Off the beaten track: fern-hunting in a snow damaged forest

  • Looking behind to where the track had been cleared. A huge effort had been put in to clear the track.
  • This point in the track marked where the clearing of fallen trees stopped.
  • Whirinaki forest a few weeks ago.
  • Whirinaki forest earlier in 2016. Note the clear view through the forest understory.

Fieldwork can be as easy as reaching out of the car window to sample a tree. Or it can be a bit more challenging. A couple of weeks ago botany curator Leon Perrie and I went to Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tāne Conservation Park to look at tree ferns. We’d visited the same site earlier in the… Read more »

Cuckoos, toxic caterpillars, citizen science, and cinerarias

  • Shining cuckoo in gum-tree. Image: Rob Lynch, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Juvenile shining cuckoo with monarch caterpillar, Upper Moutere. Image: Anna Barnett, New Zealand Birds Online
  • Magpie moth caterpillar (Nyctemera annulata). Image: Gonzalo Avila, Plant & Food Research
  • Cinerarias. Image: Colin Miskelly, New Zealand Birds Online

Cuckoos are well-known for eating spiky and poisonous foods, but did you know they can eat toxic monarch caterpillars? Shining cuckoo The pure, whistling call of the shining cuckoo is New Zealand’s harbinger of spring. This small cuckoo is one of our few migratory landbirds, spending the winter on tropical islands east of Papua New Guinea,… Read more »

David Riley, who works in our Digital Collections and Access team, is digitising 190 film reels – the contents of which hasn’t been seen for 70 years. Find out what he’s found so far. Discovering the film reels Since joining Te Papa I have been curious about a collection of 16mm and 8mm films stored… Read more »

A Children’s Guide to Splendour by Pukerua Bay School Museum

A Children's Guide to Splendour by Isaac du Toit, edited by Paddy Rockwell.

Written for children, by children, Te Papa’s Learning Innovation and Art teams are very excited to share the first book produced by our friends from the Pukerua Bay School Museum. This guide is full of great information relating to life in Europe in the 16th to 19th centuries – inspired by the taonga (treasures) on display in the European Splendour… Read more »

Can you see through paint? Examining a hidden wall mural using infrared reflectography

soil-bureau-mural

Linda Waters, Conservator Paintings, shares a technique used in her work to look through layers of paint and uncover a painting that would otherwise remain invisible. Recently we had an opportunity to try to see through paint in the foyer of a building in Taita to find a mural underneath. Bronwyn Holloway Smith from Massey University… Read more »

Remembering Avis Higgs: painter, designer, and ‘a truly awesome woman’

Swan Top, from Laurie Foon's 2005 collection Black Swan. The textile design was created by Avid Higgs in the 1940s.

Last week, we received the sad news that Avis Higgs had passed away just a few days after celebrating her 98th birthday. Avis Higgs was known to many as a painter. She was actively involved in the Architectural Centre Gallery, the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts and the Watercolour Society of New Zealand.  She is also… Read more »

Catwalk couture in detail

  • The sheer Versace day dress at far right (GH013642), on display in April 2001 alongside three other Versace dresses in Te Papa's collection.
  • Day dress, 1997, Milan, by Gianni Versace. Gift of Gianni Versace S.p.A., Italy, 2001. Te Papa (GH013642)
  • Detail of GH013642, showing sheer and opaque areas of burnout fabric. Photo by A. Peranteau, copyright Te Papa.
  • 2001 cartoon commentary on Te Papa's Versace exhibition.

Catwalk glamour This week I’ve been working on couture garments that are destined for display at Expressions in Upper Hutt. The Catwalk to Cover exhibition will include fashions from Te Papa’s collection by international and New Zealand designers alongside photographs that capture the dynamism, creativity and glamour that epitomize the runway fashion show experience. The… Read more »

One million visitors: myriad meanings

Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor applies the finishing touches to the large scale model of Lottie Le Gallais. Photograph by Michael Hall, Te Papa.

20 October marked a significant milestone at Te Papa when Gallipoli: The scale of our war’s one millionth visitor and a friend were escorted through the exhibition. That number is almost equal to New Zealand’s population (1.1 million) during the war, 100 years ago. We’ve reached this phenomenal figure in just 18 months since the exhibition opened…. Read more »

Taking over tomorrow’s museum: Virtual reality and the rise of experience

A lady wearing a VR headset

Technology and the digital world are forever changing the way in which humans experience entertainment, education, work, and day-to-day life. Usually, it can take a while for the public to warm up to experimental innovations, but often they can become unanimous or even necessary. Virtual reality, or VR, is one of these innovations, and it… Read more »

Critters of Taumaka (Open Bay Islands)

  • Taumaka skink (Oligosoma taumakae) on Taumaka, September 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Red admiral butterfly (Vanessa gonerilla) on Taumaka, September 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Red admiral butterfly (Vanessa gonerilla) on Taumaka, September 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Taumaka gecko (Mokopirirakau undescribed species) on Taumaka, September 2016. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Taumaka is a 20 ha Māori-owned island lying about 4 km off the South Westland coast. Our visit to the island last month was to track foraging trips of breeding tawaki / Fiordland crested penguins, and was undertaken with the permission and support of the Taumaka me Popotai Trust. The island has a large New… Read more »