Making discoveries with our citizen science projects

An undescribed species of jumping spider, eating a fly. Observed by Pete McGregor, Ruahine Range, 13 December 2014. Image Pete McGregor CC BY-NC-ND. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1128770

The spider and fern citizen science projects running alongside the DeCLASSIFIED! exhibition are roaring along. To date, there have been 101 participants and 745 observations in the Spiders with Te Papa project, and 83 participants and 1332 observations in the Ferns with Te Papa project.  Thank you to all these contributors. Phil Sirvid and I… Read more »

Looking at Hei Tiki – Wear Patterns

Hei tiki (pendant in human form), New Zealand, maker unknown. Purchased 1979. Te Papa (ME014129)

I have found that studying patterns of wear on hei tiki can be quite revealing. Most hei tiki are made from nephrite pounamu, one of the toughest and most durable natural materials in existence. This being so I think we can safely assume that surface wear on hei tiki didn’t happen overnight. This wear indicates prolonged… Read more »

Last week we held our biggest ever teacher preview which saw more than 200 teachers, from as far away as Tauranga, come to Te Papa to learn more about our new exhibition Gallipoli: The scale of our war. The preview started with Exhibition Creative Director Sir Richard Taylor giving a presentation on how his team… Read more »

The other Princess Charlotte

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Nau mai ki te ao mārama, Pirinihi Hārata! Welcome to the world, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, and may you prove a worthy spare for the heir, and a mini-feminist in your own right! The arrival of a baby daughter to the most famous woman in the world with an art history degree, the Duchess of… Read more »

Follow citizen science biodiversity discoveries

I get a daily email from NatureWatch NZ listing the New Zealand observations of ferns added that day. This is an easy way to check for observations that are relevant to my research and/or that I can help identify.

Botrychium australe, parsley fern. Image Mike Lusk CC BY-NC. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1366930

NatureWatch NZ is a citizen science website for recording New Zealand’s biodiversity. Many tens of observations are added each day, covering all kinds of life. NatureWatch NZ homepage. The quantity of new observations might seem overwhelming if you’re actually just interested in a particular group – perhaps you: are studying echinoderms, want to share your… Read more »

Tony Whincup, photographer, 1944–2015

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We learnt with sorrow and regret that photographer and educator Tony Whincup passed away recently. Tony photographed periodically in the remote islands of the Pacific nation of Kiribati over four decades, creating an extensive photographic documentation of its people and their culture. Te Papa purchased 47 of Tony’s photographs on Kiribati dance in 2005, and at the time of… Read more »

The tale of Snarge

Snarge bits and pieces. Photo by Jonathon Kelso

During the early development of the DeClassified! exhibition we had a lot of conversations with Te Papa scientists about potential objects and narratives that would do the job of explaining that Te Papa does, in fact, do science. It’s sort of my job during this phase to think like a person without much science knowledge,… Read more »

Happy Birthday Air New Zealand – Let’s Eat Cake!

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Seventy-five years ago today, the first scheduled passenger service from Auckland to Sydney on flying boat ‘Aotearoa’ ZK-AMA took place. This flight marks the birth of New Zealand’s national airline, originally named TEAL (Tasman Empire Airways Limited), now Air New Zealand. It was piloted by Captain John Burgess and there were just 9 passengers. It’s certainly… Read more »

Were there Pacific Islanders at Gallipoli in 1915?

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The short answer to this question is yes. I raise this topic in this blog as I reflect on the way that Pacific communities in New Zealand are commemorating our ancestors participation in the First World War, and whether we were present during the fighting on the Gallipoli peninsula. The Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) forces… Read more »

Fungi season and New Zealand identification resources

Entoloma hochstetteri. Leon Perrie CC BY-NC. http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/1397624

It’s getting cooler and wetter – ideal for the emergence of many fungi. This was brought home to me when I recently discovered an abundance of this distinctive little mushroom while holidaying near Rotorua. New Zealand’s fungal collections and professional expertise are concentrated at the Auckland campus of Landcare Research. The New Zealand Fungal and… Read more »