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

  • MA_I.365597_lo res_2
  • MA_I.366741_lo res
  • 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

nz-stamp-madonna-1962

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 »

My Little Pony – a little bit of magic at Te Papa

My Little Ponies. Photo: Kate Whitley © Te Papa

As I write this blog I have the ‘My Little Pony’ tune playing around in my head – it’s a catchy tune and quite a sweet song but I hope it doesn’t stay there all day – it so easily could! You’ll know what I mean if you were born in the 1980s or have children…. Read more »

Penguin babies get a weigh-in

  • Dre from Picton holds a baby penguin at Motuara Island.
  • The research hut at Motuara Island is equipped for workers to stay as well as store equipment and food. Photo: Adelie Filippi, Copyright Te Papa.
  • This little penguin chick was very calm and composed during the weight and measure session, and got a little tickle on the head on his way back to the burrow. Photo: Susan Waugh; Copyright Te Papa.
  • Camp duties at Motuara Island for our teen scientists. Photo: Susan Waugh; Copyright Te Papa.

This year’s Te Papa Little Penguin research programme was focussed at Motuara Island in Queen Charlotte Sound, just out of Picton, where there is a population of several hundred little penguins that breed between August and December. We deployed GPS trackers on adult birds throughout their breeding season to find out their main foraging areas. This year our team… Read more »

Art at work

Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa - Behind the Scenes

Do you have that end-of-the-year feeling? Everything compressing and accelerating towards a sense of an ending? I love walking through Te Papa’s art galleries on Level 5, especially at this time of the year. Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa is an escape from the everyday, from schedules and deadlines into a world where art… Read more »

‘The wild country of my Taihape’: a painting by Douglas MacDiarmid

Painting by Douglas MacDiarmid

One of my favourite paintings in Ngā Toi | Arts Te Papa is a small oil by Douglas MacDiarmid – Papa cliff pool with bathers, Taihape. Whenever I see it, I’m struck by its clarity and intensity. Everything contributes to the sense of dream-like wonder: the emerald-green water, the sensuous curves of the cliffs, and… Read more »

Being a botanist: Q&A with students from South Wellington Intermediate School

Drawing a plant

Last week I was invited to give a talk at my son’s class at South Wellington Intermediate School (SWIS) about what it is like to be a botanist at Te Papa. To help me prepare, the students wrote down questions they had about botany or being a botanist. Their questions got me thinking about how… Read more »

Transient Spaces – A Photographic Journey

  • MA_F.006349~1,2,3~
  • MA_F.006363#07~~
  • MA_F.006363#03~~
  • MA_F.006363#02~~

The year was 1997 and Te Papa was about to open on the waterfront. Two buildings waited in the wings, Buckle St, the then National Museum and Tory St, the soon to be collection store and science facility. At the time the buildings were in a state of flux. Still clinging to the memories of their last… Read more »