Five artworks for people who should be doing chores instead of looking at art

Handy Andy with red, 2010, by Bill Culbert. Purchased 2010. Te Papa (2010-0021-1/A-B)

Do you currently have a long list of things you need to do around the house? Modern art curator Chelsea Nichols helps you procrastinate a little longer with five artworks from Te Papa’s collection. Chore #1: Cleaning the house Is your home full of stubborn grease and dirt? Well, Bill Culbert’s Handy Andy with red (2010)… Read more »

Help us identify some 17th century butterflies, moths, and bugs

Hollar blog 6

Think you know your bugs? Art curator Dr Mark Stocker has been working on a project along with our bug experts, Dr Phil Sirvid and Dr Julia Kasper, to identify a number of butterflies, moths, and other insects (including a snail) in some 17th century prints by Anglo-Czech etcher Wenceslaus Hollar. But they haven’t managed to identify them… Read more »

Garments as canvases and zero waste design: The work of Greta Menzies

  • Examples of Greta Menzies’ work. Photographs courtesy of Greta Menzies
  • Examples of Greta Menzies’ work. Photographs courtesy of Greta Menzies
  • Examples of Greta Menzies’ work. Photographs courtesy of Greta Menzies
  • Examples of Greta Menzies’ work

What comes to mind when you think of textile design? Fashion? Furnishing? Cloth? Curatorial intern Sonya Withers looks at the work of Greta Menzies. Textile designers are hard to pin, as their practice can span multiple mediums, spaces, and creative thinking. International examples have shown technical experimentation in the defence force around wearable tech that… Read more »

Athol McCredie, Curator Photography, reflects on the life of New Zealand photographer Len Wesney. I was stunned and saddened to learn that Christchurch photographer Len Wesney died tragically in a house fire on 14 August 2017. I spent nearly a day with him in February this year and had planned a return visit soon. Wesney… Read more »

At Te Papa we’re constantly photographing our collection items – whether that be art works, historical objects, or scientific specimens.  Recently, our imaging specialist Jean-Claude Stahl has taken pictures of some bizarre creatures – water bears, also known as tardigrades. Here, Jean-Claude explains why photographing a water bear is such a ‘bugbear’ and bug expert Phil Sirvid fills us in… Read more »

Another extinct bird: Northland’s unique shag

Leucocarbo Tennyson 216

Curator of vertebrates Alan Tennyson discusses another previously unknown New Zealand bird extinction, published in a new article today.  Last month it was revealed that New Zealand had lost its unique swan in prehistoric times. That list of extinctions continues to grow at an alarming rate as research, led by an Otago University team, published… Read more »

In photos: Giant eggs, tiny eggs, and the eggceptionally rare

  • Eggstremes. South Island giant moa and rifleman eggs to the same scale. Specimens ME.012749 and OR.007264 (latter collected by Captain John Bollons at Akaroa, date unknown). Photogtaph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa
  • Laughing owl egg (44.2 mm x 39.5 mm). Locality and date unknown. Specimen OR.030062. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa
  • New Zealand dotterel clutch, Maketu Spit, Bay of Plenty, October 2011. Specimen OR.029416, eggs approx. 45 mm x 32 mm. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa
  • South Island kokako egg (42.0 mm x 27.4 mm), Hokitika, date unknown. Specimen OR.007626. Photograph by Jean-Claude Stahl. Te Papa

Bird expert Colin Miskelly highlights some of the treasures in our egg collection, including those thought to be held only by Te Papa – as well as giant moa eggs, tiny rifleman eggs, and eggs that were acquired during dramatic events in New Zealand’s conservation history. Digitising our egg collection Most of the bird eggs held… Read more »

Language, culture, and the impact of ‘Slavers in Paradise’

  • C.003104. Arrival of supplies on Atiu Island.  George Crummer, circa 1914
  • O.037817 Beach Penrhyn.  Andrew Thomas, 1886, Penrhyn Atoll (Tongareva)
  • IMG_0921
  • Manihiki O.037810

Curator Pacific Cultures Rachel Yates takes a look at the book Slavers in Paradise, and a lesser-known episode of Cook Islands and Pacific history. As part of the lead up to Te ‘Epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani (Cook Islands Language week), I made a list of potential reads, mainly historical non-fiction books featuring writers or stories… Read more »

Another extinct bird: New Zealand’s prehistoric swan

Cygnus chathamensis skeleton

Curator of vertebrates, Alan Tennyson, discusses new findings published today that New Zealand and the Chatham Islands had their own unique prehistoric swan.  Black swans (Cygnus atratus) are a common and prominent part of New Zealand’s wetland fauna today – but have they always been here, or are they recent invaders? For many decades it has been unclear… Read more »

Hei maumaharatanga: Cliff Whiting – Artist, Educator, Rangatira

Man carves

Tena koutou i o tatou tini mate koutou kua wheturangitia ki te korowai o Ranginui koutou kua wehe atu ki te po ki te tua o Te Arai ki te okiokinga i o tatou tupuna haere, haere, haere When I spoke to a cousin of mine about Cliff Whiting’s recent passing, she talked about the… Read more »