Meeting a man I will never know: Jonathan Mane-Wheoki

Ruby stands with some boxes in Te Papa's archives

Ruby Abraham, a Museum and Heritage Studies student at Victoria University, has spent the last 5 weeks on placement at Te Papa working intimately with the archive donated by Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943-2014). She explains how she’s got to know Jonathan (and the Ke Emu database) through processing and cataloguing his archive. When I began my placement at Te… Read more »

Putting the pieces back together after the earthquake

A lady in a white lab coat paints a canoe prow

On 14 Nov 2016 an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale shook Wellington awake. All-in-all Te Papa’s buildings and its collection were virtually unscathed. Out of over two million collection objects, only nine were damaged. One of the damaged objects was a plaster cast replica of an 18th century tauihu (canoe prow). Charlotte Jimenez,… Read more »

Old new money: New Zealand’s decimal currency turns 50

Practice money, $1 note, 1967, New Zealand, by Decimal Currency Board. Te Papa (GH023090/8)

History curator Kirstie Ross looks back 50 years to July 1967 when the contents of New Zealanders’ pockets and purses changed radically after the country shifted from pounds, shillings, and pence – to dollars and cents. Going decimal In 1963, the government decided that the country would decimalise its currency. Wellingtonian James Berry designed the decimal… Read more »

A little mystery – ‘The Sisters’ and the cabinet card photograph

Morris

Lissa Mitchell, Curator Historical Photography uses her detective skills to uncover the full story behind a late-1880s photograph. In the photography collection there is a large cabinet card photograph (above) with the torn remains of a newspaper article attached to the back. Using words from the remaining text as search terms on Paper Past I was able… Read more »

Award-winning garments from the rag pile

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  • 1780s-style dress pieced together from an unpicked 1730s dress. Te Papa (PC002687)
  • Opera cape made in the 1920s from a 1910s skirt. Te Papa  (PC003668)

Before you throw out your tired bits of clothing, consider giving them new life through upcycling. Senior history curator Claire Regnault highlights a collection of garments acquired by Te Papa in 2015 that are made from material originally destined for landfill. Recently I attended an illustrated talk by Beth Brown-Reinsel, an American practitioner and writer who… Read more »

Remembering New Zealand artist Guy Ngan (1926-2017)

Waoku No.2

Athol McCredie, Curator of Photography, pays tribute to artist Guy Ngan, whose works adorn buildings and public spaces around the country. We note with regret that New Zealand artist Guy Ngan passed away at age 91 on Monday 26 June. Ngan is an artist whose work you probably know, even though if you are not familiar… Read more »

Conversations with my grandmother through crochet

  • Graduating work
  • Graduating work
  • Sosefina
  • Artworks

Sosefina Andy is the first recipient of our Helen Hitchings scholarship for postgraduate fine art students. Here she explains the origins of her methodology and what inspires her work. My art teacher in high school, Ms. Karanga, was my first art critic. I started to slowly develop an interest in art-making by taking her sculpture… Read more »

The heaviest, smallest, oldest, and smelliest books in our library

small-book-parrot-2017-te-papa-2000

Our Research Librarian Martin Lewis, aka @RareBookGuy, takes a look at some of the more unusual questions he has received on tours of the Te Papa library collection. Part of my role at Te Papa includes giving tours, working with school groups, and hosting visiting researchers. You can never predict what visitors will ask on a tour,… Read more »

Xena’s costume goes on display in Christchurch

Claire Regnault, Senior Curator New Zealand Culture and History, talks about the legacy of Xena: Warrior Princess and a new exhibition in Christchurch, We Could Be Heroes: The gods and heroes of the ancient Greeks and Romans, where her costume is currently starring until Oct 2017. The history of Xena In 1995 a new heroine, tormented… Read more »

Success at the America’s Cup: Team New Zealand’s Black Magic

The Black Magic boat on display in the Maritime Museum

Te Papa congratulates Emirates Team New Zealand on winning the America’s Cup on 27 June 2017 in a 7-1 series victory over Oracle Team USA. Team New Zealand first won the America’s Cup in San Diego in 1995 with NZL32, also known as Black Magic. They successfully defended their title in Auckland in 2000. NZL32… Read more »