Posts categorized as Photography

Curious: Miss Matilda Sanville – the smallest lady in the world


This portrait of Matilda Sanville – the smallest lady in the world (also known as ‘the Fairy Queen’) – was taken in Sydney in 1875 in connection with her appearances in the city and before her tour to New Zealand. The portrait uses known studio portrait conventions of the time to convey Sanville’s size (a… Read more »

More Macey – recent photography acquisitions


Te Papa recently acquired more cabinet card photographs by Blenheim photographer, William H. Macey. Macey’s photographs are a great example of the strength of photography occurring in the regional centres of New Zealand during the late nineteenth century and up to World War I. You can read more about Macey and see more of his… Read more »

Long she reigned over us: Queen Victoria at Te Papa

  • Victoria 13
  • Victoria 12
  • Victoria 10
  • Victoria 9a

With Queen Elizabeth II’s lengthy reign (my entire lifetime, and more!) now overtaking that of Queen Victoria, it makes sense to look at some of Te Papa’s fascinating and diverse objects that relate to the earlier monarch and empress. I can’t hope to summarise what Queen Victoria was like – that requires not a blog… Read more »

A Bird in the Hand: How to catch a Westland Petrel

A Bird in the Hand: A Westland Petrel is gently held by Te Papa scientist Jean-Claude Stahl after being weighed.
Photo: Kate Whitley, 2015 © Te Papa

The last vestiges of light are fading over Paparoa National Park, Westland in the South Island of New Zealand. As the skies darken, a magnificent silhouette can be seen soaring above a small group of scientists. Soon one silhouette becomes many and within fifteen minutes of the first sighting, birds begin to plummet down into… Read more »

WWI case studies of courage and despair

Thirteen unidentified WWI soldiers mending boots at Oatlands Park England,1918

In May this year, Road to Recovery: Disabled Soldiers of World War I closed, after its ten-month-long display at Te Papa. This exhibition, which explored how New Zealand soldiers disabled by World War I were supported to regain their economic independence, included 8 sepia photographs of limbless soldiers demonstrating new work skills they were taught while… Read more »

Collecting childhood: Objects and stories from kiwi kids

Maya Shaw, one of the children in Te Papa’s Collecting childhood project, 2012. Maya donated her favourite dress and an amber bead necklace, shown in the picture. Photograph by Ken Downie. Te Papa

  One thing we all have in common is we’ve all been kids. Some of us still are. But have you ever wondered how your childhood experiences might provide insights into wider society? Studies into childhood provide information about changing ideologies around parenting, social welfare, education, health and wellbeing, as well as more general trends… Read more »

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap!

  • Coates, Isaac. E Ranguera. Rangiahaeta's wife. The woman that was killed at the "Wiaroi". [1843?]. Ref: A-286-015. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • NON-ATL-P-0078 Hills above Tuamarina by Francis Dillon bell
  • O.004170 Land of memories, The monument at Tuamarina 1988 Mark Adams
  • Charles Heaphy Rangiaeata. 1840. Ref C-025-022 ATL

Stories from He iti whetū : Ngāti Toa portraits Ngā Toi Arts Te Papa: Kanohi Kitea Māori & Pacific Encounters THE BLENKINSOP INDENTURE The 1832 deed for the purchase of the Wairau valley from Ngāti Toa by Captain John William Dundas Blenkinsop. part one The 1832 Blenkinsop Indenture is best known for two things. Firstly,… Read more »

Cold comfort photography

photo camp

 It is the beginning of June in New Zealand and if you are a photographer it is the perfect time to go camping. Despite the dire warnings from his friend (referred to as ‘Titfaddle’) concerning the folly of making a six week camping trip in the middle of winter, Alfred Burton and his son Harold, left Dunedin for Lakes Te Anau and… Read more »

Tony Whincup, photographer, 1944–2015

O.033021 crop to square

We learnt with sorrow and regret that photographer and educator Tony Whincup passed away recently. Tony photographed periodically in the remote islands of the Pacific nation of Kiribati over four decades, creating an extensive photographic documentation of its people and their culture. Te Papa purchased 47 of Tony’s photographs on Kiribati dance in 2005, and at the time of… Read more »