Pride and prejudice: LGBTIQ+ histories made visible

Bag, ’Dolly does Devotion’, 1997, Petone, by Colin McLean. Purchased 1997 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (GH005698)

Curating inclusive history collections that represent diverse experiences, including LGBTIQ+ stories, enables Te Papa to present Aotearoa New Zealand to ourselves and the world, says history curator Lynette Townsend. Efforts are made to ensure that the history collections represent historical stories from diverse cultural perspectives, ages, genders and sexualities. It’s an aspect of the curatorial… Read more »

Telling stories through fashion: A history of eco-friendly Starfish

Printed fabric samples from the Wonderland collection, Winter 2006, CA001200/004/0002. Photograph by Gareth Watkins

It’s not every day that you get to delve into the nitty-gritty details of a fashion label. Te Papa’s assistant archivist Gareth Watkins is going through Starfish’s archive, recently gifted to Te Papa. I’m sitting in a popular Wellington café with Te Papa archivist Jennifer Twist and Laurie Foon – founder of the Wellington-based Starfish fashion… Read more »

11,000 images on New Zealand Birds Online – and the Brooks family’s Big Year

  • The 11,000th image – a plumed whistling duck at Anderson Park, Taradale, December 2016. Image: Scott Brooks, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Jay Brooks searching for a marsh sandpiper, Miranda, October 2016. Image: Scott Brooks
  • Laughing kookaburra, Campbells Beach, Tawharanui, August 2016. Image: Scott Brooks, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Ollie, Zef and Jay Brooks match their wingspans with that of an albatross, Taiaroa Head Albatross Centre, September 2016. Image: Scott Brooks

The 11,000th image loaded on New Zealand Birds Online was of a rare vagrant Australian duck, and it comes with an inspirational back-story of family-based discovery and adventure. The image of a plumed whistling duck near Napier was one of more than 70 images that Northland-based photographer Scott Brooks loaded on the website following an… Read more »

Te Papa curators respond to Donald Trump’s refugee ban

1977-0017-3. Rudolf Gopas. Rocky coast, Kaikoura. 1959. Oil on hardboard. Purchased 1977 with Lindsay Buick Bequest funds.

In the wake of US President Donald Trump’s order to ban refugees entering the country, cultural institutions across the globe have been vocal in protest. Here Te Papa curators share their thoughts. He aha te mea nui o te ao? Māku e kī atu – he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most precious… Read more »

Mysteries of the Phantom wooden shield: Putting together the pieces

Black lines following holes in the painted wooden surface, suggesting the probable pattern of lashing from a historic decorative scheme. Image created by Cat Williams.

Conservator Catherine Williams is investigating one of Te Papa’s recent acquisitions – a painted wooden shield from Papua New Guinea featuring The Phantom – from a conservation perspective, and blogging about it along the way. If you missed her first post, read it here. Uncovering the mysteries of a collection item such as the Phantom… Read more »

Collaboration in conservation: Deborah Crowe and Kim Fraser’s Dual Outlook

  • Kim Fraser and Deborah Crowe. Image provided by D. Crowe.
  • GH006532/4, Dual Outlook visor after treatment.
  • Underside of visor edge, showing sticky, soiled adhesive residue. The maker’s label is a separate layer and remains in place following treatment.
  • Deborah Crowe consulting on the treatment of her work in the textile conservation lab at Te Papa.

Te Papa’s textile conservator Anne Peranteau runs through the process involved in preparing a much-loved garment for public display. In March, the exhibition When Dreams Turn to Gold: The Benson and Hedges Fashion Design Awards will open at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery (DPAG). The Benson & Hedges event was New Zealand’s premier fashion competition, running for 34 years… Read more »

Berry Boys in the fourth ballot: Battersby and Scambary

Portrait of Walter George, George and Ida Scambary, 1917, Wellington, by William Berry. Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (B.046400)

During WWI, monthly conscription ballots were drawn between November 1916 and October 1918 to make up for a shortfall in numbers volunteering for the army. History curator Kirstie Ross shares the stories of two Wellingtonians whose names were selected in the fourth ballot. On 13 February 1917, 100 years ago, marbles with the military registration numbers… Read more »

War by post and bullet

  • Issued one penny British ’Penny Black’ stamp, 1840, United Kingdom, by Charles Heath, Frederick Heath. Purchased 2004. Te Papa (PH001330)
  • Philatelic ’cover’ [envelope], 6 November 1865, Maketu, by Emily Kirby. Purchased 2001. Te Papa (PH000889)
  • Philatelic ’cover’ [envelope], 20 March 1864, Auckland, maker unknown. Purchased 2001. Te Papa (PH000914)
  • Philatelic ’cover’ [envelope], March 1864, Waikato, by Corporal John Randall. Purchased 2001. Te Papa (PH000923)

Scott Flutey, a summer scholar from Victoria University of Wellington, has just finished an Honours year in History. He dives into the world of stamps and postal history. I’m currently researching the Gerald Ellott philatelic collection at Te Papa as part of the three-year Soldiers of Empire research project, led by Professor Charlotte Macdonald and Dr Rebecca Lenihan…. Read more »

Opinion: More to art collections than meets the eye

Mount Rolleston, circa 1893, Christchurch, by Petrus van der Velden. Gift of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, 1936. Te Papa (1936-0012-116)

An art gallery is a theatre where art takes centre stage. But it is also an archive, a refuge, even a hospital, says Te Papa’s Head of Art Charlotte Davy. A recent story highlighted the art collections held by Councils and the proportion of their art works on public display. Every art collection is different…. Read more »

Congratulations to Pat Brownsey who has just been awarded the New Zealand Journal of Botany annual prize for 2016. In even-numbered years, this prize is for “established researchers”. This is “awarded to a person who has made a sustained contribution to the journal during the last five years (regularly publishing and reviewing papers), and whose… Read more »