Posts tagged with Pacific

Faraway Places – new work

Kandiyan chief

This week Faraway Places: 19th century travel photography in Te Papa’s Ilott Gallery has had all its photographs replaced with 22 new ones. This is because nineteenth century photographs are vulnerable to damage by light, so the six-month exhibition has been divided into two halves, each with a different, though similar, selection of work. Often this simply entailed… Read more »

‘Pacific princess’ – one painting, so many stories

MP Charles Chauvel at the blessing for Poedua.

The blessing for the painting of Poedua (Poetua), a princess from the Society Islands, by John Webber (1751-1793) was a much needed bright spot at Te Papa last week – a week when New Zealand reeled from news of the Pike River mining disaster. This remarkable painting, recently purchased by Te Papa, has lots of stories to tell… Read more »

Matau: traditional hooks, innovative design

  • Composite hook. Oldman Collection. Copyright Te Papa. OL000105
  • Hei Matau. Copyright Te Papa. ME015518
  • Pä kahawai. Copyright Te Papa. ME013868
  • Bone matau. Copyright Te Papa. ME009305

An exhibition of Mäori fish-hooks (matau) made from wood, bone, stone, and shell opens at Te Papa on Saturday December 4th. While early European explorers considered these fish-hooks to be ‘ill-made’ and ‘of doubtful efficacy’, research has shown that the design was highly effective. Unlike modern steel hooks, the Mäori hooks were attached with fishing… Read more »

Recent acquisition: Tongan fangufangu (nose flute)

In March 2009, Te Papa was gifted a small but significant collection of objects from Derek J. Wilson. This collection included two Tongan fangufangu or nose flutes that were made from bamboo. Historically, fangufangu were used to awaken the Tongan royalty from their sleep. The newly acquired fangufangu, have intact nodes at each end, forming… Read more »

Tatau: Samoan Tattoo, New Zealand Art, Global Culture – a new publication

Check out the new publication from Te Papa Press: Tatau: Samoan Tattoo, New Zealand Art, Global Culture Photographs by Mark Adams, with essays by Sean Mallon, Peter Brunt and Nicholas Thomas One hundred memorable images by documentary photographer Mark Adams present a powerful and moving portraits of a great Polynesian art tradition. Tatau also tells… Read more »

Queen’s service medal for font designer Joseph Churchward

Joseph Churchward sketching at his desk

The 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours list included Samoan-born font designer Joseph Churchward. Since the 1960s, Churchward has hand-created over 570 typefaces (fonts), the greatest number designed by any individual in the world. Click on the image to watch the video interview with Churchward on TVNZ: As a way of documenting Churchward’s work, in August 2008,… Read more »

Avatar and the Pacific language connection

  • Language barrel in Tangata O Le Moana - The story of Pacific people in New Zealand
  • Language barrel in Tangata o le Moana; the story of Pacific people in New Zealand
  • Language barrel - in the Tangata O Le Moana - the story of Pacific people in New Zealand
  • Language barrel DSC03674

It seems the language of the Na’vi, the indigenous people of the planet Pandora, may be the latest addition to the family tree of Pacific languages. In recent publicity surrounding James Cameron’s blockbuster film Avatar, it was revealed that the development of the Na’vi language was influenced by Maori language. As reported by Charlie Gates… Read more »

Awesome artworks arrive in PlaNet Pasifika

  • A gift from Te Papa presented to the Principal of St Bernadette's school
  • Morning tea for our visitors
  • Proud moment
  • Proud moment

You may have noticed when you go to L4′s Discovery Centre, PlaNet Pasifika that there are always very cool and beautiful artworks in the space. They usually hang from the high ceiling. These artworks are created by children from various schools all around New Zealand. Staff go out to certain schools and work with them… Read more »

Porcupine fish on Petone foreshore

Puffer fish helmet, 1900s, maker unknown. © Te Papa.

I had a call yesterday from Wellington’s Dominion Post newspaper needing an expert to identify some fish found washed up on the Petone foreshore.  Andrew Stewart, Te Papa’s fishes collection manager, identified them as porcupine fish. Andrew says that the porcupine fish lives around in-shore reefs, especially along our northern coasts where divers commonly see it… Read more »