Unforgettable names for a new forget-me-not species

https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/visit/whats-on/exhibitions/you-called-me-what-150-years-scientific-discovery-te-papa

We asked you to suggest a species name for a newly discovered New Zealand forget-me not. In addition to some creative descriptive and geographic names, many of your suggestions were commemorative. The practice of naming species after famous people (real or fictional) dates back over 250 years. Are such names just a gimmick, or an effective means of promoting… Read more »

Indigenous art curatorial practice; ideas and observations

  • Peter Robinson, Retorts and comebacks
  • Gifted 2.
  • Gifted
  • Black Rainbow

I am blogging a paper, as below, written in response to an invitation to talk about Indigenious art curatorial practice for the recent Pacific Art Association XII International Symposium. The symposium was held in Auckland during the week of 14 – 17 March 2016 and in a number of venues across the city including Orakei Marae,… Read more »

Annual Costume & Textile symposium: registrations open

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The Costume & Textile Association of New Zealand has just opened registrations for its symposium which is taking place at Massey University, Wellington on 7- 8 July. The year’s theme, Nature Now, provides the opportunity to explore historical, contemporary and even future connections between nature, dress and textiles. The symposium is open to members and non-members alike. Held annually, it… Read more »

When do crops lose genetic variation? The case of rengarenga.

The delicate flowers of rengarenga with their multicoloured stamens.

The shift from hunting and gathering to cultivating crops and livestock was one of the most important developments in human history. But despite its significance, many questions still remain about how crops were first domesticated. One much debated question has been at what point during domestication is genetic diversity lost? Many modern crops have very… Read more »

Doubling the scale of our war

  • Comparative casulty rate on Gallipoli. Photograph by Kirstie Ross
  • Numbers of NZers landing on Gallipoli. Photograph by Kirstie Ross
  • Sister Lottie Le Gallais. Photograph by Norm Heke
  • Sister Charlotte Le Gallais WWI 22/137 from Archives NZ personnel file

On Monday 21 March, I eagerly read the results of an intensive research project that gives us the clearest indication, to date, of the number of New Zealanders that served on Gallipoli. This research, undertaken by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the New Zealand Defence Force, reveals that the total number of New… Read more »

Taste, touch, see, hear and smell – sensory impressions with the Both brothers

1 Both 'Taste'

Among the most recent additions to the art collection is an extraordinary set of etchings representing the five senses. Made by the brothers Jan (c. 1618/22 – 1652) and Andries Both (1611/2 – 1642) at the height of the Dutch Golden Age, these five comic allegories illustrate the senses – taste, touch, sight, sound and… Read more »

Thinking through time – Inspired: Ceramics and jewellery shaped by the past

Abstract-REGARD-Pendant-feature

On Friday March 18 Te Papa opens a new exhibition on Level 6:- Inspired: Ceramics and jewellery shaped by the past. The exhibition draws on contemporary and historic objects from Te Papa and considers how objects can be connected across time. The phrase ‘thinking through time’ relates to an important part of the practices of… Read more »

A new bird for New Zealand – northern fulmar

  • Dark morph northern fulmar, Buldir Island, Alaska. Image: Kyle Morrison, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Pale morph northern fulmar off Lundy, England. Image: Andrew Cleave MBE Nature Photographers Ltd
  • Dark morph northern fulmar east of the Snares Islands, New Zealand, 9 February 2014. First record from the Southern Hemisphere. Image: Leon Berard
  • Antarctic fulmar off Mana Island, New Zealand. Image: Duncan Watson, New Zealand Birds Online

The latest addition to the New Zealand bird list is not a species that anyone expected – and it very nearly got over-looked. Dunedin-based Leon Berard was working as a Ministry for Primary Industries fisheries observer in February 2014, when he photographed a bird that he did not recognise. He was on a squid trawler… Read more »

Margaret Butler: An Invisible Sculptor?

Butler-portrait

I recently delivered a paper on the New Zealand sculptor Margaret Butler (1883-1947) at the University of Otago conference, ‘Making Women Visible’. Although one or two of her sculptures are occasionally exhibited, she is next to invisible to the wide public, certainly far more obscure than her older contemporary Frances Hodgkins. Yet whenever I see… Read more »

Filmy ferns in the eFloraNZ: Hymenophyllum and Trichomanes

The distinctive kidney fern or Hymenophyllum nephrophyllum is unusual within Hymenophyllum in that the spore capsules sit within a tube.  Indeed, it used to be classified in Trichomanes, as T. reniforme.  However, analyses of DNA sequences have shown kidney fern to be more closely related to Hymenophyllum than Trichomanes.  It is nevertheless evolutionarily isolated within Hymenophyllum. Photo © Leon Perrie.

Filmy ferns add a delicate, enveloping beauty to New Zealand’s forests.  Most are translucent, with fronds only one or a few cells thick.  Most are small, but they can carpet large areas of the ground or be prominent on the trunks of trees. New Zealand is home to 31 species of filmy ferns. That’s nearly… Read more »