The power of lace – making European Splendour 1500-1800, Te Papa

Maker unknown, lace collar, linen, Europe. Gift of Mrs M W Aitken, 1970. Te Papa (PC001724). © photographer Justine Olsen.

Lace is fascinating for its changing and divisive role in history. Desired for its beauty and admired for its technical expertise, the best quality was restricted in use for monarchs and nobility.  While sumptuary laws during the 1500 and early 1600s claimed to protect local industries, lace actually helped identify social rank of the individual…. Read more »

Two new birds for New Zealand – Herald petrel and red-footed booby

  • Red-footed booby on Napier Islet, Kermadec Islands, 2 April 2016. Image: Robert Atkinson, New Zealand Birds Online
  • New Zealand’s first Herald petrel, photographed among the Herald Islets (Kermadec Islands) on 29 March 2016. Image: Steve Wood, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Red-footed booby flying near Napier Islet (Kermadec Islands), 2 April 2016. Image: Steve Wood, New Zealand Birds Online
  • The booby trap – Napier Islet (Kermadec Islands), showing where the red-footed boobies were roosting. Image: Steve Wood

Finding a new bird species for their country of residence is the holy grail for many birdwatchers – and a thrill that few get to experience. Over the last decade, new species have been detected in New Zealand at an average rate of one every 15 months. The finding of two new bird species within… Read more »

Māori Museum Educators – Te Papa meets Tairāwhiti

Pania & Julie

Grass roots programme developing is best achieved by: Not trying to invent the wheel Learning from those who have been in your shoes Targeting an area that shares your demographical target audience – In this case, a predominantly Māori audience Realising a potential win/win situation when it’s staring you in the face a.k.a quid pro… Read more »

Yes to a 164-year-old wedding dress and waistcoat

Sarah Rhodes (nee King) Maryann Rhodes and Williiam Barnard Rhodes, 1858. Copied from an ambrotype lent by Eddie Ryle-Hodges. PA Coll-5601.

Tuesday 27th September was an exciting day for the History team, as we welcomed descendants of prominent nineteenth-century Wellington entrepreneur William Barnard Rhodes and accepted two remarkable items into our collection. Rhodes’ great, great, great grandson Rupert Ryle-Hodges travelled from England to present to Te Papa a silk brocade wedding dress and waistcoat, worn by… Read more »

Bring on the bum roll… Dressing for Splendour

Robe à l’anglaise retroussé or English-back gown, 1770-1780. Te Papa.

Bottoms have been in the news again lately. The conversation has been around what must be the 21st century’s most famous derrière, that of American celebrity Kim Kardashian. Indeed, in May she received a Webby award for ‘breaking the internet’ – a feat achieved with a bare-bottomed shoot for Paper Magazine. More recently British actress Helen Mirren chimed in, praising the celebrity for promoting another body… Read more »

The Fishes of New Zealand wins top international award

Te Papa's fish team

Our fishes team have won with the highest award for zoological publishing – the first time a Kiwi book has even achieved this honour. The Fishes of New Zealand has been awarded the 2016 Whitley Medal by The Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales. The medal is regarded as Australia’s highest award for zoological publishing and this is… Read more »

Queer History objects

Poster titled 'Queer the Night' featuring a unicorn leaping across the moon, trailing a rainbow.

As we near the end of Queer History Month, I’ve been thinking about how objects at Te Papa work together to illuminate aspects of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) life in New Zealand. One particular aspect I’ve noted is how society can both celebrate and marginalise particular groups of citizens regardless of legislation… Read more »

It’s a Bug’s Life: Our journey with science by Kiwi Kids ECC

With our community member, Robyn. Photograph by Kiwi Kids, © Kiwi Kids

In this post, we hear from Mia Wynyard, kaiako at Kiwi Kids ECC. Let’s find out what the ‘It’s a Bug’s Life’ project has meant for this Centre one year on… We are one year on from our ‘It’s a Bug’s Life’ experience and we can’t express just how much our thinking around science and nature has… Read more »

It’s a Bug’s Life – Impact of the project for Imagine Childcare

Making bird feeders, Photograph by Imagine Childcare, © Imagine Childcare

The ‘It’s a Bug’s Life’ education resource is on its way – but what has been the impact of this project so far? In this post, we hear from Imagine Childcare – one of our three ECE partnership groups. They are using the expertise they gained through our research to inform their Department of Conservation (DOC) ‘Habitat Heroes’ project… Read more »