He Reta mai Karipori

Hēnare Wēpiha Te Wainohu

Ko tā Paora Tibble (kaiwhakamāori o Te Papa), he tuhi rangitaki mō te reo Māori ki Karipori. Kāti, i te 3 o Hūrae 1915, ka pae Te Hokowhitu-a-Tū ki uta, ki Karipori. Koia Te Ope Tuatahi (Māori). Ākuni pea, he nui ngā hōia Māori ko te reo Māori tō rātou reo matua. Nō te wiki o… Read more »

Coca-Cola celebrates centenary of the curvaceous Coke bottle

Coca-Cola bottle top

Dame Margaret Sparrow writes about the Coca-Cola bottle top on display in Te Papa’s exhibition Contraception: Uncovering the collection of Dame Margaret Sparrow (Illott Room, level 4). The Coca-Cola flavour was introduced by an American pharmacist in 1886 and sold in bottles from 1894. In 1915 a competition was held for a distinctive bottle which… Read more »

Extinct birds of New Zealand, Part 1 – A diverse menagerie, sadly departed

  • Skull ofNew Zealand owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles novaezealandiae). Te Papa Collections Online S.022454
  • Skull of the enigmatic Forbes’ snipe (Coenocorypha chathamica); Te Papa Collections Online S.025428. How did two snipe species co-exist on the Chatham Islands?
  • Skull of Eyles’ harrier (Circus teauteensis). Te Papa Collections Online S.033635
  • This South Island snipe (Coenocorypha iredalei) was photographed in 1964 during a failed rescue attempt after rats invaded its last island refuge. Image: Don Merton, New Zealand Birds Online

Few New Zealanders are aware how many bird species have been lost since people first reached New Zealand less than 800 years ago. The number of named extinct species continues to increase, largely due to careful examination of bones from Chatham Island dunes and caves, but is currently 53 species – an appalling indictment of… Read more »

Amongst the many events happening this weekend during Wellington’s 150th birthday is the official unveiling of a plaque (below). The plaque commemorates 150 years since the founding of Te Papa’s predecessor, the Colonial Museum, and the role of James Hector in setting up and running the museum, amongst many other things. (Hector was an amazing scientific… Read more »

Colossal Squid #2: Update

squid eye

Te Papa’s second colossal squid, Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, is part of the displays for the upcoming Te Papa Open House on 25th July 2015 – a part of the 150th celebrations for the Wellington City as capital of New Zealand. The squid was caught in the Ross Sea in early 2014, by Captain John Bennett on board the San Aspiring,… Read more »

Len Lye: under the sea and in New Plymouth

Painting of biomorphic organisms by Len Lye

This is a momentous week for modern art in New Zealand – on Saturday, the Len Lye Centre at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth will open to the public, the first ever space in New Zealand dedicated to a single artist. To toast this exciting occasion, it seems like a good opportunity to… Read more »

Writing ‘Gallipoli: The scale of our war’ – Part 3

  • Wall text in the 'Stalemate' section of Gallipoli: The scale of our war. Photograph by Kirstie Ross
  • 04- Chunuk Bair-001 machine gunners
  • 3D cinema Gallipoli exhibition
  • Lt Spencer Westmacott

How did you go with the Great War Word Quiz set by Te Papa’s Head Writer Frith Williams a few weeks ago? If you got 10/10, then you’re an A1 digger! Now read Frith’s latest blog in which she explores the challenges of writing from the soldiers’ perspective in Gallipoli: The scale of our war. The soldiers’ perspective:… Read more »

Berry Boys: The Magnificent Brownes

Daisy Browne wears an New Zealand Expeditionary Force 'sweet heart' brooch.

This family portrait has long been a favourite amongst the Te Papa History team. It stands out amongst the many Berry & Co soldier portraits due to the sitters’ magnificent winter dress. Draped in heavy woollen coats and luxurious furs, it is the one portrait in the collection that powerfully conveys a season. The portrait is simply inscribed ‘Brown’. As over 600 men with the… Read more »

Ski field jaunt reveals rare lichen

The ridge above the Rainbow Ski Field, looking towards Mount McRae. Photo © Leon Perrie.

Interesting and useful observations of life’s diversity can be made pretty much anywhere, anytime, and by anyone. Last January, I joined the Wellington Botanical Society’s exploration of the area around Nelson Lakes. One of our day trips was to the Rainbow Ski Field. Some of us clambered up to the main ridge.  Most of us were… Read more »

History curator Michael Fitzgerald introduces Lieutenant Colonel Percival Fenwick, the second, larger-than-life figure encountered in Gallipoli: The scale of our war. The 45-year-old surgeon’s despair is palpable, as leans over Jack Aitken on May 4th 1915, knowing that he has been unable to save the fatally wounded Canterbury infantryman. Fenwick (1870–1958) was born in London where he qualified as… Read more »