Posts categorized as Pacific

Dance costume Cook Islands style

For this week’s blog, I have selected this Cook Islands costume, for its beautiful arrangement, and striking colours. This striking 1920s pareu kiri’au (hula skirt) from Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, is made from long narrow strips of hibiscus bast fibre. Around the waistband, is blue cloth, with orange and yellow diamonds, which have been machine sewn onto… Read more »

Childhood ailment remembered through Tahitian necklaces

Objects associated with interesting stories, often find their way to the museum, here is a recent example. In May 2009, 13 Tahitian shell hei (necklaces) were gifted to Te Papa’s Pacific Cultures collection by Anton Coppens. These are rare and important examples of hei made in Tahiti during the mid-twentieth century. Necklaces are an essential… Read more »

Avatar and the Pacific language connection

  • Language barrel in Tangata O Le Moana - The story of Pacific people in New Zealand
  • Language barrel in Tangata o le Moana; the story of Pacific people in New Zealand
  • Language barrel - in the Tangata O Le Moana - the story of Pacific people in New Zealand
  • Language barrel DSC03674

It seems the language of the Na’vi, the indigenous people of the planet Pandora, may be the latest addition to the family tree of Pacific languages. In recent publicity surrounding James Cameron’s blockbuster film Avatar, it was revealed that the development of the Na’vi language was influenced by Maori language. As reported by Charlie Gates… Read more »

Pauly Fuemana – making music history

  • Pacific beats mixing booth: Tangata O le Moana exhibition (Te Papa)
  • Pacific beats mixing booth: Tangata O Le Moana exhibition (2008- present) (Te Papa)
  • Sounds Pacific : Mana Pasifika music interactive 1998 (Te Papa)
  • mana pasifika music interactive MA_I014573

Musician Pauly Fuemana died yesterday after a short illness. He was 40 years old. Pauly is from a talented family of musicians, who were pioneers in hip hop and the music industry in South Auckland. He was frontman for the group OMC (Otara Millionaires Club) but is best known for How Bizarre written with producer… Read more »

Font designer: Joseph Churchward

In 2008, I co-curated a small show in our Illot Gallery about Samoan-born graphic designer Joseph Churchward, who has hand-crafted about 570 fonts to date. Last year, Joseph received the John Britten Award, from the Designers Institute of New Zealand, for outstanding leadership, vision and achievement in the field of type design. Here are four of my… Read more »

Awesome artworks arrive in PlaNet Pasifika

  • A gift from Te Papa presented to the Principal of St Bernadette's school
  • Morning tea for our visitors
  • Proud moment
  • Proud moment

You may have noticed when you go to L4′s Discovery Centre, PlaNet Pasifika that there are always very cool and beautiful artworks in the space. They usually hang from the high ceiling. These artworks are created by children from various schools all around New Zealand. Staff go out to certain schools and work with them… Read more »

Ask the feathers

Left: 'amakua hulu manu Kūka'ilimoku (feathered image), 1700s, maker unknown; feathers, animal teeth, pearl shell and plant fibres; gift of Lord St Oswald, 1912. Right: Close-up showing black Hawai'i mamo feathers used for the eyebrow

In early March, Te Papa Tongarewa was asked by an overseas museum if they could borrow ‘amakua hulu manu Kūka’ilimoku (feathered image) for an exhibition. As part of the process to allow or decline a loan, all the materials that make up an object need to be identified. We were unsure of the exact species… Read more »

Porcupine fish on Petone foreshore

Puffer fish helmet, 1900s, maker unknown. © Te Papa.

I had a call yesterday from Wellington’s Dominion Post newspaper needing an expert to identify some fish found washed up on the Petone foreshore.  Andrew Stewart, Te Papa’s fishes collection manager, identified them as porcupine fish. Andrew says that the porcupine fish lives around in-shore reefs, especially along our northern coasts where divers commonly see it… Read more »