Posts categorized as Whales | Tohorā

Big blue whales in Canterbury

New Zealand’s biggest blue whale is one of the highlights of the Canterbury Museum’s collection. For many years visitors to Canterbury Museum could see the largest blue whale skeleton on display anywhere in the world. The 26.5 metre long whale was stranded at Okarito, on the South Island’s West Coast, in 1908. After preparation, the… Read more »

Science Express – Whales research

Science Express takes place on the first Thursday of every month, here at Te Papa. On Thursday 3 April, Anton van Helden, Te Papa’s Collection Manager, Marine Mammals, talked about current whale research. Listen to Anton’s talk here: http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/ScienceExpress/ScienceExpress_2008-04_The.World.Of.Whales.mp3 The next Science Express, on Thursday 1 May, also links to whales. If you’ve watched Search… Read more »

Whales Fab Fact 6

Blue whale cartoon

Whales Fab Fact 5: big is big… Big whales mean big genitals! A blue whale’s penis can be 3 metres (10 feet) long and 30 centimetres (12 inches) in diameter. The testicles of a blue whale can weigh 45 kilograms (100 pounds) each! Ka whai taihemahema nui ngā tohorā nui! E 3 mita pea te… Read more »

Nguru – flutes from sperm whale teeth

When a sperm whale strands it’s a major event. For Māori it is sometimes seen as a tohu, or sign of something significant. Strandings are always sad, but they can provide rare opportunities for iwi to obtain the jaw bones and the beautifully curved sperm whale teeth. A traditional use for these valuable materials is carving the bone or teeth to make taonga… Read more »

Whales Fab Fact 5

Whales Fab Fact 5: whales are clever! Large animals often have large brains. Dolphins have disproportionately large brains compared to their body size – just like humans. Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent. They belong to a handful of mammals that can recognise themselves in a mirror. This group includes humans, some apes, and some… Read more »

Whales Fab Fact 4

Whales Fab Fact 4: Whale babies Blue whales have the biggest babies in the world! They are more than 7 metres (23 feet) long at birth and weigh 2722 kilograms (3 tons). Did you know? Baby whales don’t suckle like humans. The mother whale forces milk out of her nipple hidden in the mammary slit…. Read more »

Whales Fab Fact 3

Blue whale and a 737

Whales Fab Fact 3: blue whales are big! The blue whale is one of the biggest animals that ever lived on earth. It grows up to 30 metres (98 feet) long and can weigh over 150 tonnes (165 tons). Despite their enormous size, very little is known about blue whales. Their routes through the ocean… Read more »

Whales Fab Fact 2

Whales Fab Fact 2: Whale Sounds Blue whales make sounds below 20 hertz – so low that humans can’t hear them. Ka whakaputa oro te tohorā kahurangi i raro i te 20 waeine iarere – e kore e taea aua oro te rongo e te tangata. Blue whale cartoon by Anton van Helden Hector’s dolphins… Read more »

Fab facts about whales

The Whales Tohorā team came across some amazing info as we put together the Whales Tohorā exhibition. Things we never knew! And we’re lucky that our marine mammal scientist Anton van Helden is a great cartoonist – and loves drawing whales! So now we’d like to share some of this info with you – we’ll… Read more »

Whale music

The long, curved cry of whale song filled Te Papa’s marae in January this year. Richard Nunns, an authority on ngā taonga pūoro (Māori musical instruments), with the New Zealand String Quartet, was here to play a work by New Zealand composer Gillian Whitehead.  Richard Nunns, taonga püoro expert Puhake ki te rangi, translates as ‘spouting… Read more »