• View of Auckland wharfs looking towards the town centre, in the 1890s

    Little-known lives: Rotumans in 19th-century Aotearoa New Zealand

    Senior Curator Pacific Histories and Cultures Sean Mallon shares two rare stories of Rotuman travellers who found their way to New Zealand in the early 1800s, and how a contemporary Rotuman artist has remembered one of them.

  • Black and white photo of a small hut with bags of kumara in front of it

    Living off the land: Lockdown gardens since forever ago

    In this blog curators Isaac Te Awa and Katie Cooper use objects and photographs from our collection to explore some of the strategies used in the past to produce and preserve food.

  • New fossil seal species rewrites history

    A fossil discovery in New Zealand has revealed a new species of monk seal, the first monk seal, living or extinct, ever found in the Southern Hemisphere. Curator Vertebrates Felix Marx talks about what this discovery means.

A woman sit on a chair in the middle of a room, being interviewed by another woman sitting opposite her. A large light shines on the subject

Today we’re publicly kicking off Voices of Asian Aotearoa. Under this initiative, we’ll be generating a variety of projects focused on the languages and cultural identities of different Asian New Zealand communities. Curator Grace Gassin introduces our first project, Chinese Languages in Aotearoa, which also includes a callout for the next stage – illustrators, we’d like to hear from you!Read more

Forty years ago, Aotearoa New Zealand erupted into violent protests when the South African Springbok rugby team toured the country from July to September 1981. History curator Stephanie Gibson takes us through some of the items in our collection that record what many people wore as personal protection during the protests.Read more

One hundred years ago, Wellington naturalist George Hudson walked the forest near his home – now Zealandia wildlife sanctuary – in search of fascinating New Zealand insects. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Hudson collected and identified thousands of moth specimens, now part of one of the largest insect collections in New Zealand.

Natural History intern Annie Robertson describes his legacy, the 100 Year Project, and what the citizen science and entomologist communities have found.Read more

A kiwi feather muff for hands sitting on a white surface

This month we opened a mini-exhibition called Feathermania: Fashion to Die For based on one of the chapters in History Curator Claire Regnault’s recent book, Dressed: Fashionable Dress in Aotearoa New Zealand from 1840 to 1910.

Here, Claire describes some of the objects in the exhibition in more detail, including some of the problems associated with the popularity of rare bird feathers and the impact on their population as well as society.Read more

Over the course of many years, a tidy collection of bird eggs has made its way across the world. The collection’s final resting place just so happens to be here at Te Papa, where Natural History intern Isabella Milner has steadily worked through cataloguing it, and packing the eggs away into their forever homes. Here she describes how eggs are identified despite having very little information to go on.Read more

The team on the steps of the Maungapohatu marae: Kerry, Heidi, Karen, Sarah, Willie, Atamira, Antony, Paora and Stephanie, Dec 2020.

In December 2020, Te Papa botanists Heidi Meudt and Antony Kusabs were in the field with three North Island iwi: Tamakaimoana, Ngāti Porou, and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui. Worryingly, their search for rare forget-me-nots was unsuccessful. But their collaborative mahi struck a meaningful chord.Read more