Native re-vegetation & weed collecting in Wellington’s greenbelt

Tim Park, Wellington City Council Biodiversity Officer. Standing next to some well established wharangi (Melicope ternata) plantings on Mount Victoria. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.

I recently tagged along with Wellington City Council’s Environment Partnership Leader, Tim Park to visit some native re-vegetation sites in Wellington’s town belt. Why is Wellington City planting native plants? Wellington City Council has a policy of replacing pine forest with native plantings in the town belt as pine trees die or are toppled by… Read more »

Expedition to the Solomon Islands

Jungle at one of our collecting sites near the main field camp. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

In September I was part of an expedition into jungle in the centre of Guadalcanal island in the Solomon Islands, tropical western Pacific. The purpose was to document the plants and animals present. My job was to help with the ferns. The mountains at the centre of Guadalcanal are rugged, wet, and difficult to access…. Read more »

Introducing Imber’s petrel: a new recently extinct seabird species for New Zealand

Holotype of Imber’s petrel. Sampling bones for DNA typically involves drilling holes or cutting chunks out of them. However, for this bone we were able to soak DNA out of the bone without damaging it.

New Zealand has a new species of seabird. Te Papa scientists recently described Imber’s petrel (Pterodroma imberi) from the Chatham Islands as a new species. A previous study that measured a large number of seabird bones from the Chatham Islands found three size categories.   The largest bones belong to the Magenta petrel/taiko (Pterodroma magentae)… Read more »

Plant collecting in south Canterbury and Marlborough

On our first collecting day, we set a new elevation record for Te Papa’s new 4WD, with 1100 m on Mount Studholme near Waimate.  We smashed that with 1700 m on our last collecting day, on top of Marlborough’s Black Birch Range.  The snow-capped Tapuae-o-Uenuku of the Inland Kaikoura Range is the backdrop. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

An important function for Te Papa’s natural history collections is to document the plants and animals we have in New Zealand. What species are present, how can they be distinguished, and where do they occur? These questions need addressing before our biodiversity, both indigenous and exotic, can be managed in an informed manner. It is… Read more »

Curious: Martinho Lowande – ‘the Great Brazilian Bareback Hurricane rider’

lowande

This studio portrait by Melbourne photographer Arthur Burman, shows Martinho Lowande and his sons dressed in their performance outfits and was taken just prior to their performances in New Zealand. Lowande, billed as the ‘Great Brazilian Bareback Hurricane rider’, performed bareback horse riding stunts while supporting either one of his two sons (aged 4 and 7 years). The… Read more »

Niue Language Week Five Minute Quiz 2015

Pulou (hat), 1990s, Auckland, by Moka Poi. Purchased 1999 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (FE011299)

Fakaalofa lahi atu! This week is Niuean Langauge week and the theme is, “Tau tagata Niue, tau magafaoa Niue, fakaaoga e vagahau Niue – Niue people, Niue families, use vagahau Niue”. As a team we aim to use vagahau Niue in relation to our collection of Niuean artefacts. Te Papa’s Pacific Cultures collections have around 290… Read more »

…it won’t be a lonely walk” – commemorating the 40th anniversary of the ‘Not One Acre More’ hīkoi

  • Maori Land March
  • Maori Land March
  • Maori Land March
  • Maori Land March, 1975, Wellington, by Ans Westra. Purchased 1993 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds.  Te Papa (O.010219/02)

The 13th of October marks the fortieth anniversary of the arrival of the ‘Not One Acre More’ hīkoi (land march) on the steps of New Zealand Parliament. The hīkoi, accompanied by vehicles in support, left Te Hāpua at the top of the North Island on the 14 September 1975, and wound its way down to… Read more »

Te Papa’s new DNA lab is up and running.

Te Papa Botany curator Carlos Lehnebach looking at spider orchid DNA in the new lab.

Last week I performed the first DNA extraction in Te Papa’s brand new genetics laboratory. Our lab is the first genetics lab in a New Zealand museum and will allow Te Papa scientists to analyse the DNA of our unique plants and animals. Genetic information is increasingly being used to examine the relationships between species and help us… Read more »

Emotional connections: Federation of International Human Rights in Museums Conference

The Federation of International Human Rights in Museums (FIHRM) Conference was hosted at Te Papa last week – three days of stimulating talks and workshops led by experts from around the world on the theme ‘Access is a human right’. Katie Kyung, from UN Youth, blogs about her experience at the conference: Museums as contact… Read more »