Recently I travelled to Stratford to attend the opening of Te Papa’s touring art exhibition Gordon Walters: Koru which is currently on show at the Percy Thomson Gallery. The exhibition includes a selection of the artist’s iconic koru works from the mid-1950s until the 1980s from Te Papa’s collection. It also includes rarely seen preparatory… Read more »

Farewell Berry Boys, George, Roy, Frank, and Alfred

Berry Boys exhibition on level 4 April-October 2014

Four of Te Papa’s ‘Berry Boys’ were amongst the 8500 men who left with the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 16 October 1914. These men, in their fresh uniforms, were draper George Hornig (above, in a photo taken in 1912), cabinetmaker Roy Houchen, and Frank Barber, from Wellington, plus Alfred Gower, a… Read more »

A new tree fern

The newly recognised Dicksonia lanata subsp. hispida. Fairly common in the northern North Island, usually in kauri forests. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

New Zealand has a new tree fern – kind of. Te Papa Research Fellow Patrick Brownsey and I have recently recognised a subspecies within the stumpy tree fern, tuokura, Dicksonia lanata.  The new name is Dicksonia lanata subspecies hispida.  It is only kind of a new tree fern, as it was first recognised as something different… Read more »

A silver ribbon of bayonets

Berry projection

‘Sometimes they marched with fixed bayonets and you saw this silver ribbon come winding through the crowd…’  Ena Ryan This wonderful, almost cinematic line comes from an interview with Ena Ryan, a Wellingtonian who was born in 1908. In the interview she vividly recalls the outbreak of the First World War, and the trips with her father… Read more »

Rongoā Māori | Māori Medicine Part 2

  • Rongoa-Kawakawa-Waikanae
  • Rongoa Kawakawa Waikanae_080
  • Rongoa Kawakawa Waikanae_077
  • Rongoa Kawakawa Waikanae_070

Tēnā ano tātou – thank you for all of your support for last week’s blog! It is such an extraordinary privilege working with our Kaumatua and Kuia and sharing their kōrero with you. Feeding back the response from all the readers is ‘icing on the cake’. Here is our next instalment by our Kuia, Rihia Kenny, about… Read more »

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943-2014): An Appreciation

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943-2014), 2009 (Michael Hall, Te Papa)

By the Art Curators at Te Papa: Sarah Farrar, Athol McCredie, Lissa Mitchell, Chelsea Nichols, Justine Olsen, Rebecca Rice, Mark Stocker and Megan Tamati-Quennell The recent passing of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, CNZM, (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kurī, Te Aopōuri, Pākehā), the national museum’s Head of Arts & Visual Culture, leaves not only Te Papa but the wider art… Read more »

The beautiful Kahoa Hihi of Niue Island – Niue language week 2014

  • photograph Salote Talagi
  • photograph Salote Talagi
  • photograph Anthony Liuvaie
  • kahoa 2

This week is Niue Language Week 2014. In this post, guest blogger Salote Talagi writes about kahoa hihi – beautiful shell necklaces from Niue. Materials and manufacture The kahoa hihi is a neck garland (kahoa) made from strings of tiny, distinctively yellow snail (hihi) shells. It is an iconic item of material culture from Niue…. Read more »

Who are the people in your neighbourhood?

  • Ernest Kilby from Island Bay refused to fight. Photo: John Cordner
  • Playing hide n seek in Seatoun. Photo:  Caroline Sarfati
  • Photographer William Berry and his family revisit 147 Cuba St. Photo: Claire Regnault
  • Norman at the top of the Cable Car. Photo: An anonymous friend.

Just as the old Sesame Street song enthuses, take a little walk through your neighbourhood and see who you meet. Chances are that this week you will come across some faces from the past. For bent, the mysterious artist responsible for many magical happenings around the city, from giant pigeons to miniature box cities, has been busy reuniting people of the past with… Read more »

New Zealand’s second nicest-smelling flowers now in bloom!

A cluster of lemonwood flowers. Photo: Lara Shepherd

Have you noticed a strong sweet smell while walking past any trees lately? You might be smelling the flowers of lemonwood/tarata (Pittosporum eugenioides). This native New Zealand tree is better known for its lemon-scented leaves than its flowers, which are small and pale. However, the flowers produce an almost overpowering honey-like fragrance when they bloom… Read more »

Five Minute Quiz… Niue Language Week 2014

Fakaalofa lahi atu! This week is Niue language week and the theme is ‘Fakaako, Fakaaoga, Fakamau-Kia Mauokafua e Vagahau Niue – Learn, Use, Retain – Maintain our Vagahau Niue’. Te Papa’s Pacific Cultures collections have around 290 artefacts associated with Niue, including katoua (clubs), kato (baskets), lei (necklaces) and tao (spears). This week we will be sharing some of the… Read more »