Posts categorized as Pacific

Threading history through the Aloha shirt: From Hawai‘i to Aotearoa

Aloha shirt

The Aloha shirt is an iconic Hawaiian taonga (treasure) with a rich history and layers of meaning. Assistant Pacific Cultures curator Sonya Withers explores the stories in their designs. If there is any culture across the Pacific rim that can naturally produce clever combinations of colours and the romantic scenery of their islands through the wardrobe of fashion it… 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 »

Collecting the spirit of Hawai‘i through aloha shirts

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  • Kealopiko's Pua Aloalo shirt. Te Papa.
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New Zealand and Pacific collections intern Sonya Withers and history curator Claire Regnault recently travelled to Hawai‘i where they collected 83 aloha shirts with a focus on indigenous Hawaiian designers. Claire Regnault reflects on the connection these designers have with their natural environment and how this inspires their designs. Why aloha shirts? In October, Sonya Withers… Read more »

In acknowledgement of of Tuvalu Language Week which ran from Sunday 1 October – Saturday 7 October 2017, Pacific curator Rachel Yates looks at daily life in Tuvalu through five photographs taken by New Zealand photographer Thomas Andrew (1855 – 1939), who spent a significant amount of time in the Pacific region. Nine islands Whilst on a tour… Read more »

Remembering tīvaevae designer Mama Maria Teokota’i Sila (1938 – 2017)

Mama-Maria-tivaevae

Pacific Collection Manager Grace Hutton and the rest of the Pacific Cultures team acknowledge the recent passing of artist and maker of tīvaevae Mama Maria Teokota’I. Kua ‘aere ki te po, Gone into the night In addition to being a very creative tīvaevae designer, Mama Maria was also a very religious and spiritual woman. She made… Read more »

The distribution of kōwhai and its close relatives throughout the Southern Hemisphere has intrigued scientists, including Charles Darwin, for over 150 years. Recent research led by Lara Shepherd has revealed more about the relationships among this iconic group of plants. Sophora sect. Edwardsia is a group of 19 species of small trees or shrubs mostly… Read more »

Language, culture, and the impact of ‘Slavers in Paradise’

  • C.003104. Arrival of supplies on Atiu Island.  George Crummer, circa 1914
  • O.037817 Beach Penrhyn.  Andrew Thomas, 1886, Penrhyn Atoll (Tongareva)
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Curator Pacific Cultures Rachel Yates takes a look at the book Slavers in Paradise, and a lesser-known episode of Cook Islands and Pacific history. As part of the lead up to Te ‘Epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani (Cook Islands Language week), I made a list of potential reads, mainly historical non-fiction books featuring writers or stories… Read more »