Today is World Contraception Day!

Display case with one contraceptive pill stating 'the pill that changed the world' against a backdrop of visitors' comments 'Let's talk about sex'

World Contraception Day aims to improve awareness and access to the many contraceptive methods available, and to help people make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health. Contraception: Uncovering the collection of Dame Margaret Sparrow is an exhibition at Te Papa which features just about every contraceptive device you can think of, from the… Read more »

What do you think of when you hear the words ‘human rights’? This week Te Papa hosted a fantastic and thought-provoking conference on human rights in museums with the theme: ‘Access is a human right’. Federation of International Human Rights Museums Speakers from around the world shared their experiences, and we shared ours – from… Read more »

Healing Te Papa’s Achilles Heel: George Dawe Redefined!

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Posh ignorance vs. best practice Art historians and curators can be obstinately wrong and obtuse even about great masterpieces. A notorious example is Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine (c. 1490) which should really be called Lady with a Ferret, but posh ignorance prevails. The best practitioners in the field are never afraid to… Read more »

More Macey – recent photography acquisitions

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Te Papa recently acquired more cabinet card photographs by Blenheim photographer, William H. Macey. Macey’s photographs are a great example of the strength of photography occurring in the regional centres of New Zealand during the late nineteenth century and up to World War I. You can read more about Macey and see more of his… Read more »

Condoms in the trolley

Supermarket, Devonport, Auckland, 1977, by John Daley. Gift of John Daley, 2012.  © Te Papa (O.038942)

Does anyone remember having to go into a pharmacy and ask for condoms? 30 years ago today saw a massive change in how New Zealanders bought condoms – for the first time they became available on supermarket shelves. Until 1985, condoms were bought mainly from chemist shops. Boxes were either on display or customers had… Read more »

Why museums matter: activism, politics and protest

Next week we have the privilege of welcoming Professor Richard Sandell, a leading museologist from the UK, to Te Papa. Richard, who my colleague devoutly declares ‘should be compulsory reading for anyone working in a museum’, is one of the keynote speakers at this year’s Federation of International Human Rights conference. His keynote address, ‘Why Museums Matter:… Read more »

Long she reigned over us: Queen Victoria at Te Papa

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With Queen Elizabeth II’s lengthy reign (my entire lifetime, and more!) now overtaking that of Queen Victoria, it makes sense to look at some of Te Papa’s fascinating and diverse objects that relate to the earlier monarch and empress. I can’t hope to summarise what Queen Victoria was like – that requires not a blog… Read more »

Austin’s Mandarin challenge

Nǐhǎo from Austin Wang. Photo by Ken Downie, 2012

Austin Wang was born in Auckland but his family comes from Shenyang city in China. They speak Mandarin at home, and the family’s Chinese heritage is an important part of their busy life.   Austin hears and speaks Mandarin at home all the time, but the challenge to teach him to read and write Mandarin while… Read more »

Celebrating Pasifika @ StoryPlace

Celebrating Pasifika, Photograph: Michael Hall, © Te Papa

Mālō e lelei! (Hello) We are having a great time up in PlaNet Pasifika Discovery Centre with our current StoryPlace programme, Celebrating Pasifika. This programme has been specifically developed to align with Pacific Language Week activities, and we have been so fortunate to work with members of both our regional ECE and Pasifika communities to shape the content. We have had a lot… Read more »