Posts categorized as Museums

The decade-long journey of our whales exhibition

Whales Tohora Baleines sign Ottawa 2012. Photographer Pat Stodart Te Papa

After a decade in North America, our Whales | Tohorā exhibition is making its way back south through the Pacific. For anyone who can’t recall the exhibition – it finished showing at Te Papa in May 2008. Here’s a brief recap from Pat Stodart, Touring Exhibition Manager. So what’s inside Whales | Tohorā? The exhibition highlights… Read more »

‘I’ve never seen the gallery like this before’: Experiencing Toi Art through dance

Woman poses in front of Portrait Wall mirror reflecting back to the viewer

Transfixed by BodyCartography Project’s Walk with me tour of Toi Art, Head of Exhibition Renewal Frith Williams wrote down her thoughts in the middle of the night, “so I could remember it later.” Here’s what she wrote. Open. Her face through a gap in a wooden sculpture. It’s the perfect frame – two arms cradling her head…. Read more »

‘Frown for the camera’: The unsettling gaze of the New Zealand wars wounded


Summer scholar Caitlin Lynch has taken a particular interest in a number of photos featuring soldiers badly wounded in battle. Caitlin speculates on why these photographs were taken, particularly after the battle of Te Ngutu o te Manu. Did these photographs generate public sympathy and encourage pensions? Or was it a statement of bravery, commitment, and sacrifice?… Read more »

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 »