Posts categorized as History

The petrels of Dusky Sound

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  • Broad-billed prion chick, Seal Islands, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Mottled petrel in spotlight beam, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl
  • Mottled petrel, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Have you ever wondered which New Zealand bird was the first to be given a published scientific name? The unlikely answer is the broad-billed prion, named as ‘Procellaria vittata’ by a 22-year-old Georg Forster in 1777. The second species was the little penguin (as ‘Aptenodytes minor’) named by Georg’s father, Reinhold Forster, four years later…. Read more »

Dusky Sound – rich in history and wildlife

  • Mottled petrel, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa
  • Flax weevil (Anagotus fairburni), Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa
  • Adult tawaki / Fiordland crested penguin, Dusky Sound, November 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Kakapo on Anchor Island, November 2016. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa

A team of Te Papa scientists recently visited Dusky Sound as the first stage in an investigation of changes in biodiversity since Cook’s visit in 1773. Cook named the area ‘Dusky Bay’ when he sailed past on his first voyage in March 1770, and explored the sound and its wildlife more thoroughly during a 6-week… Read more »

Feather identification workshop, Whanganui Regional Museum

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In a collaboration between National Services Te Paerangi and Whanganui Regional Museum, Te Papa’s bicultural researcher Hokimate Harwood brought her phenomenal feather identification skills to a community of 30 weavers and bird enthusiasts earlier this year. Hokimate’s feather identification research looks to decode materials and messages within kākahu | feather cloaks. This means bringing together… Read more »

The changing art of tatau: Samoan tattooing

Two Samoan men tattoo a man lying on the floor

Currently on level 5 at Te Papa, the exhibition Whakarakei | Adorned, brings together paintings, prints, and cultural treasures to explore the art of adornment in Māori and Pacific cultures. In the latest issue of Te Papa’s online art magazine, Off the wall, Rebecca Rice and Nina Tonga asked Sean Mallon, Senior Curator Pacific Cultures,… Read more »

Ten splendid objects

Colourful dish

Curator decorative art and design Justine Olsen chooses her top ten objects exhibited in European Splendour: 1500–1800. The objects below are mainly decorative and through them we see changes in style, materials, and techniques. They offer a valuable insights into a bygone age and highlight the impact of religion, trade, culture, and the way European society viewed itself…. Read more »

Picking a pocket…or two

Intern Keira Miller in the lab, preparing materials for dyeing. Photo by A. Peranteau, copyright Te Papa.

Have you ever thought about the history of the humble pocket?  This past winter, Keira Miller, an intern from the University of Glasgow’s Center for Textile Conservation, helped us with the treatment of some detachable 18th century pockets for the exhibition European Splendour 1500-1800.   Keira writes about the importance of pockets in 18th century fashion and the… Read more »

A ‘gamble in human life’: military conscription begins 100 years ago

End view of box used in conscription ballots from 1916-1918

In 1916, after two years of fighting, it was clear that New Zealanders’ loyalty to ‘King and Country’ was competing with other concerns – and fewer men were volunteering. History curator Kirstie Ross takes a look at conscription – introduced 100 years ago to ensure a constant supply of New Zealand soldiers for military service in the… Read more »

Art and Democracy

  • No bus shelter, 1960, by Lois White. Te Papa (1972-0002-1)
  • Aufruhr (Uprising) from Ein Weberaufstand (Weavers' Revolt), 1899, by Käthe Kollwitz. Te Papa (1981-0034-2)
  • Les bêcheurs (The diggers); 1855-1856; Millet, Jean-François; etching and aquatint in brown-black ink with surface tone; paper; etching; France
  • The pancake woman, 1635, by Rembrandt van Rijn Gift of Bishop Monrad, 1869. Te Papa (1869-0001-415)

In this blog, Dr Mark Stocker, Curator Historical International Art, explores the slippery links between art and democracy Following the very recent presidential elections in the world’s second biggest democracy (don’t forget India!) it makes sense to explore the connections between art and that system of government. Victoria Coates, who combines being senior foreign policy… Read more »

Design students inspired by Te Papa’s collections

Botanical inspired placement embroideries by Verity Morison, Fern Grant and Lauren Ewan, 2016. Photo by Claire Regnault.

Each year, the history curators take design students from Massey University though Te Papa’s collections behind the scenes. The students choose an item to inspire their own design and it’s around this time of year we see what they’ve created. Curator Claire Regnault shares some of the fabulous designs.  Refashioning the national wardrobe Each July students from Massey University’s second… Read more »