Very rare indeed: a Malawian dance garment

  • Hair fibers from each respective sampled area, GH024606; shown at 200x magnification. Image copyright Te Papa.
  • GH024606, detail of skins used to make the garment. Image copyright Te Papa.
  • Images of hair fibers removed from GH024606 showing exterior scale patterning and the structure of the interior. Images by A. Peranteau, copyright Te Papa.

Witchy tale In 1936, the Dominion Museum was given a gift so rare and strange that it made the news.  Described in the Auckland Star and in museum records as a “witch doctor’s outfit”, the garment was subsequently displayed for many years in the Buckle St building that opened that same year.   During an… Read more »

The petrels of Ile Mayes, Iles Kerguelen

  • Common diving petrel with leg-mounted GLS tag. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Blue petrel chick, Ile Mayes. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Thin-billed prion, Ile Mayes. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • White-chinned petrel, Ile Mayes. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa

Isles Kerguelen harbour an astonishing diversity and abundance of seabirds, with 33 breeding species. We had seen breeding colonies of several of the larger species on Grand Terre, but Mayes provided a taste of what the islands would have been like before their discovery – and the introduction of cats, rats and rabbits in particular…. Read more »

A week on Ile Mayes, Iles Kerguelen

  • Commerson's dolphin
  • Mayes hut
  • Aymeric & Charly in hut
  • Light-mantled sooty albatrosses, Ile Mayes. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa

After 36 hours at Port aux Français, it was time for Charly Bost and me to head into the field again. We were accompanied by Aymeric Fromant, another IPEV ‘VSC’ (Volontaire Service Civique) volunteer. There are a dozen such ‘volunteers’ on Kerguelen each year, with two (Côme Rebaudet and Aymeric Fromant in 2016) focused on… Read more »

The long walk to Port aux Français

  • Antarctic fur seals mating. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Ratmanoff king penguins. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Inquisitive gentoo penguins. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Long-tailed skua (top right), Antarctic tern and the CNES radar ball, Kerguelen Islands. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa

Snow blanketed the ground when we awoke on Boxing Day, though it had largely melted before we left camp about 2:30 pm, to start the walk east to Cap Noir. Our task for the day (and the next) was to count Antarctic fur seal pups, and also any vagrant subantarctic fur seal bulls. Fur seals… Read more »

Christmas among macaroni penguins

  • Macaroni penguin with GPS logger attached. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Mont Campbell Pringlea. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Charly Bost, Colin Miskelly and Côme Rebaudet at the summit of Mont Campbell. Image by Charly Bost, copyright IPEV
  • Christmas eve at Cap Cotter. Image by Charly Bost, copyright IPEV

The reason for our visit to Cap Cotter was to continue Charly Bost’s long-term studies of the macaroni penguins. During our 1-week stay we undertook five separate projects, beginning with attaching GPS loggers and dive time/depth recorders to eight breeding females. Like most crested penguins, macaroni penguins are highly synchronous breeders. In late December most… Read more »

Wineera family portrait : A picture tells a thousand words.

  • Wi Mekerei Rawiri
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  • TMP023227~det 4~
  • TMP023227~det 2~

A PICTURE TELLS A THOUSAND WORDS Stories from He iti whetū : Ngāti Toa portraits. Ngā Toi Arts Te Papa: Kanohi Kitea Māori & Pacific Encounters   This family portrait from the turn of last century is a remarkable and striking statement about family and identity. Titled Ko mātou me ā mātou tamariki, mokopuna hoki, or ‘Ourselves, our children and grandchildren’, this collection… Read more »

Cap Cotter and the macaroni penguins

  • Macaroni penguins, Cap Cotter, Kerguelen Islands. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Wandering albatrosses displaying, Cap Cotter, Kerguelen Islands. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Kerguelen shag, Cap Cotter, Kerguelen Islands. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Royal penguin, Cap Cotter, Kerguelen Islands. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa

The name ‘macaroni’ to most people means short, curved tubes of hollow pasta, or they may have recollections of Yankee Doodle Dandy sticking a feather in his cap. However, bird enthusiasts associate the name with one of the larger species of crested penguin that breeds at remote sites in the South Atlantic and southern Indian… Read more »

Ngā Toi Christmas Quiz: The Winner!

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The great Ngā Toi Christmas Quiz has a truly triumphant winner, Vivienne Morrell, of Wellington. She wins a Te Papa voucher, wine and Belgian chocolates, a pretty cool combination. Her set of answers was little short of brilliant: she only struggled with part of one question, which was fiendishly difficult anyway. Congratulations, Vivienne! Now, here’s a question for all of you: would you like more quizzes… Read more »

Port aux Français

  • Amorous young male elephant seal, Port aux Français, Kerguelen Islands. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Kerguelen shags, Port aux Français, Kerguelen Islands (from left to right: adult, juvenile, immature). Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Male Eaton’s pintail, Port aux Français, Kerguelen Islands. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa
  • Kerguelen shags, Port aux Français, Kerguelen Islands. Image by Colin Miskelly, copyright IPEV/Te Papa

We sailed into the Golfe du Morbihan at dawn on a cold, grey, drizzly day. The dozens of islands (including Mayes and Cochons that we will visit) were to port, and a flat, featureless land to starboard. The TAAF base (Port aux Français, PAF) is a scatter of about three dozen buildings, some old and… Read more »