Nostalgia for the Future

Sameshima - Portsmouth motors

If you are feeling nostalgic you are probably sentimentally yearning for a period in the past – for a happy, simpler time. But the past often thinks about the future, and its sometimes naïve and romantic imaginations can make you feel nostalgic too. Here’s Bernard Roundhill 1956 vision of Auckland in the year 2000. How we loved transport… Read more »

Paula Green: The Life of a Poem

At the end of 2013, Te Papa started working on a series of creative responses to Colin McCahon’s Walk (Series C) (1973) – long an artistic trigger. We approached poet and writer Greg O’Brien who agreed to work with us. Greg contacted some of New Zealand’s most well-known poets. Over the summer, they wrote and… Read more »

Ngāti Toa School brightens Discovery Centre

Ian Levi Ware proudly shows his awesome linocut print. Photographed by Makaira Waugh © Te Papa

Who are your kaitiaki? Early in April the senior students of Ngāti Toa School in Porirua had the opportunity to create colourful art to adorn the walls of our Māori Discovery Centre, Te Huka ā Tai. Their theme was Kaitiakitanga (Guardianship), looking at both who their own guardians are and what are the taonga that… Read more »

Aliens: Here Already?

Hipkins - The sanctuary Melbourne

When Captain Cook’s Endeavour sailed into Whitianga harbour in 1769 Maori thought the ship was a god, and the people on board tupua, strange beings or goblins. This was confirmed as they rowed ashore, for the way they faced opposite to their direction of travel suggested they had eyes in the backs of their heads…. Read more »

Last week Victoria University MSc student Delaney Burnard and I had a quick trip to the South Island to collect lycophytes for Delaney’s research. Lycophytes are sometimes called “clubmosses”, but they are not related to mosses. They are actually more closely related to ferns and seed plants. Lycophytes differ from seed plants in lacking seeds,… Read more »

New Zealand’s best bird photographer?

  • A vagrant Japanese snipe photographed at Lake Rotokaeo, Hamilton. Image: Neil Fitzgerald, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Northern-Bullers-Mollymawk-flight
  • The holotype of Pelagornis miocaenus (a fossil seabird) from Armagnac, France, held in the Paris Museum. There is a single specimen referred to this species from North Canterbury. Image: Alan Tennyson, New Zealand Birds Online
  • The red-kneed dotterel has been seen once in New Zealand. This adult was photographed at the Werribee sewage treatment works in Victoria, Australia. Image: Sonja Ross, New Zealand Birds Online

Three hundred photographers (and two painters) have contributed images to the New Zealand Birds Online website, which was launched in June 2013. Each of the 461 bird species on the website has its own page, with one image selected as the ‘master’ image, and additional images presented as a gallery of thumbnails that can be… Read more »

Do you remember the Trekka?

Todd 1976

If so, what did you think of the Trekka the only vehicle ever designed and mass-produced in New Zealand? Te Papa would love to hear your memories. Email your recollections, opinions, a story or even a favourite photograph through to eventenquiries@tepapa.govt.nz by Wednesday 25 June, 5 pm. The best 5 will receive free copies of Todd’s… Read more »

Kenneth Clark: making art inspirational

  • Auguste Rodin Eve 1881. Private Collection
  • Frances Hodgkins Pumpkins and Pimenti, 1935 (Fletcher Trust Collection, Auckland)
  • John Piper Coventry Cathedral 1940 © Crown Copyright, Manchester City Galleries
  • Bust of Charlemagne, c. 1350, Aachen Cathedral Treasury (Wikimedia Commons)

Imagine this: the Soundings Theatre at Te Papa is staging a lunchtime event. It seats just over 300, but the only problem is that 24,000 people want to be there. This was the scary scenario confronting the National Gallery, Washington, when it screened the first episode of the pioneering television art documentary series Civilisation: A… Read more »

Taonga from Takahe Valley

  • Waniwani (fire making stick) from Takahe Valley, ME006596
  • Knotted ‘artwork’, possibly made from a bird snare
  • Bunch of weka feathers, ME006592, possibly used as a lure for attracting inquisitive birds, such as takahē and weka
  • Length of harakeke with bird snare slip knot on end, ME006611. This would probably have been attached to the end of a long stick when in use

For those of us working with the taonga Māori collections at Te Papa our work can sometimes also be a personal experience as we connect with taonga associated with the activities of our own ancestors and with places of cultural significance to our own people. It has been a little while but I had one… Read more »