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 »

Walking billboards: the pervasive impact of the common t-shirt

Counter-protestors Hinemoana Baker and Fionnaigh McKenzie wearing self-made t-shirts. Image copyright: Ann-Marie Stapp.

Collecting fraught and hard-fought aspects of history is part of our role here at Te Papa, and given that last month was Queer History Month, I thought I would look at the acquisition of the Destiny Church ‘Enough is Enough’ t-shirt. These t-shirts were collected in 2012 to be part of the Uniformity exhibition. Though… Read more »

Botanic gardens: our outdoor museums and why they matter

Hobbits enjoying the hobbit hole at the Oldenburg Botanic Garden. Sept 2016. Photo by Heidi Meudt.

My name is Heidi Meudt and I’m a Research Scientist in Botany at Te Papa, currently doing taxonomic research on New Zealand’s native forget-me-nots. As part of my job, I attend scientific conferences in New Zealand and overseas. Over the course of my botany travels during September, I’ve managed to visit five botanic gardens in three different… Read more »

Local botanist awarded the Allan Mere

Aciphylla lecomtei J.W.Dawson, collected 05 Mar 1978, Hector Mts., New Zealand. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (SP065502)

Retired Wellington botanist Dr John Dawson was presented the Allan Mere today. This award, administered by the New Zealand Botanical Society, recognises botanists who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand botany. John’s research as an academic at Victoria University of Wellington focused on the plant families Apiaceae (carrot family) and Myrtaceae (myrtle family). John wrote… Read more »

Guess who’s coming to dinner? Ethel Tweedie’s celebrity table-cloths

What dinner party conversation riled up this well dressed gent?

Following a recent blog post featuring a suffragette signature handkerchief, I became curious about the origins of what is collectively known as ‘signature cloths’. Just when did signature cloths become ‘a thing’ and what was their purpose?  Rozsika Parker, author of The Subversive Stitch, describes signature cloths as a ‘female social tradition by which guests would embroider their signatures for their hostess to commemorate… Read more »

Behind the scenes in 360 degrees

Tory Street Open Day, 2015. Photographer Kate Whitley, ©Te Papa

New technology is making it easier than ever to offer everyone a glimpse behind the scenes at Te Papa. We’ve shared tens of thousands of images collection objects in high resolution, and we’ve opened our venue spaces to Google Maps so that you can peek inside the museum. Recently, we’ve been playing around with some new… Read more »