Opinion: More to art collections than meets the eye

Mount Rolleston, circa 1893, Christchurch, by Petrus van der Velden. Gift of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, 1936. Te Papa (1936-0012-116)

An art gallery is a theatre where art takes centre stage. But it is also an archive, a refuge, even a hospital, says Te Papa’s Head of Art Charlotte Davy. A recent story highlighted the art collections held by Councils and the proportion of their art works on public display. Every art collection is different…. Read more »

Congratulations to Pat Brownsey who has just been awarded the New Zealand Journal of Botany annual prize for 2016. In even-numbered years, this prize is for “established researchers”. This is “awarded to a person who has made a sustained contribution to the journal during the last five years (regularly publishing and reviewing papers), and whose… Read more »

Commemorate, celebrate: Waitangi Day in Aotearoa

Okains Bay 2015

That protests are “cringe-worthy” sells short what they truly reflect, says Mātauranga Māori curator Matariki Williams ahead of Waitangi Day. If some media personalities are to be believed, Waitangi Day is a day for New Zealanders to be embarrassed about. In the interest of wanting to end the cycle of that tired narrative, I’ll leave you to… Read more »

DNA reveals relationships of the extinct Scarlett’s shearwater

Scarlett's Shearwater, Puffinus spelaeus, collected 18 Oct 1991, Te Ana Titi Cave, Fox River (station 131, cave metre grid -82N -98E), New Zealand. Field Collection 1986. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (S.028002)

Research scientist Lara Shepherd and vertebrate curator Alan Tennyson look at the relationships of extinct seabird, the Scarlett’s shearwater (Puffinus speleus) in a newly published paper. New Zealand is the seabird capital of the world with more endemic seabird species than anywhere else. But before humans arrived with their exotic predators we used to have even more species…. Read more »

Resist and collect: A museum’s place in times of upheaval

Poster, ’Repeal All Abortion Laws’

The 1981 Springbok tour. Gay and lesbian rights. Bastion Point. Mātauranga Māori curator Matariki Williams looks at some collection highlights from various protest movements in history. In the wake of the Women’s Marches that took place worldwide over the Presidential inauguration weekend, GLAM institutions, including Te Papa and Auckland Museum, have been calling for donations of… Read more »

Barracking on the Board: Shearing in New Zealand

Sheep shearing demonstration, New Zealand, 1960, New Zealand, by Brian Brake. Gift of Mr Raymond Wai-Man Lau, 2001. Te Papa (E.005383/26)

The summer season is once again upon us, and for many people that means that it’s time to take a well-earned break. For most rural New Zealanders, however, summer is no time to rest, and at this time of year woolsheds all over the country hum with the bleating and whirring of the shearing season…. Read more »

How people are using Te Papa’s collection images

Te Papa’s rights guru Victoria Leachman runs through some of her favourite recent comments from people downloading images from our Collections Online database. People are continuing to download and use the free high resolution images of collection items from Te Papa’s Collections Online. In the quarter October to December 2016 there were 2898 downloads. When people download… Read more »

The natural history of wine-growing

  • Barrels for storing the wine as it matures are used for 3-4 years only, and produced from Austria, France. Photo: Dominique Filippi; Copyright: Dominique Filippi
  • Crottins de Chavignol (a renowned locally-produced goat-cheese) goes perfectly with the Sauvignon Blanc produced within a few kilometers of each other. Photo: Susan Waugh; Copyright, Susan Waugh.
  • Massive oak vats for processing wines  - some Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are kept in oak while fermentation takes  place. Photo: Dominique Filippi; Copyright: Dominique Filippi
  • The old 'cave' in which the original Bourgeois family wine was stored, is now home to a collection of bottles dating back to the 1930s, and several dozen oak barrels. Photo: Dominique Filippi; Copyright: Dominique Filippi.

Have you ever thought about the origin of the wine you’re drinking? Senior science curator Susan Waugh looks into the geology of a French region famous for its sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. As the notion of terroir develops more strongly in New Zealand, I carried out a bit of light research of my own into… Read more »

January – the month for jam-making and bottling!

Mrs Margaret Foster samples raspberry jam at the Manawatu Agricultural and Pastoral Show. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP/1977/4475/31A-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23031707

The summer season is once again upon us, and for many people that means that it’s time to take a well-earned break. For New Zealanders in the 19th and early 20th centuries, however, summer was no time to rest. History curator Katie Cooper examines the summertime activities of jam-making and bottling. The old saying goes… Read more »

Confessions of a bounty hunter: Discovering New Zealand’s first fossil bug

Fossil of a march fly

Inspired by his recent visit to the exhibition Bug Lab, resident geologist Hamish Campbell recounts finding New Zealand’s first pre-Pleistocene fossil bug. A momentous occasion In October 1981 a cheque arrived in the post for the princely sum of £5, drawn on a BNZ bank account owned by Sir Charles Fleming. My father Doug Campbell… Read more »