Posts tagged with Pacific

A trip to remote Tokelau: Life a few metres above sea level

Aerial view of Atafu atoll

The Pacific island nation of Tokelau is one of the most remote places on the planet, and, with the entire country sitting metres above sea level, one of the most under threat from climate change. Media creator Kate Whitley describes the journey to this vulnerable ‘necklace of small islands’. In November 2017 a small group… Read more »

Remembering tīvaevae designer Mama Maria Teokota’i Sila (1938 – 2017)


Pacific Collection Manager Grace Hutton and the rest of the Pacific Cultures team acknowledge the recent passing of artist and maker of tīvaevae Mama Maria Teokota’I. Kua ‘aere ki te po, Gone into the night In addition to being a very creative tīvaevae designer, Mama Maria was also a very religious and spiritual woman. She made… Read more »

Language, culture, and the impact of ‘Slavers in Paradise’

  • C.003104. Arrival of supplies on Atiu Island.  George Crummer, circa 1914
  • O.037817 Beach Penrhyn.  Andrew Thomas, 1886, Penrhyn Atoll (Tongareva)
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  • Manihiki O.037810

Curator Pacific Cultures Rachel Yates takes a look at the book Slavers in Paradise, and a lesser-known episode of Cook Islands and Pacific history. As part of the lead up to Te ‘Epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani (Cook Islands Language week), I made a list of potential reads, mainly historical non-fiction books featuring writers or stories… Read more »

Conserving plastics: why you should keep your Barbie in the fridge

Two 70s Barbies wearing 70s outfits. Their faces are a much more yellowy/green colour than their bodies

Many people believe that plastic items are indestructible and will last forever. But what if you learnt this wasn’t the case? Conservator, Nirmala Balram, gives us an insight into the science of plastic deterioration and how you should look after your prized plastic possessions. So much plastic The world of plastics is huge. Plastics are… Read more »

Opinion: why we should beware of the word ‘traditional’

Portrait of Albert Wendt; 1996; Photographer: Hamish McDonald

In 1994, four years before the opening of Te Papa, Samoan novelist and scholar Albert Wendt was an advisor for the planned Pacific exhibitions. He requested that we abandon the use of terms like ‘traditional art’ in our labels and display signage. ‘Traditional means nothing to me!’ he said. At the time, I didn’t understand… Read more »

The changing art of tatau: Samoan tattooing

Two Samoan men tattoo a man lying on the floor

Rebecca Rice and Nina Tonga asked Sean Mallon, Senior Curator Pacific Cultures, some questions about Samoan tatau, a form of adornment still practised today. Tools Q: In Whakarakei | Adorned the tools of a tufuga tatatau (specialist in tatau) ‘au and sausau (Samoan tattooing combs and mallet) are on show. How do these tools differ… Read more »

Remembering Tufuga Holoatu Lagatule (1938-2016) – leader among the Pacific communities in Christchurch


Recently the Pacific Cultures team at Te Papa were informed of the passing of one our elders and leaders, Tufuga Holoatu Lagatule. She was born in Niue and came to New Zealand as a teenager in 1957. She became an important figure among the Pacific communities living in Christchurch, in New Zealand’s South Island, where… Read more »