Posts written by Te Papa

Martinborough’s cave of bones: How thousands of flightless birds met their end

Adzebill skulls

Fossilised bird grave sites are common in New Zealand, but one particular cave in Martinborough has revealed thousands of bones of flightless birds who plunged to their deaths. Curator of vertebrates Alan Tennyson describes how over thousands of years rare and extinct birds such kakapo, kiwi, North Island takahe, and moa fell through the concealed… Read more »

When the World of Wearable Arts show is in town we like to join the festivities by handing over our shop windows to students from Wellington High School and Queen Margaret College. The year 13 fashion and materials technology students display their own striking wearable art creations as part of their course. We give the… 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 »

Putting the pieces back together after the earthquake

A lady in a white lab coat paints a canoe prow

On 14 Nov 2016 an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale shook Wellington awake. All-in-all Te Papa’s buildings and its collection were virtually unscathed. Out of over two million collection objects, only nine were damaged. One of the damaged objects was a plaster cast replica of an 18th century tauihu (canoe prow). Charlotte Jimenez,… Read more »

Classic rugby photos by photojournalist Peter Bush, in his own words

  • Rugby player Charmaine Smith avoids a tackle from an Australian player
  • Rugby player Israel Dagg jumps onto teammates in celebration
  • A man lies on the ground while another man offers help
  • All Black Michael Jones runs with the ball past a French rugby player

Photojournalist Peter Bush has been photographing the All Blacks and New Zealand rugby since 1949, on assignment for The New Zealand Herald. In his 70-year career he has captured such legends as Meads, Whineray, Kirkpatrick, and McCaw, numerous World Cups, and documented such tours as the All Blacks in apartheid South Africa and the Springboks’… Read more »

Te Papa curators respond to Donald Trump’s refugee ban

1977-0017-3. Rudolf Gopas. Rocky coast, Kaikoura. 1959. Oil on hardboard. Purchased 1977 with Lindsay Buick Bequest funds.

In the wake of US President Donald Trump’s order to ban refugees entering the country, cultural institutions across the globe have been vocal in protest. Here Te Papa curators share their thoughts. He aha te mea nui o te ao? Māku e kī atu – he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most precious… Read more »

War by post and bullet

  • Issued one penny British ’Penny Black’ stamp, 1840, United Kingdom, by Charles Heath, Frederick Heath. Purchased 2004. Te Papa (PH001330)
  • Philatelic ’cover’ [envelope], 6 November 1865, Maketu, by Emily Kirby. Purchased 2001. Te Papa (PH000889)
  • Philatelic ’cover’ [envelope], 20 March 1864, Auckland, maker unknown. Purchased 2001. Te Papa (PH000914)
  • Philatelic ’cover’ [envelope], March 1864, Waikato, by Corporal John Randall. Purchased 2001. Te Papa (PH000923)

Scott Flutey, a summer scholar from Victoria University of Wellington, has just finished an Honours year in History. He dives into the world of stamps and postal history. I’m currently researching the Gerald Ellott philatelic collection at Te Papa as part of the three-year Soldiers of Empire research project, led by Professor Charlotte Macdonald and Dr Rebecca Lenihan…. Read more »

Collecting is in our bones: our youngest exhibitor shares his story

Eric and his mum stand beside some of his dinosaur collection

From tin toys to antique Chinese wood figures, Star Wars memorabilia and elephants – for the past 18 years, Te Papa has displayed peoples’ precious collections in Inspiration Station, one of four children’s discovery centres in the museum. But this summer will be the last chance for visitors to see items collected by the public on… Read more »