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Ed Sheeran

Te Puia looks to early reopening
Photo: Getty Images.

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Te Puia New Zealand Institute of Māori Arts and Crafts hopes to reopen as early as July thanks to a $7.6 million government infusion.

Chief executive Tim Cossar says the cash is an investment in New Zealand heritage and arts that used to be covered by entry fees from international visitors.

It will redesign some aspects of the operation to increase its appeal to domestic tourists, but it is still looking at going from being a $25 million business to one operating on $2 million in revenue.

He says Te Puia’s exposure to the Chinese market gave it an early indication of the likely impact of the coronavirus, and while it laid off 150 staff it was able to keep many of the experts it needs to continue its mission.

"We retained each of the heads of schools and we retained the master carvers and we've retained a core group of the tourism team so it enables us to kind of get back into business so we have those skills in our team here and we will just keep working with them until we get to a point where we can reopen - hopefully sooner rather than later. Initially, we were looking at a September reopening but yesterday's grant probably enables us to bring that forward," Mr Cossar says.

He doesn’t expect the international visitor market to reopen before September or October next year.

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