Posts categorized as Research

He huia tangata tahi – there is but one person synonymous with the huia, the chief

photo of kahu kiwi me003714

Ngā rau kura – Precious feathers In 2007 I identified the birds in Te Papa’s Māori cloaks using microscopic analyses of feather down and museum bird skin comparisons. My findings have provided a deeper knowledge of the museum’s natural history and Māori collections but also an appreciation and understanding of Māori bird use at the… Read more »

It’s a Bugs Life Education Project – Update from Imagine Childcare

Creating webs, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa

In 2015, Te Papa is creating a teacher resource to support you to ‘do science’ in your own backyard/outdoor environments – with a focus on the invertebrates who make these places home. It is very exciting to share our first update from one of the three Early Childhood Centres working with us! Thank you Adela, Kaiako (Teacher)… Read more »

Meet three new species of hagfish

Like something out of a horror movie the common hagfish (Eptatretus cirrhatus) bares its teeth. Photo: Carl Struthers. Copyright Te Papa

A new paper by Te Papa researchers and their colleagues from Massey University, NIWA and the Swedish Museum of Natural History, describes not one but THREE new species of hagfish. This increases the total number species found in New Zealand waters to eight. What are hagfish? These strange creatures, also called snot eels, lack jaws… Read more »

South Island Botany Field Trip: weedy highlights

goat's beard, Tragopogon pratensis L., (SP103848). Collected 16 Dec 2014, New Zealand, Canterbury, West Coast Road. Image: Antony Kusabs, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

In early December 2014, three Te Papa Botany Staff embarked on a 11 day field trip from Otago to North Canterbury.  We collected specimens, images and DNA samples of native forget-me-nots (Myosotis) and New Zealand hebes (Veronica). See the first blog in this series for more detail. Along the way, other native (and naturalised) species were also collected for Te… Read more »

South Island Botany Field Trip: native plants from the high country

Notothlaspi rosulatum. New Zealand, Canterbury, Clarence River, Mount St Patrick. Image: Antony Kusabs, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

In late 2014, Te Papa Botany Staff embarked on a 11 day field trip from Otago to North Canterbury.  We collected specimens, images and DNA samples of native forget-me-nots (Myosotis spp.) and New Zealand hebes (Veronica spp.). See the first blog in this series for the detailed itinerary. Along the way, other native (and naturalised) species were also collected for Te Papa’s herbarium.  All… Read more »

South Island Botany Field Trip – Te Papa Botanists in Action!

  • Torlesse.Phil.photobyPhil
  • Broken River Ski Field 4WD photo by Phil
  • Torlesse.Heidi.photobyPhil
  • 21Amuri Notothlaspi 4 Phil

In December 2014, three Te Papa Science Staff embarked on an 11 day field trip from Otago to North Canterbury.  Heidi Meudt – Botany Researcher, Phil Garnock-Jones – Botany Researcher and Antony Kusabs – Collection Manager Sciences collected specimens, images and DNA samples of native forget-me-nots (Myosotis) and New Zealand hebes (Veronica). 11 days, over 3000 km travelled and 114 specimens collected, including 19… Read more »

Making discoveries with our citizen science projects

An undescribed species of jumping spider, eating a fly. Observed by Pete McGregor, Ruahine Range, 13 December 2014. Image Pete McGregor CC BY-NC-ND. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1128770

The spider and fern citizen science projects running alongside the DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition are roaring along. To date, there have been 101 participants and 745 observations in the Spiders with Te Papa project, and 83 participants and 1332 observations in the Ferns with Te Papa project.  Thank you to all these contributors. Phil Sirvid and I… Read more »

Looking at Hei Tiki – Wear Patterns

Hei tiki (pendant in human form), New Zealand, maker unknown. Purchased 1979. Te Papa (ME014129)

I have found that studying patterns of wear on hei tiki can be quite revealing. Most hei tiki are made from nephrite pounamu, one of the toughest and most durable natural materials in existence. This being so I think we can safely assume that surface wear on hei tiki didn’t happen overnight. This wear indicates prolonged… Read more »

Follow citizen science biodiversity discoveries

I get a daily email from NatureWatch NZ listing the New Zealand observations of ferns added that day. This is an easy way to check for observations that are relevant to my research and/or that I can help identify.

Botrychium australe, parsley fern. Image Mike Lusk CC BY-NC. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1366930

NatureWatch NZ is a citizen science website for recording New Zealand’s biodiversity. Many tens of observations are added each day, covering all kinds of life. NatureWatch NZ homepage. The quantity of new observations might seem overwhelming if you’re actually just interested in a particular group – perhaps you: are studying echinoderms, want to share your… Read more »