New Zealand Museums Standards Scheme 

Museum Standards Scheme

What is the Standards Scheme?

The New Zealand Museums Standards Scheme Ngā Kaupapa Whaimana a Ngā Whare Taonga o Aotearoa supports museums, galleries and iwi to reach new levels of professionalism. It’s a tool for continuous improvement, for any organisation ­– large or small.

The Standards Scheme is a free, practical, and user-friendly tool to see where you're doing well, and to identify areas needing improvement. Organisations can participate in the Standards Scheme in two ways: through a formal review process, or by using the manual as a resource guide for operating and governing your organisation.

The Standards Scheme is made up of five modules:

  • Governance, management and planning
  • Care of collections and taonga
  • Public programmes (including exhibitions)
  • Customer service
  • Relationships with communities

To complete the Standards Scheme you need to participate in all five modules. If your organisation doesn't have a collection some parts of the 'Care of collections and taonga' module will still apply.

What are the benefits?

  • Guidance in meeting approved standards of museum practice
  • Knowledge that you are doing a good job and where improvements need to be made
  • Gives donors and lenders confidence that your museum can properly care for its collections
  • Gives funders and sponsors reassurance that your museum manages its resources responsibly
  • Gives Māori assurance of a museum's commitment to honour the responsibilities of the Treaty of Waitangi Te Titiri o Waitangi

Each organisation is entitled to one free copy of the Standards Scheme manual.

Participating in the Standards Scheme

In the formal review process you review your own practices against the standards in the manual, then a further review will be conducted by a visiting bicultural pair of peer reviewers.

Here's how the process works:

  1. Contact us and receive your free folder.
  2. Complete the registration and self declaration forms and send them to us.
  3. We will send you the five Standards Scheme modules on a USB stick, or you can complete the modules on the hardcopy modules in the folder.
  4. Once completed you send the modules back to us.
  5. We will them set you up with two peer reviewers who will visit your organisation and meet with you and other staff, trustees etc.
  6. Once the peer review is complete a follow up process will be put in place.

We're here to help. So if you have any concerns while undertaking the Standards Scheme, please contact us.

Using the manual as a resource

You can use the manual informally, as a resource guide for operating and governing your museum.

Register for the Standards Scheme

Download the following two forms in Word or PDF format.

Self Review Declaration Form (DOC, 107kB)

Self Review Declaration Form (PDF, 68.5kB)

Self and Peer Review Registration Form (DOC, 75kB)

Self and Peer Review Registration Form (PDF, 68.5kB)

Once you have completed the forms, send them to:

National Services Te Paerangi
Te Papa
P O Box 467

or email them to