Help name a new species

The new fern species grows on limestone and similar rocks in the north-west South Island. Photo © Leon Perrie.

The You Called Me What?! exhibition celebrates 150 years of scientific discovery at Te Papa. A big part of this has been the scientific naming of more than 2500 animal and plant species by museum staff since 1865. We’re now giving you the opportunity to be involved. The exhibition will showcase several of the new… Read more »

Painting by numbers: creating a colonial masterpiece

William Strutt’s View of Mt Egmont, Taranaki, New Zealand, taken from New Plymouth, with Maoris driving off settlers’ cattle, 1861 has been described by some as the ‘holy grail’ of colonial New Zealand painting. Paintings of this calibre are few and far between in New Zealand’s art history, as budding artists were more often preoccupied… Read more »

Lecture by visiting fashion historian Alexandra Palmer

Alexandra Palmer

On Tuesday 9 February, 2016 at 6pm Dr Alexandra Palmer of the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada will present a lecture at Massey University, Wellington on ‘Frock coats, redingotes and Dior: Fashion in the Royal Ontario Museum 1909-2016’. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is similar to Te Papa in that its collections span the intertwined worlds of natural history and… Read more »

Using DNA to trace the pre-European planting of karaka

Robin Atherton with the distinctive fruit of karaka. Robin studied karaka genetics for her PhD at Massey University and is a co-author on the new study. Photo credit: Robin Atherton

Karaka, with its large shiny leaves and bright orange fruit, is one of New Zealand’s most distinctive trees. But in pre-European New Zealand, karaka was much more than just a handsome tree – the kernels of its fruit provided an important food source for Māori. This was despite the poisonous kernels requiring considerable treatment before… Read more »

Pacific Cultures: Our Year in Numbers and Storeroom Selfies!

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It has been another busy year for the Pacific Cultures team. This year as part of Ngā Toi Arts Te Papa we opened Tīvaevae: Out of the Glory Box, Te Papa’s first exhibition of Cook Islands tīvaevae. We have also worked to have have more of our collection available online and in person through exhibitions such… Read more »

Archives – Te Wāhi Pounamu, Areta Wilkinson and Mark Adams

Mark Adams, Land of Memories - The Ngai Tahu Monument, 4 June 1988

Earlier this month, I was invited by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery to travel to Dunedin to talk about Archives – Te Wāhi Pounamu, Areta Wilkinson and Mark Adams currently on at the gallery.  A large exhibition, the show is made up of examples of Areta Wilkinson and Mark Adams individual practices’ across time. It features bodies of work gathered, as the… Read more »

Silent Night

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  • A painted notice to assist the evacuation of Anzac Cove, December 1915. Photograph by Norman Henry Prior. Wairarapa Archives (11-72/4-2-23.digital)
  • Saying goodbye to mates before leaving Gallipoli. Photo by Norman Prior. Wairarapa Archive

100 years ago in the early hours of 20 December 1915 the last party of New Zealand men left Anzac Cove, Gallipoli. The campaign was over. For those of us who worked on the exhibition, Gallipoli: The scale of our war, the stories of the Anzacs’ tenuous presence there from April to December 1915 are… Read more »

Star Wars and the Fiji connection: redux

Totokia (club), 1800s, Fiji, maker unknown. Oldman Collection. Gift of the New Zealand Government, 1992. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (OL000130.S/5)

The movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened in New Zealand on 17 December. But did you know the franchise has a connection to the warriors of 19th century Fiji? Fijian weapons had a small role in the imaginings for one of the most successful science fiction films of all time….George Lucas’s Star Wars (1977)…. Read more »

Licking the Old Masters: The First New Zealand Christmas Stamps

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To quote Bing Crosby, ‘every Christmas card I write’, would be enveloped and stamped unless the friend or relation receiving it was literally ­close. For me and surely millions of others, the stamp itself needed to be a Christmas one. Notice how I use the past tense. In the days of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter,… Read more »