Adorn yourself in Ngā Toi|Arts Te Papa!

Adorn yourself! Photograph by Carmel Russell, © Te Papa

The Learning Innovation team are very excited about the new activities featuring in Te Whare Toi in this upcoming season of Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa. We have been playing around with the wonderful range of dress-ups for ‘Adorn yourself!’ in the office this afternoon. This activity relates to the exhibitions European Splendour 1500—1800 and… Read more »

Queer History Month

Headdress, mid 1970s, Wellington, by Frank Lund. Purchased 2003. © Te Papa. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (GH014470)

September is New Zealand Queer History Month and a great opportunity to celebrate the LGBTI histories represented in Te Papa’s collection. So over the next few weeks we’re aiming to showcase queer related objects and stories through Instagram and blogs. My first example is a headdress and gown hand-made by cross-dressing performer Frank Lund. They are classic… Read more »

Gully fern, a common New Zealand fern now in the eFloraNZ

Gully fern, pākauroharoha, Pneumatopteris pennigera.  As the colloquial name suggests, gully fern tends to grow in damp, shady places.  It is a medium-sized ground fern.  It can be distinguished from other New Zealand ferns by having its spore capsules clustered in dark circles on the underside of the frond, and the network of dark veins on its thin green fronds.  Photos by Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.

Gully fern, also called pākauroharoha and Pneumatopteris pennigera, is one of the most common ferns in New Zealand.  You’ll have almost certainly seen it if you’ve ever walked in a New Zealand forest.  It occurs from the north of the North Island to the south of the South Island (although it is absent from much… Read more »

A new microscope: how improved technology is making our work easier

Jean-Claude inspect some specimens under the new macroscope, 2016. Te Papa.

Imaging specialist, Jean-Claude Stahl, has been getting to grips with our new microscope which can take incredibly sharp pictures of shells as tiny as a grain of sand. Being able to take high quality, close-up images, is an important part of our scientist’s role in documenting species from the natural environment. With older technology, this was no… Read more »

Hello from the Tauranga Art Gallery

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  • Garments in waiting.
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  • Werta, 2005 from the Vagrant's Reception Centre wears a woollen skirt and bodice dating from c. 1895. Image courtesy of Yvonne Todd.

In 2014 I was invited by the City Gallery in Wellington to curate a ‘Frock Room’ as part of Creamy Psychology, a major retrospective exhibition of photographer Yvonne Todd. The ‘Frock Room’ featured glamorous gowns from Todd’s personal collection which she used to create portraits of various women, real and imagined. I am currently working with Yvonne… Read more »

Remembering Tufuga Holoatu Lagatule (1938-2016) – leader among the Pacific communities in Christchurch


Recently the Pacific Cultures team at Te Papa were informed of the passing of one our elders and leaders, Tufuga Holoatu Lagatule. She was born in Niue and came to New Zealand as a teenager in 1957. She became an important figure among the Pacific communities living in Christchurch, in New Zealand’s South Island, where… Read more »

Clive Roberts and one tiny iota fish

  • Yellowtail triplefin (Matanui profundum). Image: Te Papa
  • Clive Roberts during a Chatham Islands fish survey, c.1994. Image: Te Papa
  • Thalasseleotris iota, Mokohinau Islands. Image: Kendall Clements
  • Roberts’ eelpout (Seleniolycus robertsi), Ross Dependency. Image: Andrew Stewart, Te Papa

Clive Roberts is a fish biologist who joined the National Museum in 1990, shortly before it evolved into Te Papa. He has particular interests in the identification and distribution of New Zealand fishes within the wider Pacific region. This has included surveys of deep reefs, oceanic ridges and seamounts, and cataloguing the diversity of deep-sea… Read more »

It’s a Bug’s Life: Using the ‘5 science capabilities’ one year on

© Papakowhai Kindergarten

Te Papa’s ‘It’s a Bug’s Life’ project was undertaken in 2015, and has provided lots of helpful recommendations about doing science with young children. We look forward to sharing this with you soon in our upcoming resource. But, what has been the impact of this project for it’s participants? Well, Tash King – one of our teacher-researchers – has applied her… Read more »

Pat Brownsey and the cave-dwelling spleenwort

  • Cave spleenwort (Asplenium cimmeriorum). Image: Leon Perrie, Te Papa
  • Pat Brownsey. Image: Te Papa
  • Poor Knights spleenwort, Tatua Peak, Aorangi, Poor Knights Islands. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Pat Brownsey and Antony Kusabs searching for mosses in a vineyard (yeah right). Waipukurau Bryophyte Foray, December 2011. Image: Leon Perrie, Te Papa

Pat Brownsey is a fern specialist who joined the National Museum (now Te Papa) botany team in 1977, and is still finding fern mysteries to solve. Pat moved to New Zealand in 1973 after completing a PhD on ferns at the University of Leeds. The abundance and diversity of ferns in Aotearoa has kept him… Read more »