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June 1953: Last month last century

Sixty years ago, Queen Elizabeth II is crowned (2 June 1953) Only selected officials were invited into Westminster Abbey to witness the formal coronation ceremony, so thousands of people lined the route of the coronation porcession in order to see the Queen. Robert Buhler’s lithograph (above) depicts part of the crowd that watched the historic… Read more »

Community art projects

Victory Primary School in Nelson Whakatū has put together an Art Trail which features Rerekētanga Diversity, an art work created in collaboration with Te Papa. Rerekētanga Diversity represents the cultural diversity of the Victory Community as well as the multiculturalism of New Zealand as a whole. Back in 2010, two Discovery Centre Hosts travelled down… Read more »

Le vaiaso o le gagana Sämoa (Sämoan language week) 2013

To celebrate le vaiaso o le gagana Sämoa (Sämoan language week) 26-31 May 2013, the Pacific Cultures curators are highlighting stories related to cultural treasures from Sämoa. We are co-writing these blogs with Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin from Samoan Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. We will publish a blog each day, highlighting historical, and cultural… Read more »

Matariki approaches

Te Papa Tongarewa, 2013

“Whakanuia te Tau Hou Māori ki te Taiopenga o Matariki ki Te Papa. I tēnei tau ka whai tātou i te kōrero mō te whakarauora o Matariki rātou ko āna tamāhine i a Tama-nui-i-te-rā. Ko te mana whakaora tēnei o te ira wahine, o te ira tupua, o ngā whetū o Matariki. Matariki (Māori New… Read more »

What’s going on behind the scenes

There’s been some publicity about Te Papa lately and in particular our commitment to science and the future of the National Collections.  Just so we’re all clear, here are the facts. Te Papa’s commitment to science hasn’t changed, in fact we are strengthening it.  We have not reduced our numbers of practising and researching scientists… Read more »

A tribute to font designer Joseph Churchward (1933-2013)

0019-joseph churchward

We would like to pay a special tribute to Samoan artist Joseph Churchward who sadly passed away last weekend. We were privileged to have worked with Joseph in 2008, when my colleague Sean Mallon (Senior Curator Pacific Cultures) and I curated the exhibition Letter Man: Joseph Churchward’s world of type (2008). I recall well Joseph’s sense of humour… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 6. Terres Inconnues

  • Researchers and logistical support staff unload scientific equipment at the Base at the Crozet Islands in preparation for the field campaign of 2013. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.
  • The field accommodation at Pointe Basse albatross colony can house 6-8 researchers, and is well stocked with provisions to allow monitoring of the colony during ciritical periods throughout the year. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.
  • Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans tracks from Crozet Islands, tracked during our study in the incubation period, March 2013. The pink track is a female, the blue a male.
  • Betsy takes a rest in the albatross colony as a group of young wandering albatross display in the back-ground]. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.

Here at the Crozet Islands most remote field Cabin, Pointe Basse, we’re conducting a study of the personality of albatrosses, and linking their behaviour at sea with those we can measure at the nest. We’re doing this with the aid of an inflatable blue cow, named Betsy. Betsy helps us in testing how nesting birds… Read more »

Above the treeline at 0m altitude

  • Acaena magellanica growing in a dense sward at Pointe Basse, Possession Island. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.
  • Moss forming ridges across a low hill at Pointe Basse. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.
  • Poa cookii surrounding an albatross nest in a field dominated by Acaena magellanica. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.
  • Moss mats and stream near Pointe Basse. Photo: Susan Waugh, Courtesy of Susan Waugh.

Here at the Crozet Islands in the Southern Indian Ocean, at 41 deg S, we’re well north of what is considered ‘inhabitable’ territory in the Pacific Ocean. However, in comparison this far-flung corner of France, midway between Africa and West Australia, Madagascar and Antarctica, where the waters are cooler and the air is moister, the… Read more »