Posts categorized as Whales

Whales Fab Fact 9: big breath

Whales Fab Fact 9: big breathers Whales breathe through their blowholes at the surface. When they dive and swim underwater, they hold their breath. Ka hā ngā tohorā mā ngā pehu i te kārewa o te wai. Ina ruku, ina kauhoe hoki i raro i te wai, ka puritia ō rātou hā. A sperm whale… Read more »

Rawiri Paratene – advocate for whales

Rawiri Paratene is well known to New Zealand audiences – as an actor, student activist, and more recently as one of the stars of the movie Whale Rider. You can see Rawiri playing Koro in the film Whale Rider in this video clip on Te Ara: Following the success of Whale Rider, Rawiri has… Read more »

Whales – school holiday fun! Number 2


Colour in a cool cetacean cartoon! Another awesome whale cartoon from Anton van Helden, Te Papa’s marine mammal scientist. Just click on the picture, print it out, and colour however you like – spots, rainbows, stripes…! Wacky whales (pdf, 426 KB) See if you can name all the whales in the picture. If you need… Read more »

Whales – school holiday fun! Number 1

  • Whales
  • Right whale and a boat
  • Different whales to colour in
  • Humpback singing

Colour in a cool cetacean cartoon! Kids, go wild these school holidays with these awesome whale pictures drawn by Anton van Helden, our marine mammal scientist! Just click on the picture, print it out, and colour however you like – spots, rainbows, stripes…! Humpback whale singing (pdf, 180KB) Want to hear what a humpback whale… Read more »

Whales Fab Fact 8


Whales Fab Fact 8: big fin The fin on a dolphin’s back stabilises it as it moves through the water. Killer whales are classified as dolphins – they have the biggest dorsal fin of all whales.   Killer whale cartoon by Anton van Helden Ko tā te urutira o te aihe mahi he whakataurite i… Read more »

Whales Fab Fact 7


Whales Fab Fact 7: Whale Teeth The narwhal tusk is the largest whale tooth. It can measure nearly 3 metres (9 feet) long on an animal not quite 5 metres (16 feet)! It is the likely origin of the unicorn story. Anton van Helden holding a narwhal tusk. Ko te niho tohorā rahi rawa atu… Read more »

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: 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 »