavente.

Humanities Guåhan will host a reception with Sean Mallon and Nina Tonga at their headquarters to celebrate the partnership with Te Papa and honor the selected artists. The reception will take place on Thursday, May 26 at 5 p.m. at Suite 106, Reflection Center, 222 Chalan Santo Papa, Hagatna, Guam.

The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) combines science, art and history, and has special strengths in Māori and Pacific taonga (treasures). In a country of only four million people, Te Papa welcomes well over a million visitors a year, making it one of New Zealand’s leading tourist attractions.  For more information see
Humanities Guåhan is an independent non-profit organization that presents and supports public humanities programs and projects for the people of Guam and has expertise and long-term experience in supporting and presenting the history, arts and cultures of Guam. For more information see


Read an article about the Co-Collecting project published by Radio New Zealand:

Read about the Co-Collecting project on the Te Papa museum website:

Media contacts
Guam: Kimberlee Kihleng, at 472-4461/0 or email
New Zealand: Kate Camp, Te Papa communications manager 029 601 0180 

Check out these photos of the co-collecting project reception held at Humanities Guåhan taken by Manny Crisostomo: