Exhibiting – ‘Being modern’

As a curator, when you develop an exhibition large or small, your heart and mind travels into this particular zone for quite some time. As the object list develops and you start to examine what is known about the objects, a case builds up for inclusion in the show. This has recently been the case… Read more »

1933/16 – an old acquisition of photographs

E. S. Richards, Original Post Office, Featherston Street, circa 1865,

  One of my favourite groups of photographs in the collection is a series of carte-de-visite prints all bound together by the number ’1933/16′. From this number we know that this small group of photographs was the 16th group of objects acquired by the Dominion Museum in 1933. We also know that they were gifted by Mrs E. W…. Read more »

Students add a little wow factor to Te Papa Store

  • Christoph and Sheryl with their finished windows.
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Every year the team at the World of WearableArt™ encourages retailers around Wellington to take part in the annual World of World of WearableArt™ Window Dressing Competition. From 22 September – 7 October 2014 you can be the judge and cast your vote for the best window in town! Simply visit WOWWindowComp.com to cast your vote. Each year Te Papa Store takes… Read more »

Seasonality in birds and birdwatchers

  • Shining cuckoo graph
  • Shining cuckoos are often secretive, but are unmistakeable when seen well. Image: Duncan Watson, New Zealand Birds Online
  • An adult grey warbler (left) feeds a recently fledged shining cuckoo chick. Image: Malcolm Pullman, New Zealand Birds Online
  • An adult shining cuckoo shows its iridescent dorsal plumage. Image: Nathan Hill, New Zealand Birds Online

One of the characteristic sounds of spring in New Zealand is the clear, upward-slurred whistle of the shining cuckoo. Along with its long-tailed cousin, the two cuckoos are the only New Zealand forest birds that migrate away from New Zealand after breeding. This is in sharp contrast to temperate countries in Europe, Asia and North… Read more »

Thanks to everyone who sent in questions – our scientists answered as many as they could during the live stream. There were so many great questions we couldn’t answer them all during the event, so as promised, the most frequently asked questions are answered below. Visit the TONMO forum if you have further questions about… Read more »

World of WearableArt™ Symposium – register today

Its that time of year again – the colourful World of WearableArt™ has quite literally blown into town this week, ready to paint the town red! Hopefully by the time the competing designers fly in from around the world to see their garments take the stage, today’s gale force winds will have died down to a gentle, welcoming  sea breeze.   Wind,… Read more »

Charles Darwin was unimpressed with the south coast of Western Australia when he visited in March 1836 calling it ‘dull and uninteresting’. If, however, he had visited during the spring wildflower season its likely he would have come to the opposite conclusion. These days botanically-inclined tourists, such as myself, flock to southwestern Australia during wildflower season…. Read more »

William Gemmell: WWI amputee postively identified

Te Papa holds 28 sepia-toned photographs taken of New Zealand servicemen who were wounded during World War I. None of the men in these photographs are identified. However, thanks to Julie Gemmell of Waikouaiti, we now know that one of the men in two of these photos is William Clement Gemmell, Julie’s grandfather. In the photograph above,… Read more »

Over 380,000 viewers tuned in over the past 24 hours to watch the examination of our most recent colossal squid. If you missed it, you can still watch it on YouTube here: Watch Te Papa’s colossal squid examination What did scientists find? Digested stomach contents and jelly-filled eyes might not sound exciting, but scientists were… Read more »

Doodia rasp ferns become Blechnum hard ferns

  • Blechnum neglectum, previously Pteridoblechnum neglectum, found only in north-eastern Australia. Right: Blechnum diversifolium, from New Caledonia. Blechnum diversifolium is more closely related to the species previously placed in Pteridoblechnum than it is to most species of Blechnum. Photos Leon Perrie. Composite © Te Papa.
  • Blechnaceae ferns are common in several parts of the world. For instance, all New Zealanders will be familiar with kiokio and its relatives in the genus Blechnum, colloquially known as “hard ferns” because of their coriaceous fronds.  Kiokio (Blechnum novae-zelandiae) is a common sight on road cuttings, amongst other habitats, and occurs throughout the country. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Left: rasp fern, Blechnum parrisiae, previously called Doodia australis, occurs in both Australia and New Zealand. Right: Blechnum gibbum, from New Caledonia. Blechnum gibbum is more closely related to the species formerly placed in Doodia than it is to most species of Blechnum. Photos Leon Perrie. Composite © Te Papa.
  • Blechnum orientale, in Fiji. Most species of Blechnum in New Zealand are “dimorphic”, with obviously different fertile and sterile fronds. (The exception is Blechnum fraseri, which is only partially dimorphic.) However, many overseas Blechnum are “monomorphic” like Blechnum orientale, which is widespread in the tropics from Asia through Australia to the Pacific.  Photo Leon Perrie. (c) Te Papa.

A key principle in the scientific classification of animals, plants, and other living things is that the system of scientific names reflects their relationships. This is because there is only a single evolutionary history, and it provides an objective basis by which to name life. As we learn more about these evolutionary relationships, scientific names… Read more »