On the weekend, 33 tattooists from around the world took part in Indigenous Ink 2015 – a tattooing festival held in Auckland at MIT Manukau. Te Papa was there at the invitation of organiser Terry Koloamatangi Klavenes. I had a small role hosting presentations and conversations among the tattooists and their supporters. It was a privilege… Read more »

Speargrass weevils thriving on Mana Island

  • A Wellington speargrass weevil browses on an Aciphylla squarrosa leaf, Mana Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Speargrass (Aciphylla squarrosa) in flower, Mana Island, November 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Feeding sign left by a Wellington speargrass weevil after browsing on an Aciphylla squarrosa flowerstalk, Mana Island, November 2015. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Aerial view of the west coast of Mana Island, January 2015. Speargrass weevils were released at the left-centre of the image, between the track and the cliff-top. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Weevils get a lot of bad press. A few species are serious crop pests or despoilers of cereal products, and they give the rest of the family a bad name. In New Zealand, a dozen or so weevil species and populations are recognised as being threatened with extinction, and Wellington speargrass weevils (Lyperobius huttoni) are… Read more »

Curator’s Picks from the new Ngā Toi/ Arts Te Papa

  • Snake
  • Snake
  • Maori combat with Taiaha and Mere 1906 McDonald James - photocopy
  • Moa

Even before you arrive here, you are guaranteed to be swept off your feet: a massively enlarged version of Alfred Burton’s Milford Sound: Cascade from Mitre wittily tumbles down the steps to Level 4. You must bravely navigate the cascade, as a real treat awaits you! Best painting? This must be Strutt! His View of Mt Egmont,… Read more »

Tattooing is thousands of years of years old, and is a most visible part of New Zealand’s contemporary visual culture. It is a key expression of Maori identity and among Pacific Islands communities it is an important signifier of our cultural diversity – what connects us and what makes us different. This weekend (21-22 Nov) 33 tattoo… Read more »

Scientists meet Scientists: ECE ‘Back of House’ visits (Group 3: Raumati South Kindergarten)

Identifying a kowhai plant using observation, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa

Throughout 2015, young children from three Wellington regional Early Childhood Centres (ECE) have been thinking and working as scientists as part of the ‘It’s a Bugs Life’ partnership project with Te Papa Education. In celebration of the mahi (work), their teachers and educators from Te Papa arranged for the children to come and meet with more experienced scientists working here at Te Papa. In… Read more »

Call for papers: Costume & Textile Association of NZ symposium

Nature Now The Costume & Textile Association of New Zealand is calling for papers for their 2016 symposium, the theme of which is Nature Now. The symposium will take place 7-8 July 2016 at Massey University, Wellington. The natural world has long been a source of raw materials for textiles and clothing, from dyes to… Read more »

Peter McLeavey (1936-2015)

Peter with Richard Killeen’s Interpretation, 1979. Photograph by Richard Killeen

This morning we were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Peter McLeavey, the pre-eminent New Zealand art dealer. Peter discovered New Zealand art as a young man in the early 1960s, soon after returning from his ‘OE’ in Europe. Meeting artists such as Colin McCahon, Toss Woollaston, Gordon Walters and Michael Illingworth, he was astonished… Read more »

Goodbye to the lettuce liverwort – it’s going extinct

A cluster of Petalophyllum preissii plants, with my finger for scale. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

A highlight of my recent South Island fieldwork was helping to survey the last remaining New Zealand population of the liverwort Petalophyllum preissii.  It’s a distinctive looking plant, a bit like a little lettuce, and about the size of a fingernail. Seeing it was special because I likely won’t have the opportunity again.  You’ll probably never… Read more »

World Science Day: improving our knowledge using collections

Botany Collection Store: Te Papa has 300 000 botany specimens. Image: Antony Kusabs, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2015.

Today is World Science Day for Peace and Development, but science is happening at Te Papa every day . In addition to research being conducted within Te Papa, each year we also loan hundreds of science collection specimens to researchers all around the world. Researchers study our specimens to improve our collective knowledge of the natural world…. Read more »