The petrels of Dusky Sound

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  • Broad-billed prion chick, Seal Islands, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Mottled petrel in spotlight beam, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl
  • Mottled petrel, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Have you ever wondered which New Zealand bird was the first to be given a published scientific name? The unlikely answer is the broad-billed prion, named as ‘Procellaria vittata’ by a 22-year-old Georg Forster in 1777. The second species was the little penguin (as ‘Aptenodytes minor’) named by Georg’s father, Reinhold Forster, four years later…. Read more »

Dusky Sound – rich in history and wildlife

  • Mottled petrel, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa
  • Flax weevil (Anagotus fairburni), Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa
  • Adult tawaki / Fiordland crested penguin, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Kakapo on Anchor Island, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa

A team of Te Papa scientists recently visited Dusky Sound as the first stage in an investigation of changes in biodiversity since Cook’s visit in 1773. Cook named the area ‘Dusky Bay’ when he sailed past on his first voyage in March 1770, and explored the sound and its wildlife more thoroughly during a 6-week… Read more »

Feather identification workshop, Whanganui Regional Museum

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In a collaboration between National Services Te Paerangi and Whanganui Regional Museum, Te Papa’s bicultural researcher Hokimate Harwood brought her phenomenal feather identification skills to a community of 30 weavers and bird enthusiasts earlier this year. Hokimate’s feather identification research looks to decode materials and messages within kākahu | feather cloaks. This means bringing together… Read more »

The changing art of tatau: Samoan tattooing

Two Samoan men tattoo a man lying on the floor

Currently on level 5 at Te Papa, the exhibition Whakarakei | Adorned, brings together paintings, prints, and cultural treasures to explore the art of adornment in Māori and Pacific cultures. In the latest issue of Te Papa’s online art magazine, Off the wall, Rebecca Rice and Nina Tonga asked Sean Mallon, Senior Curator Pacific Cultures,… Read more »

It’s that time of year again when people start planning to get into the great outdoors. In particular, it’s the season for walking the Te Araroa Trail, the pathway from Cape Reinga in the North Island to Bluff in the South Island, some 3,000 km. I hiked the South Island leg early this year myself,… Read more »

Ten splendid objects

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Curator decorative art and design Justine Olsen chooses her top ten objects exhibited in European Splendour: 1500–1800. The objects below are mainly decorative and through them we see changes in style, materials, and techniques. They offer a valuable insights into a bygone age and highlight the impact of religion, trade, culture, and the way European society viewed itself…. Read more »

Bug Lab: an educator’s role in creating a blockbuster exhibition

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Museum education specialist Donald James talks about the new Bug Lab exhibition coming to Te Papa on 10 Dec 2016 and introduces a brand new learning resource for teachers. How do you make an exhibition relevant for up to 10 years on 4 different continents? It must activate curious minds, reward inquisitiveness, and inspire wonder…. Read more »

Picking a pocket…or two

Intern Keira Miller in the lab, preparing materials for dyeing. Photo by A. Peranteau, copyright Te Papa.

Have you ever thought about the history of the humble pocket?  This past winter, Keira Miller, an intern from the University of Glasgow’s Center for Textile Conservation, helped us with the treatment of some detachable 18th century pockets for the exhibition European Splendour 1500-1800.   Keira writes about the importance of pockets in 18th century fashion and the… Read more »

How are books printed?

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Have you ever wondered how exactly a modern book is printed? Well, below is a series of photographs showing some of what goes on when a book is on the printing press. In August I travelled to Hong Kong at the invitation of the Asia Society to oversee the printing of their exhibition catalogue Picturing Asia:… Read more »