David Riley, who works in our Digital Collections and Access team, is digitising 190 film reels – the contents of which hasn’t been seen for 70 years. Find out he’s found so far. Discovering the film reels Since joining Te Papa I have been curious about a collection of 16mm and 8mm films stored in… Read more »

A Children’s Guide to Splendour by Pukerua Bay School Museum

A Children's Guide to Splendour by Isaac du Toit, edited by Paddy Rockwell.

Written for children, by children, Te Papa’s Learning Innovation and Art teams are very excited to share the first book produced by our friends from the Pukerua Bay School Museum. This guide is full of great information relating to life in Europe in the 16th to 19th centuries – inspired by the taonga (treasures) on display in the European Splendour… Read more »

Can you see through paint? Examining a hidden wall mural using infrared reflectography


Linda Waters, Conservator Paintings, shares a technique used in her work to look through layers of paint and uncover a painting that would otherwise remain invisible. Recently we had an opportunity to try to see through paint in the foyer of a building in Taita to find a mural underneath. Bronwyn Holloway Smith from Massey University… Read more »

Remembering Avis Higgs: painter, designer, and ‘a truly awesome woman’

Swan Top, from Laurie Foon's 2005 collection Black Swan. The textile design was created by Avid Higgs in the 1940s.

Last week, we received the sad news that Avis Higgs had passed away just a few days after celebrating her 98th birthday. Avis Higgs was known to many as a painter. She was actively involved in the Architectural Centre Gallery, the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and the Watercolour Society of New Zealand.  She is also… Read more »

Catwalk couture in detail

2001 cartoon commentary on Te Papa's Versace exhibition.

Catwalk glamour This week I’ve been working on couture garments that are destined for display at Expressions in Upper Hutt. The Catwalk to Cover exhibition will include fashions from Te Papa’s collection by international and New Zealand designers alongside photographs that capture the dynamism, creativity and glamour that epitomize the runway fashion show experience. The… Read more »

One million visitors: myriad meanings

Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor applies the finishing touches to the large scale model of Lottie Le Gallais. Photograph by Michael Hall, Te Papa.

Yesterday Te Papa achieved a significant milestone when Gallipoli: The scale of our war’s one millionth visitor and a friend were escorted through the exhibition. That number is almost equal to New Zealand’s population (1.1 million) during the war, 100 years ago. We’ve reached this phenomenal figure in just 18 months since the exhibition opened. That’s a… Read more »

Taking over tomorrow’s museum: Virtual reality and the rise of experience

A lady wearing a VR headset

Technology and the digital world are forever changing the way in which humans experience entertainment, education, work, and day-to-day life. Usually, it can take a while for the public to warm up to experimental innovations, but often they can become unanimous or even necessary. Virtual reality, or VR, is one of these innovations, and it… Read more »

Critters of Taumaka (Open Bay Islands)

Taumaka leech (Hirudobdella antipodum), Taumaka, March 1988. Image: Colin Miskelly

Taumaka is a 20 ha Māori-owned island lying about 4 km off the South Westland coast. Our visit to the island last month was to track foraging trips of breeding tawaki / Fiordland crested penguins, and was undertaken with the permission and support of the Taumaka me Popotai Trust. The island has a large New… Read more »

A new species of fern for New Zealand, Asplenium lepidotum

The abundance of scales on the upper surface of young fronds is a distinguishing feature for Asplenium lepidotum.  These scales appear as black dots.  Photo by Leon Perrie.  © Te Papa.

Finding and naming new species is a core part of the job for Te Papa’s scientists.  More than 2500 animal and plant species have been named by museum staff since 1865.  A recent example is the fern Asplenium lepidotum, described by myself and Pat Brownsey.  This brings the number of indigenous ferns and lycophytes in… Read more »

Prepping a 1905 replica All Blacks jersey for the road

Rugby jersey [1905 replica], 2011, New Zealand, by Robertina Downes, Deborah Cumming, Manawatu Knitting Mills Ltd, New Zealand Rugby Museum. Commissioned 2011. Te Papa (GH017325). After padding out for display.

Recently I blogged about preparing an 18th century gown (now on display in European Splendour).  A few weeks ago, the same skills were applied to a very different type of garment—the replica All Blacks “Originals” 1905 jersey. The jersey will be on display in Hamilton until January 8th in the Waikato Museum exhibition Fernz: an exploration of… Read more »