Colin McCahon’s Northland Panels travels north to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

  • Painting conservator Sarah Hillary, painting conservator Tijana Cvetkovic, curator Caroline McBride, curator Catherine Hammond and conservation scientist Tom Learner. Image courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki
  • During installation of Northland Panels. Image courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki
  • Sarah Hillary, Tom Learner and Tijana Cvetkovic discussing the painting's surface. Image courtesy of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki
  • The painting installed in the gallery. This image has All Rights Reserved. Image © Courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust

Earlier this year I travelled to Auckland Art Gallery with one of Te Papa’s masterpieces, Colin McCahon’s Northland Panels, 1958, which is the centrepiece of the exhibition Modern Paints Aoteraroa. This was the first time in 25 years that the iconic painting has travelled to another institution, and the first time in five years that… Read more »

Penguin update – Wellington & Malborough news

  • Penguins from Wellington nest sites are caught at the beach and have loggers retrieved. Photo Susan Waugh. Copyright Te Papa.
  • Quarantine at DOC
  • Little penguin foraging track from Marlborough
  • Little penguin track Wellington

Since we blogged 2 weeks ago, the Te Papa team working on little penguins has started a second front of activity in Marlborough, based at Motuara Island in Queen Charlotte Sound. Almost all of the birds from the Wellington Harbour nests have had their tags retrieved, and are going to either locations within the harbour or… Read more »

Recent acquisition – ambrotype of a couple in front of a wall

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  There is so much to admire about this beautiful ambrotype recently acquired for Te Papa’s photography collection – look at the couple’s cheeks touched up by hand in pink, their jewellery and clothing. I also like that the couple are posed in front of an ornate wall (also given a touch of green by the studio painter), which gives the portrait… Read more »

Five Minute Quiz …Tokelau Language Week 2014

Malo ni! This week is Tokelau language week and the theme is ‘Taofi ke mau ki tau aganuku Tokelau- Hold fast to your Tokelau Culture’ Te Papa’s Pacific Cultures collections have around 314 objects associated with Tokelau including ili (fans), toki (adzes) and model vaka (canoes). This week we will be sharing some of the collection highlights with you… Read more »

A blue fairy, pink candy, a crab-lipped spider, several donkeys and a flying duck.

  • Lilac sun orchid (Thelymitra cornicina), Maringup. Photo: Leon Perrie.
  • Slender hammer orchid (Drakaea gracilis), Albany. Photo: Lara Shepherd.
  • Tall leek orchid (Prasophyllum elatum), Balingup. Photo: Leon Perrie.
  • Flying duck orchid (Paracaleana nigrita), Maringup. Photo: Leon Perrie.

Not only do south-western Australian orchids have imaginative common names but their flowers are arguably some of the most stunning in this biodiversity hotspot. The flowers of the 320 or so species have a wide range of colours and shapes. Many orchids don’t produce nectar to attract insects to spread their pollen, instead using deception… Read more »

An invasion of pink ragwort.

Pink ragwort plant, coast near Titahi Bay. Photo: Lara Shepherd

If you have recently travelled along SH1 between Wellington and Paekakariki you may have noticed that some of the roadside cuttings and banks are tinged with pink. The culprit is the daisy pink ragwort (Senecio glastifolius). Pink ragwort is native to a small area of coastline in South Africa and was first recorded in New Zealand in Gisborne… Read more »

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 »