Watching nature with NatureWatch

I saw this giant stick insect on the perimeter fence of the Zealandia sanctuary in Wellington. I wanted to know what kind of stick insect it was, so uploaded a photo to NatureWatch: http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/385266

Do you want to learn more about the animals, fungi, and plants around you? Would you like to help scientists better understand the distribution of New Zealand’s biodiversity? If so, then the citizen-science website NatureWatch NZ  is for you. You can find out more about NatureWatch at the Wellington Botanical Society meeting on Monday 17th March,… Read more »

Critters of the Snares Islands

  • A Prodontria longitarsis chafer beetle on Veronica elliptica at night. Image: Alan Tennyson, Te Papa
  • Lyperobius nesidiotes photographed on Anisotome acutifolia on Broughton Island in 1984. A recent survey failed to find its host plant on Broughton Island, the only site where the weevil was known to occur, and so it is possible that this rarest of the Snares Islands’ insects has quietly chewed its way to extinction. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Anisotome acutifolia in flower near the Razorback on North East Island, Snares Islands. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Colin Miskelly standing next to a large punui (Stilbocarpa robusta) on the Snares Islands. This plant had leaves up to 73 cm across. Image: Alan Tennyson, Te Papa

A Te Papa team recently visited the Snares Islands Nature Reserve, 105 km south-southwest of Stewart Island, where they completed a range of seabird and plant research projects. Here, Colin Miskelly (Curator Terrestrial Vertebrates) describes some of the smaller inhabitants of the Snares Islands. Watch Science Live: Expedition Snares Island to find out more about… Read more »

The worst kind of junk food

Thin-billed Prion. Image © Nigel Voaden (copied from NZBirdsOnline)

After spending most of my life living in coastal towns and devoting much of my professional career to the study of marine birds, I have always felt a strong attachment to the ocean.   So naturally, I was thrilled to hear that this week is SeaWeek!  There are events being held all over the country.  I… Read more »

Our volunteers made history. Really.

The photographic record, 17.02.1918, North Island. Adkin, Leslie. Gift of G. L. Adkin family estate, 1964. Te Papa

This summer, we ran a small pilot project, inviting volunteers to help transcribe the diaries of Horowhenua farmer, photographer, tramper, geologist, archaeologist, ethnologist, son, brother, husband and father Leslie Adkin. Thanks to everyone who contributed – the results have surpassed all our expectations. Twenty volunteers have transcribed over eighteen months of hundred-year-old diaries in the last… Read more »

Anthony Hume Whitaker, MNZM (1944–2014) – a tribute

  • Whitaker’s skink (Oligosoma whitakeri), Pukerua Bay, January 1997. Tony Whitaker discovered this species on two islands off Whitianga, and it was subsequently found to occur also at Pukerua Bay north of Wellington (and nowhere else). It was named in honour of Tony by Graham Hardy in 1977. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • McGregor’s skink (Oligosoma macgregori), and Sail Rock viewed from Dragon Mouth Cove, Taranga (Hen Island). Tony Whitaker found McGregor’s skink to be present on Sail Rock during landings there in January 1969 and March 1971. McGregor’s skinks from Sail Rock were translocated to nearby Lady Alice and Whatupuke Islands after Pacific rats were eradicated on both islands. Images: Colin Miskelly
  • Whitaker’s skink (Oligosoma whitakeri), Pukerua Bay, January 1997. Tony Whitaker discovered this species on two islands off Whitianga, and it was subsequently found to occur also at Pukerua Bay north of Wellington (and nowhere else). It was named in honour of Tony by Graham Hardy in 1977. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Tony Whitaker (centre) with Department of Conservation staff Ian Cooksley and Mark Townsend during a ‘pre-rat-eradication’ lizard survey on Kapiti Island, May 1995. Image: Colin Miskelly

Tony Whitaker (or ‘Whit’ to his many friends) was the godfather of modern herpetology in New Zealand. Following more than half a century of fieldwork to the remotest corners of New Zealand, there were few lizard species that he had not seen, nor lizard researchers that he had not cheerfully assisted. Tony’s passion for, and… Read more »

We know what you did this summer!!

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Bart Cox and Jasmine Gibbins spent their summer researching native orchids at Te Papa. Bart and Jasmine are part of a group of seven students from Victoria University of Wellington that were awarded a Summer Research Scholarship co-funded by Te Papa and Victoria University of Wellington. Bart’s research focused on a threatened perching orchid, Drymoanthus flavus, and its… Read more »

Alexis Hunter (1948-2014)

Te Papa is saddened to hear about the death of London-based New Zealand artist Alexis Hunter on 24 February 2014. Three years after completing her studies at the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland in 1969, Hunter relocated to England and established herself in London. She was an active participant in… Read more »

Hugh Pollen (1851-1912) – the ultimate faceless bureaucrat?

Hugh Pollen was the influential head of New Zealand’s largest government department for 20 years – but what did he look like? Hugh was the son of medical doctor, civil servant and politician Daniel Pollen (1813-96), who was briefly (1875-76) Premier of New Zealand – i.e. the pre-1907 equivalent of Prime Minister. Hugh entered public… Read more »

Updated! Collections Online

Three huia (Heteralocha acutirostris), J.G. Keulemans, circa 1900

Today we’re very pleased to make our new version of Collections Online available. We’ve made it work much better on your smartphone or tablet, while still being really useful on desktop for more in-depth research. We’ve also made the images much bigger, search results clearer, and made it easier for you to follow your own path to objects you… Read more »