Posts categorized as Museums

1,500 mud pools: Theo Schoon’s geothermal photographs

Pebble pool at Whakarewarewa, circa 1966, by Theo Schoon. Purchased 2001 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (CA000812/001/0017/0001)

Last year, a four-year project to digitise nearly 1,500 Theo Schoon photographs of bubbling mud and thermal landscapes came to an end. Thanks to the hard work of Image Coordinator Lucy Jackson and Archivist Jennifer Twist all of these images can now be viewed on Collections Online. Jennifer and Lucy share some details of this monumental project… Read more »

Rongowhakaata: Borrowing from iwi to build the exhibition


If you’ve ever wondered what’s involved when museums loan and borrow taonga, you’re in luck: our Loans and Acquisitions Advisor Amy Cosgrove sheds light on the process behind Ko Rongowhakaata: The Story of Light and Shadow, as well as revealing an ‘average’ day. What is your role and what does it entail? I am a loans and acquisitions advisor. With… Read more »

Remembering Te Papa’s opening day

  • Te Papa's opening day 14 Feb 1998. Te Papa
  • Entrance to the Time Warp, 1998. Te Papa
  • Steph's friend early morning at the opening, 1998
  • Crowds in front of Te Papa

20 years ago today, on 14 February 1998, Te Papa opened its doors for the first time. The day was marked by food, music, and celebration. Hay bales laid out on the forecourt lent the occasion a rural, and particularly Kiwi, flavour. New Zealand bands entertained the huge crowds. The sun shone, and the wind blew…. Read more »

Condoms, critics, and controversies: Te Papa’s early days

Protesters in Te Papa

14 Feb marks ours 20th anniversary. Author of ‘Te Papa: Reinventing New Zealand’s national museum’ Conal McCarthy retells some of the early criticisms, controversies, and protests when we opened in 1998. – Extract taken from the book Te Papa: Reinventing New Zealand’s national museum 1998-2018, published this month by Te Papa Press. Art lovers wanted a more… Read more »

Our Curator of Historical International Art, Dr Mark Stocker, is a big LEGO® fan: “I’m a geometrical kind of guy. I love eating Toblerone and if I drove a car it would be a Nissan Cube”. At Te Papa we’re currently hosting Brickman: Wonders of the World until 18 February. Mark therefore jumped at the opportunity to interview… Read more »

Conserving Rongowhakaata’s fragile ‘Iron Man’

Injecting stabilisers, 2017. Photo by Rachael Hockridge. Te Papa

One of the significant taonga exhibited in Ko Rongowhakaata: The Story of Light and Shadow is a nose-less poutokomanawa (centre post) called Rongotueruora, affectionately known as ‘Iron Man’ due to his iron shoulder pads and rāpaki (skirt). This taonga was in a very fragile state when conservator Nirmala Balram came to inspect him. Nirmala takes… Read more »

A trip to remote Tokelau: Life a few metres above sea level

Aerial view of Atafu atoll

The Pacific island nation of Tokelau is one of the most remote places on the planet, and, with the entire country sitting metres above sea level, one of the most under threat from climate change. Media creator Kate Whitley describes the journey to this vulnerable ‘necklace of small islands’. In November 2017 a small group… Read more »

Cigarette packets and chocolate boxes: How we used to store our collections


Storing collections in the right space and environment is incredibly important in museums – so would you be surprised to see natural history specimens stored in colourful vintage cigarette packets? Curator Alan Tennyson and conservator Robert Clendon shed light on past practice. Modern museum storage involves rows and rows of uniform beige and grey boxes,… Read more »

Te reo Kiwi: Are you using Māori every day?

  • Te Papa
  • Fridge
  • Weaving family together
  • Manu

Te Papa is always looking for creative ways to promote te reo Māori. What are some of the ways we’re doing that? How’s the whānau? What’s your favourite kai? Can you count to tekau? Some New Zealanders use Māori kupu in everyday conversation, dropping Māori words into English. If that’s you, then you’re talking what… Read more »