The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


He Tohu project costs

13 July 2017

Note: (This information has been updated here: Finalised costs - 28 August 2017* (PDF, 380KB)

The He Tohu project has delivered a permanent, state-of-art exhibition of our three key founding documents, preserving them for future generations and enhancing learning opportunities for all young New Zealanders. The exhibition is expected to be in place for 25 years or more. All New Zealanders now have greater access to the documents than ever before.

There has been ongoing public interest in the cost of this project. The project was completed on 30 June 2017. The Department will be able to report the actual costs of the project, in line with usual end-of-year reporting expectations.
The He Tohu project has a capital budget of $7,237,000 and an operational project budget of $799,000. A breakdown of the forecast expenditure for the He Tohu project is provided in the tables below.

Capital Project Spend

Schedule of Forecast Costs

Construction Costs - Main
2, 124, 000
Detail Design
Construction Costs - Interactives
Project Team and Contract Management
Construction Costs - Display Cases
Advisory Groups and Translations
Other Costs
Security Risk Assessment
Advertising and Publicity

Operational Project Spend
Planning Design
Project Team
Moving Ceremony
Other Costs
Advisory Costs
Advertising and Publicity

Spending has been closely managed throughout the duration of the project, and we expect final project spending to be in line with forecast. The project involved a number of contracts for construction, specialist preservation case construction, exhibition development. Normal retention clauses will apply to these contracts.

The documents are housed in specially made display cases, manufactured by German company Glasbau Hahn. These cases monitor light intensity, temperature and humidity levels to ensure the documents are preserved for generations to come. With optimised controls, the documents will be preserved for another 500 years. The exhibition also includes in-depth research and interactive components, such as the biographies accessible through the touch screen document tables, to create a unique learning experience for all visitors.

The majority of the move ceremony costs ($137,508) were paid for by the project with the balance funded through Archives New Zealand and National Library operating budgets. These costs included staff overtime, staff travel, catering and vehicle hire. The total cost of the move ceremony was $154,723.

Promotional activity was an important aspect of launching He Tohu. Approximately $274,000 has been spent on this, which is consistent with normal exhibition promotional activity. These costs sit outside the project budget as it relates to the public operating of He Tohu.

We are very comfortable that we have managed this project in a fiscally responsible way. As a point of comparison, the successful Gallipoli temporary exhibition at Te Papa cost $8 million to develop.

Given the value and importance of the three documents, the Department has successfully delivered a high-quality, value for money permanent exhibition. Visitor numbers reached 10,000 only 8 weeks after opening, surpassing the average number of visitors to the Constitution Room at Archives New Zealand in any given year by up to 4,000. Entry to He Tohu is free for all visitors. While the exhibition is operated as a part of the National Library of New Zealand’s Public Programmes team, the documents on display remain under the care and control of the Chief Archivist.

The exhibition provides a state-of-the-art environment that will help ensure the documents continue to be preserved and accessible for the next 500 years.