A Wellington man has been arrested after a Wellington high school's ball at Te Papa was ruined by a suspicious package.

A man, 27, will appear in court after an "item of concern" was found in a loading dock and reported to police last Friday night.

Te Papa management evacuated the museum as a precaution, forcing the short-notice cancellation of Wellington Girls' College ball. Students arriving at the venue were turned away.

The man appeared in Wellington District Court yesterday charged with wilful damage and burglary.

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He was remanded on bail to reappear on July 2.

Army bomb-disposal experts detonated a suspicious package on the night.

The police said the squad did a series of controlled detonations on the night.

Te Papa chief executive Geraint Martin had told the Herald: "A suitcase was discovered in a part of the museum, in the loading bay. We asked the police to investigate."

He said the suitcase had not been confirmed as a bomb: "We don't know what it is."