Athol McCredie, Curator Photography, reflects on the life of New Zealand photographer Len Wesney. I was stunned and saddened to learn that Christchurch photographer Len Wesney died tragically in a house fire on 15 August 2017. I spent nearly a day with him in February this year and had planned a return visit soon. Wesney… Read more »

At Te Papa we’re constantly photographing our collection items – whether that be art works, historical objects, or scientific specimens.  Recently, our imaging specialist Jean-Claude Stahl has taken pictures of some bizarre creatures – water bears, also known as tardigrades. Here, Jean-Claude explains why photographing a water bear is such a ‘bugbear’ and bug expert Phil Sirvid fills us in… Read more »

Another extinct bird: Northland’s unique shag

Leucocarbo Tennyson 216

Curator of vertebrates Alan Tennyson discusses another previously unknown New Zealand bird extinction, published in a new article today.  Last month it was revealed that New Zealand had lost its unique swan in prehistoric times. That list of extinctions continues to grow at an alarming rate as research, led by an Otago University team, published… Read more »

In photos: Giant eggs, tiny eggs, and the eggceptionally rare

  • Eggstremes. South Island giant moa and rifleman eggs to the same scale. Specimens ME.012749 and OR.007264 (latter collected by Captain John Bollons at Akaroa, date unknown). Photogtaph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa
  • Laughing owl egg (44.2 mm x 39.5 mm). Locality and date unknown. Specimen OR.030062. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa
  • New Zealand dotterel clutch, Maketu Spit, Bay of Plenty, October 2011. Specimen OR.029416, eggs approx. 45 mm x 32 mm. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa
  • South Island kokako egg (42.0 mm x 27.4 mm), Hokitika, date unknown. Specimen OR.007626. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa

Bird expert Colin Miskelly highlights some of the treasures in our egg collection, including those thought to be held only by Te Papa – as well as giant moa eggs, tiny rifleman eggs, and eggs that were acquired during dramatic events in New Zealand’s conservation history. Digitising our egg collection Most of the bird eggs held… Read more »

Cook Islands Language Week: Language, culture, and the impact of ‘Slavers in Paradise’

  • C.003104. Arrival of supplies on Atiu Island.  George Crummer, circa 1914
  • O.037817 Beach Penrhyn.  Andrew Thomas, 1886, Penrhyn Atoll (Tongareva)
  • IMG_0921
  • Manihiki O.037810

Curator Pacific Cultures Rachel Yates takes a look at the book Slavers in Paradise, and a lesser-known episode of Cook Islands and Pacific history. As part of the lead up to Te ‘Epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani (Cook Islands Language week), I made a list of potential reads, mainly historical non-fiction books featuring writers or stories… Read more »

Another extinct bird: New Zealand’s prehistoric swan

Cygnus chathamensis skeleton

Curator of vertebrates, Alan Tennyson, discusses new findings published today that New Zealand and the Chatham Islands had their own unique prehistoric swan.  Black swans (Cygnus atratus) are a common and prominent part of New Zealand’s wetland fauna today – but have they always been here, or are they recent invaders? For many decades it has been unclear… Read more »

Hei maumaharatanga: Cliff Whiting – Artist, Educator, Rangatira

Man carves

Tena koutou i o tatou tini mate koutou kua wheturangitia ki te korowai o Ranginui koutou kua wehe atu ki te po ki te tua o Te Arai ki te okiokinga i o tatou tupuna haere, haere, haere When I spoke to a cousin of mine about Cliff Whiting’s recent passing, she talked about the… Read more »

Cliff Whiting: Visionary, innovator, tōhunga, teacher, scholar, master artist

Man stands in foreground with marae in the background

It is with enormous sadness that Te Papa acknowledges the passing of Cliff Whiting (6 May 1936–16 July 2017). His contribution to Te Papa and the arts in Aotearoa was immeasurable. An esteemed teacher and practitioner of Māori arts, Cliff was appointed Director Director Bicultural Relations for the Museum of New Zealand in 1993, and… Read more »

Buongiorno! Ecco l’arte italiana! Italian Art at Te Papa

Marco Ricci

Ciao a tutti! Dr Mark Stocker, Curator Historical International Art, takes a look at some of the fascinating and beautiful Italian art that’s in Te Papa’s collection. Marco’s journey takes us from Venice to Naples, and through 300 years of history. Andiamo – let’s go! I need zero excuses to explore and celebrate historical Italian art… Read more »

Meeting a man I will never know: Jonathan Mane-Wheoki

Ruby stands with some boxes in Te Papa's archives

Ruby Abraham, a Museum and Heritage Studies student at Victoria University, has spent the last 5 weeks on placement at Te Papa working intimately with the archive donated by Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943-2014). She explains how she’s got to know Jonathan (and the Ke Emu database) through processing and cataloguing his archive. When I began my placement at Te… Read more »