One out of the glory box – An itsy bitsy teenie weenie….

Betty Curnow's bikini as worn on Shoal Bay during the 1950s. 
Photograph courtesy of Anna Miles.

Well not quite yellow polka dot but a bikini made from a shirt worn in one of New Zealand’s most iconic portraits. This treasured textile was shared by Auckland art dealer, Anna Miles, and is one of many images shared on Instagram and Twitter using our hashtags #Tivaevae #Textiletreasures   This bikini top belonged to… Read more »

The Lethbridge Sisters – inspiring designers a century on

Students from Massey Univesities

The industrious Lethbridge sisters Earlier this year Te Papa was approached by Red Strand Design. Based in Cork and London, the company specialises in design-based cultural and education projects. They invited us to take part in Passion & Legacy, a project inspired by the incredible stitch work of the ‘Lethbridge Sisters’, Julia Baroness Carew (1863-1922) and Lady Jane Cory (1865-1947)…. Read more »

South Island Botany Field Trip – weedy highlights

goat's beard, Tragopogon pratensis L., (SP103848). Collected 16 Dec 2014, New Zealand, Canterbury, West Coast Road. Image: Antony Kusabs, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

In early December 2014, three Te Papa Science Staff embarked on a 11 day field trip from Otago to North Canterbury.  Heidi Meudt – Botany Researcher, Phil Garnock-Jones – Botany Researcher and Antony Kusabs – Collection Manager Sciences were collecting specimens, images and DNA samples of native forget-me-nots (Myosotis) and New Zealand hebes (Veronica). 11 days, over 3000 km travelled and 114 specimens… Read more »

South Island Botany Field Trip – native plants from the high country

Notothlaspi rosulatum. New Zealand, Canterbury, Clarence River, Mount St Patrick. Image: Antony Kusabs, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

In late 2014, three Te Papa Science Staff embarked on a 11 day field trip from Otago to North Canterbury.  Heidi Meudt – Botany Researcher, Phil Garnock-Jones – Botany Researcher and Antony Kusabs – Collection Manager Sciences collected specimens, images and DNA samples of native forget-me-nots (Myosotis spp.) and New Zealand hebes (Veronica spp.). 11 days, over 3000 km travelled and 114 specimens collected, including… Read more »

Hitting the Road for Creative Commons and National Services Te Paerangi

Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand GLAM Road Trip Poster, 2015. © Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

In March and some of April this year I was away from Te Papa going around the country talking with others from the gallery, library, archive and museum sector (GLAMs) for the Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand GLAM Road Trip 2015. The Road Trip provided free workshops and events for the cultural and heritage sector… Read more »

How bazaar! J.F. Lewis and the Bezestein, El Khan Khalil, Cairo

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The English painter John Frederick Lewis (1804–1876)  was a fascinating and brilliant enigma to his contemporaries, and remains so today. He was certainly no pompous, verbose Victorian bore. At a dinner of the Society of Painters in Watercolours, Lewis delivered a memorable presidential address, rising from his seat, saying nothing, and promptly sitting down again…. Read more »

Inadvertently preserving alien invaders

  • New Zealand Pygmyweed (Crassula helmsii) on a rampage in the UK.  © Copyright Seo Mise and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
  • Monterey pine, Pinus radiata D.Don, collected 01 Apr 2009, southern Wairarapa, Lake Onoke, Onoke Spit., New Zealand. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (SP087267)
  • Stoat, Mustela erminea, collected 1929, Unknown, Unknown. Gift of the Wellington City Council, 1929. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (LM000273)
  • Bumblebee specimens from Te Papa's collection. Historic specimens such as these can be important for examining past genetic variation, even from extinct species. Photo: Lara Shepherd

With its long history of isolation from other land masses, New Zealand has been suggested to be an ‘ark’ for unusual species, such as tuatara and moa. But New Zealand has now been found to be a genetic ark for an introduced species – the stoat. A recent study reported that stoats in New Zealand… Read more »

End of the road

Untitled [portrait of a WWI soldier (Allan McMillan) with an amputated arm sitting at a desk at Oatlands Park, Surrey, England], 1918, England, maker unknown. Te Papa (O.031468)

Before or after visiting Gallipoli: The scale of our war, take some time to head up to level 4 to see The Road to Recovery: Disabled Soldiers of World War I. This small-scale exhibition contains sobering content showing the long-term impact of the Great War on individuals, families and communities. In the exhibition, eight large sepia photographs taken… Read more »

Rita Angus: The devil is in the detail

Surrealist painting by Rita Angus

Around 1945, Rita Angus painted a man sitting in an armchair, next to a table of books and a bunch of flowers. Nothing too strange so far, right? Except that there is a devil in a long purple robe creeping up behind him. Not to mention the huge spider crawling on the books, or the… Read more »