You can’t sink a rainbow

GH011827; Badge, 'If it's safe'; 1980s; Unknown; Plastic wrapped printed paper and metal badge; metal; printing; New Zealand

History curator Stephanie Gibson looks back to the 1980s, and an explosive event that shook New Zealand. Thirty years ago, on 10 July 1985, French government agents attached bombs to the hull of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior and sank it in Auckland Harbour. The French government had feared that the ship would draw attention to… Read more »

Henry Tonks: Two clean babies reunited

Oil painting entitled 'After the bath' by Henry Tonks

Late last year, Te Papa got an exciting new acquisition for its international art collection: Henry Tonks’ After the bath (1910-11). This sweet Edwardian painting depicts a woman in a red dress holding a freshly-bathed baby on her lap, surrounded by three little girls. The painting is full of wonderful little details, like the impish child putting on… Read more »

Walk a mile in my blue suede puma shoes

Soul Clap_076

Matariki at Te Papa offers up a smorgasbord of events and as a photographer at Te Papa it is a busy time, with Kapa Haka, music, stargazing and artist talks just some of the events we are asked to cover. On sunday I was privileged to have the opportunity to cover the Bboy Soul Clap… Read more »

Pills, coils and condoms!


Since the beginning of time humankind has sought ingenious methods in an attempt to control fertility. This exhibition in the Ilot Room on Level 4 of Te Papa reveals a wide range of contraceptive devices and stories from the recently acquired collection of Dame Margaret Sparrow, one of New Zealand’s leading specialists and advocates on… Read more »

Marks on the Landscape: Researching the Māori carvings at Gallipoli

Image 11a

[This article was originally published in Te Papa newsletter, Te Auahi Turoa newsletter (3 July 2015) and has been reproduced here.] Kimihia, rangahaua, kei hea koutou ka ngaro nei? Tēnā ka riro ki Paerau, ki te huinga o Matariki, ka oti atu koutou e! Tangihia rā Te Ope Tuatahi i pae ki Karipori i te… Read more »

The magic of Kaumātua Kapa Haka

Performers at the 2014 New Zealand Post Kaumātua Kapa Haka © Te Papa

Charles Ropitini shares his thoughts on New Zealand Post Kaumātua Kapa Haka The NZ Post Kaumātua Kapa Haka Festival is an annual favourite for many Wellingtonians and visitors to Wellington experiencing the magic of Matariki, our indigenous New Year festival. For me personally, it is my favourite weekend of the year. As a child, I… Read more »

Gallipoli: The scale of our war – in poppies

Gallipoli: The scale of our war (c) Te Papa

‘This is very different from the unfeeling and emotionally distant historical coverage of a war. I felt a weight in my lower chest as I learned about the stories and suffering of the people, witnessed their rage and despair sculpted on their faces, and felt the ground tremble under my feet. I was immersed by… Read more »

Registrations now open for Museums and Human Rights Conference, 22-24 September 2015

Conference registrations open This week registrations opened for the Federation of International Human Rights Museums (FIHRM) conference, which is being held at Te Papa this coming September. The three day conference will feature keynote presentations by Professor Richard Sandell from Leicester University, and Dr David Fleming from National Museums Liverpool, alongside a dynamic programme of speakers from New Zealand,… Read more »

A new bird for New Zealand – magpie-lark

  • Further images of the magpie-lark at Gorge Rover. Images courtesy of Robert Long
  • An adult male magpie-lark in flight – one of the most familiar and easy to recognise of all Australian birds. Image: Craig Greer, NZ Birds Online
  • An adult female magpie-lark photographed in Melbourne. Image: Sonja Ross, NZ Birds Online
  • The adult male magpie-lark perched on the roof of the Department of Conservation hut at Gorge River, 29 April 2008. Image: Robert Long

New bird species are added to the New Zealand list on average once every two years. Many of these are vagrants that have been blown (or flown) across the Tasman Sea, with recent examples including Australian reed warbler (2004), straw-necked ibis (2009), Pacific gull (2010) and dusky woodswallow (2014). However, few new arrivals have a… Read more »

WWI case studies of courage and despair

Thirteen unidentified WWI soldiers mending boots at Oatlands Park England,1918

In May this year, Road to Recovery: Disabled Soldiers of World War I closed, after its ten-month-long display at Te Papa. This exhibition, which explored how New Zealand soldiers disabled by World War I were supported to regain their economic independence, included 8 sepia photographs of limbless soldiers demonstrating new work skills they were taught while… Read more »