Eight Te Papa board members and staff flew to Christchurch for a turtle’s funeral!

The Taxpayers’ Union has unearthed a great story of taxpayer money being wasted. This is the story of Michelangelo the turtle. The summary:

  • Turtle found dead in Banks Peninsula
  • Local marae says they don’t want it so arranged for Te Papa to take it for scientific research
  • Ngai Tahu then decides they do want it, even though local marae said they didn’t
  • Turtle spends 21 months in freezer while return negotiated!! No research is done on it
  • Te Papa staff build a coffin for it
  • Turtle transported back down to Christchurch at cost of $2,000
  • Eight Te Papa board members, executives and staff fly to Christchurch for the funeral (powhiri) costing $5,000
  • Turtle transported by helicopter (yes helicopter) to its burial site for $1,600
  • Total costs of at least $11,500

The sheer extravagance of sending eight board members and staff from Te Papa to return a turtle is galling. And then to hire a helicopter to fly it to an island.

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