Pukerua Bay School Museum

A sketch (biro on cardboard) by Isaac in a faux rococo frame (hot glue on plastic).

The Pukerua Bay School Museum is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s newest museums – the brainchild of three Primary school students: Isaac and Paddy (aged 11) and Aurelia (aged 9). Te Papa Learning Innovation has asked the three founders, with the support of their kaiako (teacher) Cat Lunjevich, to write a post for our Te Papa blog all about… Read more »

Remembering the Evergreen

Photo showing workshop meeting

Most Wellingtonians will remember the Evergreen Coffee House as a popular spot in the buzzing nightlife of the Vivian-Cuba Street quarter – where you could get late night toasted sandwiches and ‘special coffees’ served with whisky from the café’s owner, well-known transgender queen, Chrissy Witoko. The interior walls of the Evergreen were decorated with collages,… Read more »

How to deal with human DNA contamination of your DNA sequencing: an example from a Malawian dance garment.

Dance garment, c. 1900, Malawi (Chewa culture), Photograph by Kate Whitley. Copyright Te Papa MA_I.374711

You’ve probably seen forensic scientists on TV taking swabs and fingerprints from crime scenes. They aren’t wearing labcoats, hairnets and gloves to look cool but to prevent them contaminating their forensic evidence with their own DNA. But how do scientists deal with items that are already contaminated with unwanted human DNA? I recently encountered this… Read more »

Wildlife of Hautere/Solander Island

  • Fiordland crested penguin, Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A Buller’s mollymawk chick after a downpour, Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Hautere/Solander Island from the north-east, with Little Solander Island to the right. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Subadult male subantarctic fur seal on Solander Island, May 2016. The nearest large population of this species to New Zealand is on Amsterdam Island, 3,500 km west of Perth, Western Australia. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Hautere/Solander Island is a rugged, inhospitable lump of an island lying in the western approaches to Foveaux Strait. About 40 km south of Fiordland and 70 km north-west of Stewart Island, it is 1.6 km on its longest axis, with cliffs rising steeply to the 330 m summit. The only flat land is a 10 ha… Read more »

Hautere/Solander Island, The Capital of Albatrossness

  • Buller's Albatross flying at sea in a storm near Hautere/Solander Island. Photo Dominique Filippi, Copyright Dominique Filippi
  • 2016 _MG_7614_small
  • The campsite at the albatross colony on Hautere/Solander Island
  • 2016 _MG_8502_small

Its probably one of the most rugged small island sites around the Southern Ocean….lacking only a glacier to make it truly inhospitable. No huts, no trees, and best of all, no humans! And yet Hautere/Solander Island has something of a reputation of among seabird researchers. Most of the ones I have encountered, who had been there, said “What would possess… Read more »

Artists’ hands: messages from Chamorro artists of Guåhan


“Slow it down…your minds and hands make it happen.” This is a message that master carver Jill Benavente passes onto to her apprentices as they journey together as artists. Their hands and the hands of many other artists are key tools in the strengthening and decolonising of contemporary indigenous Chamorro culture on Guåhan /Guam. For… Read more »

Hautere/Solander Island – 1933 and 2016 – In the footsteps of Edgar Stead (Part 12)

  • Red-crowned parakeet, Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Weka, Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Buller's mollymawk parents and chick, Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Buller's mollymawks in a gale, viewed from Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Edgar Stead (1881-1949) was a Canterbury naturalist famous (among other things) for exhuming the enormous Okarito blue whale skeleton now in Canterbury Museum, breeding the Ilam strain of rhododendrons and azaleas, and being an astute observer of New Zealand birds. His magnificent homestead ‘Ilam’ is now the Canterbury University staff club, and was the main… Read more »

There are times in the life of a curator when you see something you would really like to use in an exhibition or publication but have no immediate opportunities. Or you feel that your attraction to it is too personal, and other people wouldn’t feel the same way. So you tuck it away in your… Read more »

Caring for taonga on the Chatham Islands

  • Harvested tree dressed up in wedding tulle. Photograph by Nirmala Balram. © Te Papa
  • Harvested trees going into an insulated container. Photograph by Nirmala Balram. © Te Papa
  • Kōpi trees have very shallow roots. Photograph by Nirmala Balram. © Te Papa
  • Honey fungus is very damaging to the bark. Photograph by Nirmala Balram. © Te Papa

National Services Te Paerangi (NSTP) is a team within Te Papa that provides support and advice for museums, galleries and iwi around New Zealand. You can learn more about what we do on our website. One of NSTP’s services is to facilitate expert assistance for museums and other groups who care for taonga. Since 2010,… Read more »