A Boundless Horizon

Brake Tauranga title image

This is one of my favourite Brian Brake photographs, and it was one of his as well. You can see it exhibited in Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa on level 5 of Te Papa at present, and in my book New Zealand Photography Collected. The only time it has previously been seen was in Brake… Read more »

World AIDS Day

New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt

Today is World AIDS Day. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDs, show their support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate people who have died. Te Papa holds the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt which is made up of 16 large blocks of usually 8… Read more »

Sir James Hector, Hector’s dolphin and Taniwhasaurus

  • The new species of Asplenium fern. Photograph by Leon Perrie, Te Papa
  • Dr James Hector, circa 1868, Wellington, by James Wrigglesworth. Purchased 1916. Te Papa (O.013163)
  • YCMW title 640px
  • Hector's dolphin. Image: Steve Dawson, New Zealand Dolphin Trust

Te Papa will turn 150 years old on 8 December 2015. To celebrate 150 years since the opening of the Colonial Museum in Wellington, the exhibition ‘You Called Me What?! 150 years of scientific discovery at Te Papa’ will be open on Level 3 from late November 2015 until the end of 2016. The exhibition,… Read more »

The Great Ngā Toi Christmas Quiz!

Digital StillCamera

  As promised, here is the great Ngā Toi Quiz! Prizes include: goodies from Ngā Toi store, Belgian chocolates and possibly something liquid! Answer EACH of the following: 1. Where can you find a frightening notice about a murder? 2. Which art work daringly depicts two women lovers? 3. There’s a Picasso in one art work. … Read more »

Want to learn the scaly tree ferns? One could be on your flag

Mamaku, Cyathea medullaris. This is New Zealand’s tallest tree fern. It is characterised by its thick, black stipes (the stalks of the fronds). It is more common in warmer, wetter areas. Photo © Leon Perrie.

Are you getting out and about these Christmas holidays? Then we’ve got the ideal FREE gift for you – the eFloraNZ chapter on the scaly tree ferns. eFloraNZ chapter for Cyathea, the scaly tree ferns. (pdf, 13 MB.) You’ll find scaly tree ferns almost everywhere in New Zealand where there are forests. They can be… Read more »

On the weekend, 33 tattooists from around the world took part in Indigenous Ink 2015 – a tattooing festival held in Auckland at MIT Manukau. Te Papa was there at the invitation of organiser Terry Koloamatangi Klavenes. I had a small role hosting presentations and conversations among the tattooists and their supporters. It was a privilege… Read more »

Speargrass weevils thriving on Mana Island

  • A Wellington speargrass weevil browses on an Aciphylla squarrosa leaf, Mana Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Speargrass (Aciphylla squarrosa) in flower, Mana Island, November 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Feeding sign left by a Wellington speargrass weevil after browsing on an Aciphylla squarrosa flowerstalk, Mana Island, November 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Aerial view of the west coast of Mana Island, January 2015. Speargrass weevils were released at the left-centre of the image, between the track and the cliff-top. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Weevils get a lot of bad press. A few species are serious crop pests or despoilers of cereal products, and they give the rest of the family a bad name. In New Zealand, a dozen or so weevil species and populations are recognised as being threatened with extinction, and Wellington speargrass weevils (Lyperobius huttoni) are… Read more »

Curator’s Picks from the new Ngā Toi/ Arts Te Papa

  • Snake
  • Snake
  • Maori combat with Taiaha and Mere 1906 McDonald James - photocopy
  • Moa

Even before you arrive here, you are guaranteed to be swept off your feet: a massively enlarged version of Alfred Burton’s Milford Sound: Cascade from Mitre wittily tumbles down the steps to Level 4. You must bravely navigate the cascade, as a real treat awaits you! Best painting? This must be Strutt! His View of Mt Egmont,… Read more »