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A Natural History of Christmas Part 2: Underneath the mistletoe…..

Red mistletoe (Peraxilla tetrapetela) Temple Stream, Ram Hill, Otago. Photo: Leon Perrie.

Christmas trees, carol singing, Christmas stockings – many Northern Hemisphere Christmas traditions have been brought to New Zealand. One that we haven’t ‘embraced’ is kissing under the mistletoe. I wonder why not? Is it because of our reserved kiwi natures or is it our mistletoes…….? There are around 1300 species of mistletoe worldwide and all are… Read more »

Christmas Treasures from Te Papa

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  • 1948-0005-3; Party, Christmas Eve; Circa 1930; Richardson, H L.
  • 1948-0005-3; Party, Christmas Eve; Circa 1930; Richardson, H L.

Seasonal Treasures from Te Papa In global terms, Aotearoa New Zealand is not a religiously observant nation. But we have long taken pride in being a tolerant one. Many of us thoroughly enjoy our Santa parades, carol services and, among cultural enthusiasts, full-on performances of Handel’s Messiah. It is difficult to imagine a publicly displayed… Read more »

Westland Petrels weathering the storm…mostly!

  • Tree fallen in the Westland Petrel colony showing a petrel burrow inspection lid (white object 1/2 buried in the ground) amongst the uprooted roots of the tree. Image Susan Waugh, Copyright Te Papa.
  • Viewed from the screen of the burrow-scope we get a clear view of the petrel chick inside the burrow. Image: Susan Waugh. Copyright Te Papa.
  • A classic sign of petrel activity in the mud-stone of Westland's Punakaiki coast. Birds climbing up the steep terrain make claw-marks in the soft substrate. This bedrock also proves a slippery base for the overlying topsoil, which has slipped off in large areas in and around the Westland Petrel colonies monitored by Te Papa researchers in 2014. Image: Susan Waugh, Copyright Te Papa.
  • A juvenile Westland petrel. We banded all young birds at the study colony, to track their survival to recruitment to the breeding population in 4-5 years time. Image: Susan Waugh, Copyright, Te Papa.

New Zealand has an amazing diversity of seabirds. Around 1/3 of the worlds 348 species are found in New Zealand waters, with a high number of endemic and threatened species among them. Te Papa has a long-term research programme on Westland Petrels, a species that nests in the coastal cliffs near Punakaiki, on the West… Read more »

A student’s personal response to Colin McCahon

Robert Burrowes's personal response to Colin McCahon's Walk (Series C)

Earlier this year over 60 visual art and art history students from Wellington region colleges attended a study day at Te Papa to learn about Colin McCahon. To open the day, Te Papa curator Rebecca Rice gave students an overview of McCahon’s life and outlined main themes in his work. Students then took part in workshops led by… Read more »

Zine-making student workshops with Kerry Ann Lee

Close up of student's zine art work, Wellington College

Te Papa recently commissioned local artist Kerry Ann Lee to make a new work for the light boxes in the Whare Toi / Art Studio space in Nga Toi / Arts Te Papa on level 5.  Her work Knowledge on a beam of  starlight  is conceived of as ‘The Incredible Dream Zine Machine’ – and invites visitors… Read more »

A silver ribbon of bayonets

Berry projection

‘Sometimes they marched with fixed bayonets and you saw this silver ribbon come winding through the crowd…’  Ena Ryan This wonderful, almost cinematic line comes from an interview with Ena Ryan, a Wellingtonian who was born in 1908. In the interview she vividly recalls the outbreak of the First World War, and the trips with her father… Read more »

Rongoā Māori | Māori Medicine Part 2

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Tēnā ano tātou – thank you for all of your support for last week’s blog! It is such an extraordinary privilege working with our Kaumatua and Kuia and sharing their kōrero with you. Feeding back the response from all the readers is ‘icing on the cake’. Here is our next instalment by our Kuia, Rihia Kenny, about… Read more »

Five Minute Quiz… Niue Language Week 2014

Fakaalofa lahi atu! This week is Niue language week and the theme is ‘Fakaako, Fakaaoga, Fakamau-Kia Mauokafua e Vagahau Niue – Learn, Use, Retain – Maintain our Vagahau Niue’. Te Papa’s Pacific Cultures collections have around 290 artefacts associated with Niue, including katoua (clubs), kato (baskets), lei (necklaces) and tao (spears). This week we will be sharing some of the… Read more »