If you are feeling nostalgic you are probably sentimentally yearning for a period in the past – for a happy, simpler time. But the past often thinks about the future, and its sometimes naïve and romantic imaginations can make you feel nostalgic too. Here’s Bernard Roundhill 1956 vision of Auckland in the yearRead more

When Captain Cook’s Endeavour sailed into Whitianga harbour in 1769 Maori thought the ship was a god, and the people on board tupua, strange beings or goblins. This was confirmed as they rowed ashore, for the way they faced opposite to their direction of travel suggested they had eyes inRead more

In mid-2013 a creature that looked like a rabbit, squirrel or rat in a NASA Mars rover photograph was spotted by a blogger. The photograph quickly went viral, to the point where it started attracting news media attention. This isn’t the only animal seen in Mars photographs either. A lizardRead more

“For thousands of years man has gazed up at the moon and wondered.” That’s roughly how those worthy documentary commentaries begin, isn’t it? Well, Te Papa’s forerunner museums responded to this curiosity in two acquisitions almost 100 years apart. The first was an 1873 photograph of the moon made by the Great MelbourneRead more

In October 1957 the Soviet Union launched the first human-made spacecraft, Sputnik I. The USA had already announced that it would be launching a satellite and so existing plans for an elaborate device were quickly ditched by the Soviets to get something up in space first. Sputnik was simply aRead more

When I was in my first year of secondary school the headmaster, a teacher of English and social studies, had to take our science class because the science teacher had resigned. One day we were doing a session with a microscope and he cried out, “Quickly, have a look atRead more

In 1947 silvery pieces of wreckage were found in a field near Roswell, New Mexico. They were quickly confiscated by personnel from the Roswell Army Air Field base and a rumour that an alien spacecraft had crash landed soon spread. But with little evidence the story didn’t go far untilRead more

From 1956 artist and photographer Eric Lee-Johnson began photographing the night sky near his Northland home of Waimamaku. He generally used time exposures, where the shutter is held open from anywhere between seconds to hours. With longer exposures the stars show up as trails formed by the rotating motion ofRead more

If you watched late night television towards the end of the 1960s you might remember the following theatrically pronounced lines: For [architect David Vincent] it began one lost night on a lonely country road, looking for a shortcut that he never found. It began with a closed deserted diner, andRead more

Continuing our series of blogs to mark the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to New Zealand, I thought I would touch on one of the lesser known royal visits of the past, that of William’s grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, in December 1956. The relative obscurity ofRead more

Photographer Andrew Ross has said that ‘frontier societies like New Zealand [lack] the visible evidence of our history. It gets nipped in the bud…[and] you hardly get any sense of what has happened more than ten years ago.’ You only have to look at his work in the Collecting ContemporaryRead more