Botany Collection Narratives (Part 1): Recent Botany Donations

Botany Collection Narratives (Part 1): Recent Botany Donations

As the Science Collection Manager responsible for managing the botany collection, part of my job is to increase public access to the collection. One way to achieve this is through online narratives. This blog series will highlight some recent botany narratives.

In this blog we introduce narrative topics of some recent, very significant, donations to the Te Papa herbarium. Follow the links to see the narratives online.

1. The HD Gordon Herbarium

The HD Gordon Herbarium was part of Victoria University of Wellington between 1947 and 2011. The collection is a good representation of New Zealand flora thanks to the collecting efforts of students, lecturers and professors. It also has a strong Pacific Myrtaceae collection (a family which includes rata, manuka and Australian gum trees).  A total of 13104 out of 15000 specimens were accessioned into Te Papa’s Herbarium. These include 10914 seed plants, 2020 ferns and lycophytes, 143 seaweeds, 17 liverworts, 9 mosses, and 1 lichen. Te Papa hired an extra staff member to database this collection as it was accessioned.

Although Victoria University students no longer have the collection at their finger tips, it is literally just down the road. Students are able to study plant specimens, associated with their research pursuits, at Te Papa. If that’s you, please email to make an appointment –


 2. Fascicle XI of Algae Nova-Zelandicae Exsiccatae (ANZE)

This donation from the Woodville Pioneer Museum contains 24 specimens of marine macro-algae (or ‘seaweed’). These represent an almost complete set of specimens from Fascicle XI of the Algae Nova-Zelandicae Exsiccatae (ANZE). The ANZE is a collection of 14 fascicles each (originally) containing 25 sheets. Victor W. Lindauer created and distributed 60 sets of these between 1939 and 1953.

These specimens were in pretty good condition. Once at Te Papa, they were remounted, imaged and added to Te Papa’s herbarium collection. Te Papa did already had a relatively complete set of the Lindauer Exsiccatae.  One of the great things about this donation is that it prompted me to have all of Te Papa’s ANZE specimens imaged.  For more, see the next blog in this series.

Te Papa would like to thank Victoria University of Wellington and Woodville Pioneer Museum for donating these valuable collections.

Leathesia novae-zelandiae Lindauer, collected 07 Jan 1947, Stewart Island, New Zealand. Gift of Woodville Pioneer Museum Society Incorporated, 2014. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (A032987)
Leathesia novae-zelandiae Lindauer, collected 07 Jan 1947, Stewart Island, New Zealand. Gift of Woodville Pioneer Museum Society Incorporated, 2014. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (A032987)

Te Papa’s Collections Online is a great way to access online narratives, which feature information and images about groups of related collection objects.

Current Te Papa Botany Narratives relate to a wide range of subject matter, including information about different taxa, donations, current research, collection highlights and famous collectors.

The collection objects chosen for narratives are often decided by the importance of the collection in their own right, or by public demand. So remember, if there is a group of items, or subject matter, that you would like Te Papa to feature as a narrative, please get in touch or leave a comment below.

Other posts in this series:

Botany Collection Narratives (Part 2): Lindauer, Algae Nova-Zelandicae Exsiccatae

Botany Collection Narratives (Part 3): Image highlights from Hue te Taka (Moa Point) Narrative

Botany Collection Narratives (Part 4): Expedition Snares Islands


  1. It’s great to see these collections brought to life and shared in such a digital format – thank you!!

    My son (Year 12) is interested in Botany and would love to know more about what botanists do — and their varied activities/jobs. Do you ever share this type of information with high school students – online or in workshops at Te Papa?

    1. Hi Stefanie. Thanks for your feedback, it’s much appreciated.

      Te Papa is often releasing video content covering exhibitions, collections, research and community engagement. Te Papa Science is currently experimenting with different styles of video production and content to try to effectively communicate what we do ‘behind the scenes’. Here are some examples of recent releases with a botany focus:
      Ferns ‘Science Live’:
      Expedition Snares Islands – Plants:
      Declassified exhibition:
      We’ll also have two more botany research focused clips being released in May, 2015.

      The Te Papa education team has previously worked with the science team on in-house high school programmes. The focus changes a bit and currently it has more of a primary school focus. Having said that, if you are living in Wellington, with some planning, we could organise a back of house botany tour for up to 15 students at a time. This could include an introduction to the herbarium and overview of our research. Alternatively, we could arrange for Botany staff to visit your son’s class, school. This would take greater planning and we’d need to work in with the education team. Please email me (see link in main blog text).

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