Seeing earthquakes

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Dr Hamish Campbell, Te Papa’s geologist in residence from GNS Science, shares his experience witnessing the green lights in the sky following Sunday night’s earthquake. Green sheet lightning I was driving home to Wellington from Auckland late on Sunday night after having had dinner in Taupo with Dinah and our children Niamh and Riley. Petrol… Read more »

A ‘gamble in human life’: military conscription begins 100 years ago

End view of box used in conscription ballots from 1916-1918

In 1916, after two years of fighting, it was clear that New Zealanders’ loyalty to ‘King and Country’ was competing with other concerns – and fewer men were volunteering. History curator Kirstie Ross takes a look at conscription – introduced 100 years ago to ensure a constant supply of New Zealand soldiers for military service in the… Read more »

Marti Friedlander 1928 – 2016

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It is with sadness that we at Te Papa learned photographer Marti Friedlander passed away in Auckland on Monday 15 November. Marti was born in London of Jewish parents and emigrated to New Zealand with her Kiwi husband Gerrard in 1958. She was shocked by how conservative New Zealand was at the time and gravitated… Read more »

Art and Democracy

  • No bus shelter, 1960, by Lois White. Te Papa (1972-0002-1)
  • Aufruhr (Uprising) from Ein Weberaufstand (Weavers' Revolt), 1899, by Käthe Kollwitz. Te Papa (1981-0034-2)
  • Les bêcheurs (The diggers); 1855-1856; Millet, Jean-François; etching and aquatint in brown-black ink with surface tone; paper; etching; France
  • The pancake woman, 1635, by Rembrandt van Rijn Gift of Bishop Monrad, 1869. Te Papa (1869-0001-415)

In this blog, Dr Mark Stocker, Curator Historical International Art, explores the slippery links between art and democracy Following the very recent presidential elections in the world’s second biggest democracy (don’t forget India!) it makes sense to explore the connections between art and that system of government. Victoria Coates, who combines being senior foreign policy… Read more »

You can come across some surprising sights when wandering around Te Papa – including 3 and 4-year-olds taking pictures with vintage cameras.  If you pay a visit to the art exhibitions in Ngā Toi, you might come across a small group of children from Tai Tamariki Kindergarten. Nothing too surprising there you think, but when you notice… Read more »

Design students inspired by Te Papa’s collections

Botanical inspired placement embroideries by Verity Morison, Fern Grant and Lauren Ewan, 2016. Photo by Claire Regnault.

Each year, the history curators take design students from Massey University though Te Papa’s collections behind the scenes. The students choose an item to inspire their own design and it’s around this time of year we see what they’ve created. Curator Claire Regnault shares some of the fabulous designs.  Refashioning the national wardrobe Each July students from Massey University’s second… Read more »

Curator Claire Regnault discusses the declaration that ‘fashion is dead’ – a question at the heart of this year’s End of Fashion conference, hosted in Wellington. In 2015 Li Edelkoort, a highly regarded trend forecaster, made international headlines with her declaration that fashion is dead. To support her claims she published an anti-fashion manifesto in which she… Read more »

Off the beaten track: fern-hunting in a snow damaged forest

  • Looking behind to where the track had been cleared. A huge effort had been put in to clear the track.
  • This point in the track marked where the clearing of fallen trees stopped.
  • Whirinaki forest a few weeks ago.
  • Whirinaki forest earlier in 2016. Note the clear view through the forest understory.

Fieldwork can be as easy as reaching out of the car window to sample a tree. Or it can be a bit more challenging. A couple of weeks ago botany curator Leon Perrie and I went to Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park to look at tree ferns. We’d visited the same site earlier in the… Read more »

Cuckoos, toxic caterpillars, citizen science, and cinerarias

  • Shining cuckoo in gum-tree. Image: Rob Lynch, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Juvenile shining cuckoo with monarch caterpillar, Upper Moutere. Image: Anna Barnett, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Magpie moth caterpillar (Nyctemera annulata). Image: Gonzalo Avila, Plant & Food Research
  • Cinerarias. Image: Colin Miskelly, New Zealand Birds Online

Cuckoos are well-known for eating spiky and poisonous foods, but did you know they can eat toxic monarch caterpillars? Shining cuckoo The pure, whistling call of the shining cuckoo is New Zealand’s harbinger of spring. This small cuckoo is one of our few migratory landbirds, spending the winter on tropical islands east of Papua New Guinea,… Read more »

David Riley, who works in our Digital Collections and Access team, is digitising 190 film reels – the contents of which hasn’t been seen for 70 years. Find out what he’s found so far. Discovering the film reels Since joining Te Papa I have been curious about a collection of 16mm and 8mm films stored… Read more »