Posts categorized as Antarctica

David Riley, who works in our Digital Collections and Access team, is digitising 190 film reels – the contents of which hasn’t been seen for 70 years. Find out what he’s found so far. Discovering the film reels Since joining Te Papa I have been curious about a collection of 16mm and 8mm films stored… Read more »

Sir James Hector and the Kerguelen connection

  • Lyallia kerguelensis, Ile Mayes, Iles Kerguelen. Image: Colin Miskelly, IPEV / Te Papa
  • Hectorella caespitosa, Sealy Range, Southern Alps. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa
  • Commerson's dolphin, Golfe du Morbihan, Iles Kerguelen. Image: Colin Miskelly, IPEV / Te Papa
  • Hector’s dolphin. Image: Steve Dawson, New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust

The Kerguelen Islands are among the most remote islands on the planet, lying in the middle of the southern Indian Ocean about 7300 km west of New Zealand (or 17,000 km east if you prefer). Yet they have at least two unlikely connections with New Zealand – a plant and a dolphin. And both are… Read more »

The mysterious attraction of the Hutt River to crabeater seals

  • Crabeater seal, Melling, Lower Hutt, July 1934. Image: John Salmon, Te Papa image MA_A.000173
  • Weddell seal, Napier, June 2007. Image: Department of Conservation
  • Ross seal, Paekakariki, September 2002. Image: Department of Conservation
  • Crabeater seal beside the Hutt River, March 2015. Image: Anneke Mace, Department of Conservation

In late March 2015, a crabeater seal swam up the Hutt River (which flows into Wellington Harbour) and died. It was a remarkable occurrence – the crabeater seal is an Antarctic species rarely recorded in New Zealand – but no-one realised at the time that this was precisely the place in New Zealand where a… Read more »

Colossal Squid #2: Update

squid eye

Te Papa’s second colossal squid, Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, is part of the displays for the upcoming Te Papa Open House on 25th July 2015 – a part of the 150th celebrations for the Wellington City as capital of New Zealand. The squid was caught in the Ross Sea in early 2014, by Captain John Bennett on board the San Aspiring,… Read more »

Expedition and Rescue: Te Papa’s Medals

  • Hooker medal reverse
  • Hooker medal obverse
  • R & A Medal reverse
  • R & A Medal obverse

A relatively little known but fascinating area of Te Papa’s vast collection is its coins and medals. Medals are not only used to recognise military achievements – many of the medals in the collection, and those that I have been looking at, commemorate other events and achievements. Some medals were made to honour a person’s life,… Read more »

Antarctic blog #8 – The end of the world

  • The author reflected in the ceremonial South Pole marker. The marker is partially surrounded by the flags of the 12 original signatory nations to the Antarctic Treaty. The New Zealand flag is to my left. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, situated alongside the Geographic South Pole. US Antarctic Research Program staff gave us a brief tour of the base and described some of the research underway there. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Previous years' South Pole markers housed inside the USARP Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • The author standing beside the 2014 Geographic South Pole marker. Image: Colin Miskelly

For many people, Antarctica and the South Pole are synonymous. However, Antarctica refers to an entire continent, more than 6,000 km on its longest axis, while the Geographic South Pole is a specific point in the continent’s interior (i.e. the southern point of the axis around which the earth rotates). Most people who visit Antarctica… Read more »