Colossal squid gifted to Te Papa

  • Jim Anderton
Fisheries and Aquaculture

Signing of Deed of Gift between Te Papa Tongarewa and Ministry of Fisheries, giving over the colossal squid to the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tory St Research Facility, 169 Tory St.

It's good to be with you today and to at last be able to see this wondrous creature from the depths of the Ross Sea. There has been so much excitement around the world about this find – when it was announced almost exactly a month ago, I had calls from media from the BBC in Britain, from New York, from Australia and from Singapore, not to mention a huge number of calls from New Zealand media.

And no wonder – this is the largest and probably the most intact adult colossal squid ever to be caught. As Minister of Fisheries it gives me a special pride to know that it was a New Zealand vessel and a Ministry of Fisheries observer that were able to bring to the scientific community and the rest of world this amazing specimen.

The co-operation and care of the fishing crew and the observer were vital in getting it safely aboard and safely ashore. The vessel was the San Aspiring, owned by Sandford Ltd, who are based in Timaru.

This is an incredibly exciting find but it's no easy thing to know what to do with a creature weighing about 450 kg and measuring around 10m metres in length.

A big thank you must go to Sandford, represented here today by Greg Johannson. The company carefully stored the colossal squid in their Timaru coldstore until last week, when it was trucked up to Wellington. It probably made things a bit cramped but they were patience itself.

This gave Te Papa the time to make room in their freezer. And it is here because the government wants the squid to be kept in New Zealand in perpetuity for scientific research.

For this reason this Deed of Gift has been drawn up from the Ministry of Fisheries to the Museum of New Zealand. In signing the Deed with Dr Seddon Bennington, CEO of Te Papa, I have every confidence that that this wonderful creature will be well taken care of and ongoing examination of this giant will help to unlock some of the mysteries of the deep ocean.