New WOW Factor!

A sneaky peak!

This week we are changing over a number of garments in The WOW Factor, an exhibition celebrating the wonderful, creative and inventive World of WearableArt™. The exhibition itself has been extended to 2 November 2014 so that this year’s show attendees can also enjoy seeing a number of garments up close and personal. For those of… Read more »

A Victorian Tomboy, Navigating History and Maps Maps Maps!

A birds-eye-view of the imaging process. Photograph by Riah King-Wall. © Te Papa

By Riah King-Wall, intern Kia ora – I’m Riah King-Wall, and for the past five weeks I’ve been digging into some of the fascinating bits and pieces housed within the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Here on placement from the Master of Museum and Heritage Studies programme at Victoria University of Wellington, I’ve… Read more »

Banana playing a blue accordion: a Muka Youth Print

By Rebecca Nuttall, intern “Banana playing a blue accordion.” What? My name is Rebecca Nuttall. I’ve been an intern at Te Papa and I’m describing this print to you. You’re going to love it. That’s not true. You may hate it. But how would you know? I don’t think you can fully appreciate this print… Read more »

A new bird for New Zealand – buff-breasted sandpiper

  • Buff-breasted sandpiper, South Kaipara Head, March 2014. Image: © Ian Southey
  • Buff-breasted sandpiper page on New Zealand Birds Online
  • Buff-breasted sandpiper, South Kaipara Head. Image: (c) Ian Southey
  • Buff-breasted sandpiper, South Kaipara Head. Image: (c) Ian Southey

On 20 March 2014, Helen Smith and Gwenda Pulham had nearly completed bird surveys for the day when they saw a bird that was unfamiliar to them. The two members of Birds New Zealand (a.k.a. the Ornithological Society of New Zealand) had been counting New Zealand dotterels at the bombing range roost at Papakanui Spit,… Read more »

What was New Zealand’s first fully protected native bird?

  • The March 1885 New Zealand Gazette notice that added white heron and crested grebe to the schedule of native game. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • The tui – New Zealand’s first fully protected native bird. Image: Tony Whitehead, New Zealand Birds Online
  • White heron and crested grebe – both fully protected nationwide since 1888. Images: Glenda Rees and Craig McKenzie, New Zealand Birds Online
  • The huia was one of New Zealand’s first fully protected species (in 1892), but this was not enough to save it from extinction. Image: Te Papa

I suspect that this is a question that few people have given much thought to. The answer should be as much a part of our conservation heritage as our first national park (Tongariro, 1887). The national park answer can be found in many conservation reference books and websites, but few authors have attempted to name… Read more »

Are wingless fliers Nature’s best hitchhikers?

Left: A louse-fly carries a hitchhiking louse from a Japanese crow, attached to one of the fly’s abdominal hairs. Right: detail of same louse. Photos by Rokuro Kano, Tokyo, Japan. © Rokuro Kano

by Ricardo L. Palma, Curator of Terrestrial Invertebrates Evolving without wings, humans dreamed about flying for thousands of years… but only just over 100 years ago they invented a heavier-than-air machine which could fly and take them to the skies. However, long long ago, natural evolution had already provided the opportunity to fly to creatures… Read more »

Recent acquisitions – cabinet card photographs


I am quite fond of some of the new photographs in the collection which are a set of cabinet card format studio portraits from the late nineteenth century. Many of them were taken by photographers working in the South Island in places such as Lyttelton, Ashburton, Gore and Blenheim. I’m interested in the way these… Read more »

“Photoised”: Bicycle portraits in the Cook Islands

  • Portrait of a female cyclist, circa 1914, Cook Islands. Crummer, George. Te Papa
  • Rarotongan Coffee Palace , circa 1914, Cook Islands. Crummer, George. Te Papa
  • Family group portrait, circa 1914, Cook Islands. Crummer, George. Te Papa
  • Family group, circa 1910, Cook Islands. Crummer, George. Te Papa

Last year to celebrate Cook Islands Māori Language week, Grace Hutton (Collection Manager Pacific Cultures) wrote a blog about photographer George Robson Crummer who resided in the Cook Islands from 1890. Read Grace’s blog here Te Papa has over 240 items from Crummer including 227 black and white negatives some of which are badly… Read more »

All That Remains: WWI objects in New Zealand museum collections


We’re very excited to introduce All That Remains: WWI objects in New Zealand museum collections | He Waihotanga Iho mai i te Pakanga Tuatahi – In July, the world marks the centenary of the beginning of World War I (WWI). New Zealand’s museums hold many memories of wartime through the objects in their collections…. Read more »