Lecture by visiting fashion historian Alexandra Palmer

Alexandra Palmer

On Tuesday 9 February, 2016 at 6pm Dr Alexandra Palmer of the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada will present a lecture at Massey University, Wellington on ‘Frock coats, redingotes and Dior: Fashion in the Royal Ontario Museum 1909-2016’. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is similar to Te Papa in that its collections span the intertwined worlds of natural history and… Read more »

Using DNA to trace the pre-European planting of karaka

Robin Atherton with the distinctive fruit of karaka. Robin studied karaka genetics for her PhD at Massey University and is a co-author on the new study. Photo credit: Robin Atherton

Karaka, with its large shiny leaves and bright orange fruit, is one of New Zealand’s most distinctive trees. But in pre-European New Zealand, karaka was much more than just a handsome tree – the kernels of its fruit provided an important food source for Māori. This was despite the poisonous kernels requiring considerable treatment before… Read more »

Pacific Cultures: Our Year in Numbers and Storeroom Selfies!

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It has been another busy year for the Pacific Cultures team. This year as part of Ngā Toi Arts Te Papa we opened Tīvaevae: Out of the Glory Box, Te Papa’s first exhibition of Cook Islands tīvaevae. We have also worked to have have more of our collection available online and in person through exhibitions such… Read more »

Archives – Te Wāhi Pounamu, Areta Wilkinson and Mark Adams

Mark Adams, Land of Memories - The Ngai Tahu Monument, 4 June 1988

Earlier this month, I was invited by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery to travel to Dunedin to talk about Archives – Te Wāhi Pounamu, Areta Wilkinson and Mark Adams currently on at the gallery.  A large exhibition, the show is made up of examples of Areta Wilkinson and Mark Adams individual practices’ across time. It features bodies of work gathered, as the… Read more »

Silent Night

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  • A painted notice to assist the evacuation of Anzac Cove, December 1915. Photograph by Norman Henry Prior. Wairarapa Archives (11-72/4-2-23.digital)
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100 years ago in the early hours of 20 December 1915 the last party of New Zealand men left Anzac Cove, Gallipoli. The campaign was over. For those of us who worked on the exhibition, Gallipoli: The scale of our war, the stories of the Anzacs’ tenuous presence there from April to December 1915 are… Read more »

Star Wars and the Fiji connection: redux

Totokia (club), 1800s, Fiji, maker unknown. Oldman Collection. Gift of the New Zealand Government, 1992. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (OL000130.S/5)

The movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened in New Zealand on 17 December. But did you know the franchise has a connection to the warriors of 19th century Fiji? Fijian weapons had a small role in the imaginings for one of the most successful science fiction films of all time….George Lucas’s Star Wars (1977)…. Read more »

Licking the Old Masters: The First New Zealand Christmas Stamps

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To quote Bing Crosby, ‘every Christmas card I write’, would be enveloped and stamped unless the friend or relation receiving it was literally ­close. For me and surely millions of others, the stamp itself needed to be a Christmas one. Notice how I use the past tense. In the days of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter,… Read more »

My Little Pony – a little bit of magic at Te Papa

My Little Ponies. Photo: Kate Whitley © Te Papa

As I write this blog I have the ‘My Little Pony’ tune playing around in my head – it’s a catchy tune and quite a sweet song but I hope it doesn’t stay there all day – it so easily could! You’ll know what I mean if you were born in the 1980s or have children…. Read more »

Penguin babies get a weigh-in

  • Dre from Picton holds a baby penguin at Motuara Island.
  • The research hut at Motuara Island is equipped for workers to stay as well as store equipment and food. Photo: Adelie Filippi, Copyright Te Papa.
  • This little penguin chick was very calm and composed during the weight and measure session, and got a little tickle on the head on his way back to the burrow. Photo: Susan Waugh; Copyright Te Papa.
  • Camp duties at Motuara Island for our teen scientists. Photo: Susan Waugh; Copyright Te Papa.

This year’s Te Papa Little Penguin research programme was focussed at Motuara Island in Queen Charlotte Sound, just out of Picton, where there is a population of several hundred little penguins that breed between August and December. We deployed GPS trackers on adult birds throughout their breeding season to find out their main foraging areas. This year our team… Read more »