Fascinating forget-me-not pollen

myosotis-aff-pulvinaris-opt

Now that springtime is upon us in New Zealand, many plants are starting to flower, producing pollen. Many of us have a negative association with pollen due to its role in causing allergies [PDF, 172KB]. But not all pollen causes allergies, and pollen is of course extremely important to the biology and ecology of flowering plants. Some… Read more »

Birdlife of Taumaka (Open Bay Islands)

  • A male tawaki / Fiordland crested penguin broods its young chicks on Taumaka, September 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Taumaka viewed from the east, with Popotai in the background. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A fairy prion departing from its nesting crevice before dawn, Taumaka, September 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • An adult weka feeding a dead tawaki chick to its brood of three young chicks. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Taumaka is a 20 ha Māori-owned island lying off the South Westland coast. Administered by the Taumaka me Popotai Trust, the island is well-known as a breeding site for kekeno / New Zealand fur seals and tawaki / Fiordland crested penguins. Both species were studied on the island by students from the University of Canterbury… Read more »

The joy of dressing up – a look through our photography collection

9 people in Pierrots (clowns) outfits

With the World of Wearable Art Show (WOW) in town, and fantastic costume art in Te Papa’s store windows, we were inspired see what creative costumes we have in our photography collection. Mr A. Mason wearing a ‘poster’ costume for the Empire Tea Company’s Crescent brand, which was described in advertisements of the time as… Read more »

The power of lace – making European Splendour 1500-1800, Te Papa

Maker unknown, lace collar, linen, Europe. Gift of Mrs M W Aitken, 1970. Te Papa (PC001724). © photographer Justine Olsen.

Lace is fascinating for its changing and divisive role in history. Desired for its beauty and admired for its technical expertise, the best quality was restricted in use for monarchs and nobility.  While sumptuary laws during the 1500 and early 1600s claimed to protect local industries, lace actually helped identify social rank of the individual…. Read more »

Two new birds for New Zealand – Herald petrel and red-footed booby

  • Red-footed booby on Napier Islet, Kermadec Islands, 2 April 2016. Image: Robert Atkinson, New Zealand Birds Online
  • New Zealand’s first Herald petrel, photographed among the Herald Islets (Kermadec Islands) on 29 March 2016. Image: Steve Wood, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Red-footed booby flying near Napier Islet (Kermadec Islands), 2 April 2016. Image: Steve Wood, New Zealand Birds Online
  • The booby trap – Napier Islet (Kermadec Islands), showing where the red-footed boobies were roosting. Image: Steve Wood

Finding a new bird species for their country of residence is the holy grail for many birdwatchers – and a thrill that few get to experience. Over the last decade, new species have been detected in New Zealand at an average rate of one every 15 months. The finding of two new bird species within… Read more »

Māori Museum Educators – Te Papa meets Tairāwhiti

Pania & Julie

Grass roots programme developing is best achieved by: Not trying to invent the wheel Learning from those who have been in your shoes Targeting an area that shares your demographical target audience – In this case, a predominantly Māori audience Realising a potential win/win situation when it’s staring you in the face a.k.a quid pro… Read more »

Yes to a 164-year-old wedding dress and waistcoat

Textile conservator Anne Peranteau prepares William and Sarah Rhodes wedding waistcoat and dress for display. 27 Sept 2016. Te Papa

Tuesday 27th September was an exciting day for the History team, as we welcomed descendants of prominent nineteenth-century Wellington entrepreneur William Barnard Rhodes and accepted two remarkable items into our collection. Rhodes’ great, great, great grandson Rupert Ryle-Hodges travelled from England to present to Te Papa a silk brocade wedding dress and waistcoat, worn by… Read more »

Bring on the bum roll… Dressing for Splendour

Robe à l’anglaise retroussé or English-back gown, 1770-1780. Te Papa.

Bottoms have been in the news again lately. The conversation has been around what must be the 21st century’s most famous derrière, that of American celebrity Kim Kardashian. Indeed, in May she received a Webby award for ‘breaking the internet’ – a feat achieved with a bare-bottomed shoot for Paper Magazine. More recently British actress Helen Mirren chimed in, praising the celebrity for promoting another body… Read more »

The Fishes of New Zealand wins top international award

Te Papa's fish team

Our fishes team have won with the highest award for zoological publishing – the first time a Kiwi book has even achieved this honour. The Fishes of New Zealand has been awarded the 2016 Whitley Medal by The Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales. The medal is regarded as Australia’s highest award for zoological publishing and this is… Read more »