Posts categorized as Pacific

Conserving plastics: why you should keep your Barbie in the fridge

Two 70s Barbies wearing 70s outfits. Their faces are a much more yellowy/green colour than their bodies

Many people believe that plastic items are indestructible and will last forever. But what if you learnt this wasn’t the case? Conservator, Nirmala Balram, gives us an insight into the science of plastic deterioration and how you should look after your prized plastic possessions. So much plastic The world of plastics is huge. Plastics are… Read more »

Opinion: why we should beware of the word ‘traditional’

Portrait of Albert Wendt; 1996; Photographer: Hamish McDonald

In 1994, four years before the opening of Te Papa, Samoan novelist and scholar Albert Wendt was an advisor for the planned Pacific exhibitions. He requested that we abandon the use of terms like ‘traditional art’ in our labels and display signage. ‘Traditional means nothing to me!’ he said. At the time, I didn’t understand… 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 »

One of the Good Guys: Phantom Shields in Papua New Guinea

Shield (painted with the Phantom character), maker unknown. Purchased 2015. Te Papa (FE013020)

Deep in the jungle of Bangalla lives a masked comic-strip marvel known as the Phantom, a guardian of the innocent who fights against the destruction of injustice. His powerful feats, which stretch over four hundred years, earned him the alias of the ‘Ghost Who Walks’ and the ‘Man who Never Dies’. Despite his perceived immortality,… Read more »

Remembering Tufuga Holoatu Lagatule (1938-2016) – leader among the Pacific communities in Christchurch

Tufuga-Holoatu-Lagatule

Recently the Pacific Cultures team at Te Papa were informed of the passing of one our elders and leaders, Tufuga Holoatu Lagatule. She was born in Niue and came to New Zealand as a teenager in 1957. She became an important figure among the Pacific communities living in Christchurch, in New Zealand’s South Island, where… Read more »

Co-collecting in Guåhan: Inside the Weavers Studio

Mark Benavente and James Bamba

On our recent co-collecting project in Guåhan with Humanities Guåhan we spent time in the workspaces of indigenous Chamorro blacksmiths, carvers and weavers. The next blog in our ‘inside the artist studio’ series delves into the practices of two weaving practitioners, James Bamba and Mark Benavente. Both artists have collaborated on several projects and through their teaching… Read more »