High-flying prints in Air New Zealand exhibition

Poster, ’NAC’, 1950s, New Zealand, by New Zealand National Airways Corporation, Weeks Field Ltd.. Purchased 2011. Te Papa (GH017270

Air New Zealand’s 75th anniversary celebrations begin with a new exhibition due to open at Te Papa on the 20 December 2014; Air New Zealand 75 years: Our nation. The world. Connected. The exhibition includes a fabulous and sometimes quirky range of objects selected from Air New Zealand’s archive and Te Papa’s own collection. As our… Read more »

Travels with Betsy – exploring the world of albatross personality

  • A discussion in the field hut around the days activities. Betsy was a keen contributor to how we developed our testing regime. Left to right: Research assistants Tim Poepart, Julien Collet and CNRS researcher Dr Samantha Patrick. Image: Susan Waugh; Copyright: Te Papa.
  • Samantha Patrick, CNRS research repairs Betsy after a particularly intense interaction with a 'bold' albatross. Image: Susan Waugh; Copyright: Te Papa.
  • A birds with a more 'bold' response to meeting Betsy, clacks its bill and grumbles as Betsy is pulled away. Image: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.
  • Research assistant Julien Collet presents Betsy to an unsuspecting albatross on the nest. Photo: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.

Do albatrosses have personalities? And if so, how do scientists measure such intangible characteristics? This blog provides some of the background to research Te Papa scientists were involved in, examining how birds use their environment, and how individual personality traits of these birds can be measured. The previous blogs on this topic can be accessed here…. Read more »

The Natural History of Christmas Part 1 – The Night Before Christmas

Comparison of the morphometry of a dwarf (left) and elf (right) suggests a dwarf is more likely to be the creature masquerading as St Nicholas in Moore's poem.

Clement C. Moore’s classic poem Twas The Night Before Christmas, written in the 1820s and known to many, describes the “elf” St Nicholas making his home deliveries of presents, and the delight of a small child in seeing this happen. It’s clear that Moore was an ardent lover of nature, as there are no fewer than… Read more »

Te Papa scientists wanted to learn more about the plants on the Snares Islands, which have rarely been studied because the islands are so remote. The plants’ descriptive names tell us a lot about the species. There are tree daisies and Cook’s scurvy grass – and some species so little known that they don’t even… Read more »

Westland Petrels weathering the storm…mostly!

  • Tree fallen in the Westland Petrel colony showing a petrel burrow inspection lid (white object 1/2 buried in the ground) amongst the uprooted roots of the tree. Image Susan Waugh, Copyright Te Papa.
  • Viewed from the screen of the burrow-scope we get a clear view of the petrel chick inside the burrow. Image: Susan Waugh. Copyright Te Papa.
  • A classic sign of petrel activity in the mud-stone of Westland's Punakaiki coast. Birds climbing up the steep terrain make claw-marks in the soft substrate. This bedrock also proves a slippery base for the overlying topsoil, which has slipped off in large areas in and around the Westland Petrel colonies monitored by Te Papa researchers in 2014. Image: Susan Waugh, Copyright Te Papa.
  • A juvenile Westland petrel. We banded all young birds at the study colony, to track their survival to recruitment to the breeding population in 4-5 years time. Image: Susan Waugh, Copyright, Te Papa.

New Zealand has an amazing diversity of seabirds. Around 1/3 of the worlds 348 species are found in New Zealand waters, with a high number of endemic and threatened species among them. Te Papa has a long-term research programme on Westland Petrels, a species that nests in the coastal cliffs near Punakaiki, on the West… Read more »

A student’s personal response to Colin McCahon

Robert Burrowes's personal response to Colin McCahon's Walk (Series C)

Earlier this year over 60 visual art and art history students from Wellington region colleges attended a study day at Te Papa to learn about Colin McCahon. To open the day, Te Papa curator Rebecca Rice gave students an overview of McCahon’s life and outlined main themes in his work. Students then took part in workshops led by… Read more »

Hip hop was here…from Day 1

Hip hop battle at the Hip Hop Hut

November was World Hip Hop History Month 2014. It was celebrated at Te Papa by Family Fun: Aotearoa Hip Hop 101 with special guest hip hop pioneers KOS 163, Rhys B and other members of the local hip hop community. The event celebrated 20 years of Wellington hip hop collective Footsouljahs and 30 years since the release… Read more »

Veronika Meduna, presenter of Radio New Zealand’s Our Changing World, presented Te Papa’s #squidwatch event. In this blog, she reflects on the experience of presenting such a ‘colossal’ event and the role of museums in effective science communication. It’s been two months since Te Papa’s #squidwatch, a live-streamed event during which scientists had a rare opportunity to examine a… Read more »

The most abundant bird on the Snares Islands is the sooty shearwater (also known as the muttonbird or tītī). Four Te Papa scientists had the daunting task of counting over a million sooty shearwaters on the islands to determine the trends in their population. Watch the video to see how they did it. We wish… Read more »

No Mo December

Old Spice set

Put those moustache cups away for another year, and splash on some bracing aftershave. Here are some shaving related items in Te Papa’s collections to inspire you Movember-ites to lather up and remove the moustaches you have tended over the last month. What about this shaving mug for the politically-minded moustache-remover, below. It features an illustration of the… Read more »