How people are using Te Papa’s collection images

Te Papa’s rights guru Victoria Leachman runs through some of her favourite recent comments from people downloading images from our Collections Online database. People are continuing to download and use the free high resolution images of collection items from Te Papa’s Collections Online. In the quarter October to December 2016 there were 2898 downloads. When people download… Read more »

The natural history of wine-growing

  • Barrels for storing the wine as it matures are used for 3-4 years only, and produced from Austria, France. Photo: Dominique Filippi; Copyright: Dominique Filippi
  • Crottins de Chavignol (a renowned locally-produced goat-cheese) goes perfectly with the Sauvignon Blanc produced within a few kilometers of each other. Photo: Susan Waugh; Copyright, Susan Waugh.
  • Massive oak vats for processing wines  - some Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are kept in oak while fermentation takes  place. Photo: Dominique Filippi; Copyright: Dominique Filippi
  • The old 'cave' in which the original Bourgeois family wine was stored, is now home to a collection of bottles dating back to the 1930s, and several dozen oak barrels. Photo: Dominique Filippi; Copyright: Dominique Filippi.

Have you ever thought about the origin of the wine you’re drinking? Senior science curator Susan Waugh looks into the geology of a French region famous for its sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. As the notion of terroir develops more strongly in New Zealand, I carried out a bit of light research of my own into… Read more »

January – the month for jam-making and bottling!

Mrs Margaret Foster samples raspberry jam at the Manawatu Agricultural and Pastoral Show. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP/1977/4475/31A-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23031707

The summer season is once again upon us, and for many people that means that it’s time to take a well-earned break. For New Zealanders in the 19th and early 20th centuries, however, summer was no time to rest. History curator Katie Cooper examines the summertime activities of jam-making and bottling. The old saying goes… Read more »

Confessions of a bounty hunter: Discovering New Zealand’s first fossil bug

Fossil of a march fly

Inspired by his recent visit to the exhibition Bug Lab, resident geologist Hamish Campbell recounts finding New Zealand’s first pre-Pleistocene fossil bug. A momentous occasion In October 1981 a cheque arrived in the post for the princely sum of £5, drawn on a BNZ bank account owned by Sir Charles Fleming. My father Doug Campbell… Read more »

Plague skinks invade the Coromandel

  • Marlborough green gecko (Naultinus manukanus). Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Plague skink (aka rainbow skink). Papa Aroha, January 2017. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Copper skink (Oligosoma aeneum). Papa Aroha, January 2017. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Shore skink (Oligosoma smithi). Papa Aroha, January 2017. Image: Colin Miskelly

In my previous blog I listed four Australian bird species that have colonised the Coromandel Peninsula in the last four decades. But it is not only birds that are contributing to the Aussification of northern New Zealand. Australian plague skinks are now dominating the local lizard fauna. New Zealand lizards New Zealand has an astonishingly… Read more »

‘Bone dry’: The ups and downs of banning booze

Christmas and New Year empties, 4 January 2017. Photo by Kirstie Ross

Like a tipple? History curator Kirstie Ross looks at the ways New Zealand tried to curb excessive drinking in the early 1900s and its affect on society. As you get rid of the last of your Christmas and New Year’s empties, stop for a minute and reflect back 98 years, to 17 January 1919 when the 18th Amendment of the… Read more »

Conserving plastics: why you should keep your Barbie in the fridge

Two 70s Barbies wearing 70s outfits. Their faces are a much more yellowy/green colour than their bodies

Many people believe that plastic items are indestructible and will last forever. But what if you learnt this wasn’t the case? Conservator, Nirmala Balram, gives us an insight into the science of plastic deterioration and how you should look after your prized plastic possessions. So much plastic The world of plastics is huge. Plastics are… Read more »

Wellington’s summer spiders

Male sheetweb spider

Ever felt like you’re removing more spiders from your home in summer compared to the rest of the year? Our bug expert Phil Sirvid explains why spiders are so prevalent in summer, and what kinds commonly turn up in Wellingtonian’s homes. The black-headed flax jumping spider While spider numbers in general are up during the warmer months,… Read more »

20th century history mixtape: ‘B’ side

Record - "Hit Tunes" by Johnny Devlin, circa 1958, New Zealand, by Johnny Devlin, Southern Music. Purchased 2001 with New Zealand Lotteries Grant funds. Te Papa (GH009364)

Slice of Heaven: 20th Century Aotearoa is Te Papa’s exhibition about four crucial social and political changes that occurred in New Zealand after the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and before the millennial panic of ‘Y2K’ (‘Year 2000’). I hope that the exhibition, which closes on 23rd January to make room for the new… Read more »

Sunshine, fishing – and changes in Coromandel birdlife over 45 years

  • Papa Aroha beach. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Brown teal, Papa Aroha, December 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Part of the Motukawao island group. Gannets nest on Motukaramarama (Bush) Island on the left. Image: Colin Miskelly
  • Spotted shags, Firth of Thames. Image: Jenny Atkins, NZ Birds Online

From welcome swallows to Australian magpies, bird expert Colin Miskelly looks at the variety of birdlife who’ve come to call Coromandel home over the past half-century. Spending the summer at the beach is part of the great New Zealand holiday tradition. For many families, attachment to a particular location results in them returning to the… Read more »