• The Britten V1000 on display with its bodywork removed. Photo by Katie Cooper, 2021. Britten V1000 motorcycle, 1992, by Britten Motorcycle Company Ltd. Purchased 1995 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (T000649)

    A motorbike stripped bare – the Britten V1000 gets a new coat of paint

  • Mānawatia a Matariki

    There are nine stars in the Matariki star cluster. Learn about each of the stars and their connections in our Collections.

Photo of a forget me not, Myosotis brevis, being pointed at because it’s very small, on Wikimedia Commons

We generate a lot of data at Te Papa. Specimens. Photographs. Facts and figures. We’re always thinking of ways to get that data out there and into your hands – and recently we’ve been diving headfirst into Wikipedia. Here, Digital Channels Outreach Manager Lucy Schrader talks about the work that went into getting hundreds of images of forget-me-nots onto the site, allowing them to spread across the web.Read more

Using the correct Sāmoan words is important: it’s a way of giving mana to the original creators and users of the taonga in our collection. As part of the ongoing Mapping the Sāmoa Collections project, Alexander Gordon has been tasked with making a glossary of Sāmoan vocabulary to document how words have changed over time. This will ensure that we are using the correct words to identify objects and make it much easier to search our catalogue.Read more

A white six-petaled flower on a stem. There's another flower behind it.

Massey University student Hayden Jones and Botany Curator Carlos Lehnebach are launching a citizen science project aiming at solving the identity crisis that surrounds one of our most common terrestrial orchids and your observation could provide the clue to solving this taxonomic imbroglio. Maikuku – the white sun orchid (ThelymitraRead more

A father, mother and son standing behind a table set for dinner. The table has a lace tablecloth and the mother is wearing a white apron.

In an earlier blog, we learnt about Japanese migrant Setsuko Donnelly (b. 1933–d. 1991) and her remarkable life in Aotearoa New Zealand through the words of Setsuko’s daughter, Deb Donnelly. In the recollections gathered below, various members of the Donnelly family remember their mother and grandmother through the cherished Japanese meals (especially sukiyaki!) and cultural practices she passed on to them.Read more

Rona Chapman, Art History and Public Policy student at Victoria University, recently spent time as an intern with our Knowledge and Information and Art teams. While here, she registered over 300 of our important artwork files, and wrote about several paintings and prints that are now on show in the exhibition Hiahia Whenua | Landscape and Desire. Along the way, she found a personal connection to some of the artworks, a series of lithographs by Edith Halcombe made nearly 150 years ago.Read more

Our Mapping the Sāmoa Collections project is a collaboration between Te Papa and the Bishop Museum in Hawai‘i and aims to enhance museum catalogue records and develop digital maps to contextualise taonga; enhancing their visibility and improving associated biographies, which then allows communities to utilise and share these resources, as well as support museum collections and knowledge. In 1930, Māori academic Te Rangi Hiroa (Sir Peter Buck) published the ethnological book Samoan Material Culture, whilst working for the Bishop Museum based on his collections and fieldwork in Sāmoa in the 1920s. This connection and sustained collaboration is an opportunity to better understand the scope of the collections, oral histories, and indigenous knowledge systems which feature in this work. Research Assistant Alexander Gordon reflects on his first forays into the project.Read more

Film photography and negatives have had a bit of a resurgence lately but they were once the only way to get pictures made. A large part of our current project digitising the Spencer Digby / Ronald D Woolf Collection is processing around 250,000 photographic negatives. But how does a photo negative get from our storerooms onto Collections Online? Imaging Technician Cat Watters tells us about part of their role in the digitising project team.Read more

It has been over two years since Aotearoa New Zealand went into lockdown in the hopes of limiting the spread of Covid-19. While not yet behind us, we are now in a position to be able to reflect on those early stages of the pandemic. Throughout this time a myriad of responses were put into place with the community at the very centre. Master of Museum and Practice Student Kate Hudspith-Gooch spent a one-month internship at Te Papa, and was tasked with conducting a small-scale research project into one of the lesser-acknowledged responses to the pandemic – iwi-led Covid-19 Checkpoints – as a part of the ongoing Making Histories: Communities and Covid-19 Project. Kate talks about her research here.Read more

Recently the Botany team at Te Papa dedicated a week to curating several boxes of plant specimens – we called it the Botany Blitz! Our aim was to crack open boxes that have been patiently waiting – months, years, or in some cases decades – to be processed and databased. During our Blitz, we catalogued many specimens, learned new things about our collections, and discovered many fascinating stories along the way. Botany Curator Heidi Meudt processed one of the boxes from the botanist Thomas Kirk.Read more

When we think of Te Papa’s collections, we generally think of boxes neatly arranged systematically on shelves, everything in its place. But perhaps every collection / Collection Manager at Te Papa has a pile of material in boxes or on shelves in the ‘waiting to be processed’ category. Maybe this material needs more information, maybe someone else needs to look at it, or maybe it was put aside because it was ‘too hard’ or perhaps just forgotten about. Kaitiaki Taonga Collection Manager Bridget Hatton describes the Botany Collection’s recent Botany Blitz along with some of the findings. Read more

Many individuals from, and working alongside, Asian diasporas in Aotearoa New Zealand have consistently called for a greater focus on mental health issues. Our Asian Mental Health Project lead Mehwish Mughal offers a deeply personal insight into why the mental health concerns of Asian communities need to be addressed.Read more