What (or which) was New Zealand’s first protected dolphin?

  • Pelorus Jack (a Risso’s dolphin, Grampus griseus) accompanies a vessel in Admiralty Bay, 1901–09. Image: James McDonald (Te Papa C.025085).
  • Children playing with Opo (a bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus), Opononi, 1956. Image: Eric Lee-Johnson (Te Papa O.007809/04).
  • Hector’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus hectori) – New Zealand’s first protected dolphin – but only in the waters of Cook Strait between 26 October 1956 and 1 March 1959, and 17 March 1966 to 4 July 1968. Image: Steve Dawson, New Zealand Whale and Dolphin Trust
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New Zealanders have had the privilege of enjoying the company of many dolphins that chose to interact with people or boats. Some became household names, including Pelorus Jack (1888-1912), Opo (1955-56), Horace (1978-79), Aihe (1987-93), Maui (1992-97) and Moko (2007-10). The close bond that people developed with these dolphins led to concern about their welfare… Read more »

The final tweets of @tepapacolonline

superbowl

Twitter turned 10 years old earlier this year. Te Papa hasn’t been using twitter quite that long, but the unfortunately named (my fault) @tepapacolonline account, created to share Te Papa’s amazing collections, has been around for a while now, having first dipped its toes in the twitter waters on February 27, 2009. A lot has happened… Read more »

Dick Dell and the fantastic frilled crab

  • Urchin clingfish, Dellichthys morelandi Briggs, 1955, hiding under a sea urchin, Matt's Crack, Poor Knights Islands. Image: Ian Skipworth
  • Richard ‘Dick’ Dell, Director of the National Museum, 1975. Photograph by Trevor Ulyatt. Image: Te Papa (MA_B.13190)
  • Alex Black’s Alert maurea, Maurea alertae (B. Marshall, 1995); holotype of Alertalex blacki Dell, 1956. Collected from the Chatham Rise on 10 February 1954. Found at depths of 280–861 metres. Image: Te Papa
  • Frilled crab, Trichopeltarion fantasticum Richardson & Dell, 1964. The holotype was collected in Palliser Bay in January 1956. Found at depths of 22–750 metres. Image: Te Papa

Richard (Dick) Dell specialised in the study of marine invertebrates, especially molluscs (shells). His interests and expertise also included crustaceans, and one of the more memorable names that he coined was for a spectacular deep water crab. Te Papa turned 150 years old on 8 December 2015. To celebrate 150 years since the opening of… Read more »

Dissent during the First World War: by the numbers

Socialist Cross of Honour no. 5 awarded to J K Worrall, courtesy of Jared Davidson

Guest blogger Jared Davidson asks how historians and others have measured and defined dissent, sedition and conscientious objection to military conscription during the Great War. The new statistics he arrives at will surprise you. Jared opens his blog with the numbers of individuals known to have opposed conscription (and compulsory military training) even before the declaration of war in 1914,… Read more »

Conserving and dressing 18th c. Splendour

  • Here we are carrying out the final fitting of both the dress to unsure that the garment is properly supported but not under any stress. At this point we can also adjust the final height of the ensemble and check the silhouette that has been created. Photo by S. Gatley, copyright Te Papa.
  • The near-finished mount, complete with silk petticoat, jersey top cover and sleeve supports. There are strong small magnets attached to the front which will hold the bodice section in position- These are needed as the dress doesn’t have any buttons or other fastening. The opposing magnets will be placed on the outside of the garment. These should be difficult to see as they will be coloured to match the dress.
  • The torso after it has been padded into the correct size and period shape. There is a cotton tube underskirt to hold out the multiple layers of net underskirts instead of legs! Photo by S. Gatley, copyright Te Papa.
  • The mannequin torso with the bust and waist cut away. A cotton cover is attached to the newly shaped form ready for padding to be stitched into place. Photo by Sam Gatey, copyright Te Papa.

A co-authored post by Anne Peranteau, Textile Conservator and Sam Gatley, Costume Mountmaker Historic dress, historic problems In 1951, Te Papa was given three 18th century dresses, all dating to approximately 1780.   Our work in the textile lab is currently focused on preparing two of these gowns for display in the Splendour module of Nga… Read more »

Pukerua Bay School Museum

A sketch (biro on cardboard) by Isaac in a faux rococo frame (hot glue on plastic).

The Pukerua Bay School Museum is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s newest museums – the brainchild of three Primary school students: Isaac and Paddy (aged 11) and Aurelia (aged 9). Te Papa Learning Innovation has asked the three founders, with the support of their kaiako (teacher) Cat Lunjevich, to write a post for our Te Papa blog all about… Read more »

Remembering the Evergreen

Photo showing workshop meeting

Most Wellingtonians will remember the Evergreen Coffee House as a popular spot in the buzzing nightlife of the Vivian-Cuba Street quarter – where you could get late night toasted sandwiches and ‘special coffees’ served with whisky from the café’s owner, well-known transgender queen, Chrissy Witoko. The interior walls of the Evergreen were decorated with collages,… Read more »

How to deal with human DNA contamination of your DNA sequencing: an example from a Malawian dance garment.

Dance garment, c. 1900, Malawi (Chewa culture), Photograph by Kate Whitley. Copyright Te Papa MA_I.374711

You’ve probably seen forensic scientists on TV taking swabs and fingerprints from crime scenes. They aren’t wearing labcoats, hairnets and gloves to look cool but to prevent them contaminating their forensic evidence with their own DNA. But how do scientists deal with items that are already contaminated with unwanted human DNA? I recently encountered this… Read more »

Wildlife of Hautere/Solander Island

  • Fiordland crested penguin, Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A Buller’s mollymawk chick after a downpour, Solander Island, May 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Hautere/Solander Island from the north-east, with Little Solander Island to the right. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Subadult male subantarctic fur seal on Solander Island, May 2016. The nearest large population of this species to New Zealand is on Amsterdam Island, 3,500 km west of Perth, Western Australia. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Hautere/Solander Island is a rugged, inhospitable lump of an island lying in the western approaches to Foveaux Strait. About 40 km south of Fiordland and 70 km north-west of Stewart Island, it is 1.6 km on its longest axis, with cliffs rising steeply to the 330 m summit. The only flat land is a 10 ha… Read more »