Elements of biology entail a certain ‘eww’ factor – and studying the diet of seabirds certainly fits that description. In research into the foraging habits of Buller’s albatross, a threatened endemic species from southern New Zealand, published in the journal Plos one in 2017, scientist Dr Susan Waugh and colleagues discovered more thanRead more

Have you ever thought about the origin of the wine you’re drinking? Senior science curator Susan Waugh looks into the geology of a French region famous for its sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. As the notion of terroir develops more strongly in New Zealand, I carried out a bit of lightRead more

Its probably one of the most rugged small island sites around the Southern Ocean….lacking only a glacier to make it truly inhospitable. No huts, no trees, and best of all, no humans! And yet Hautere/Solander Island has something of a reputation of among seabird researchers. Most of the ones I have encountered, who hadRead more

penguin chick

Little penguins nest all around New Zealand’s coast, often close to humans. Over time, our activities of building homes, recreation areas and facilities like ports have eaten away at their habitat. Penguins are a delightful part of our natural heritage, even if they can be a bit noisy and sometimesRead more

This year’s Te Papa Little Penguin research programme was focussed at Motuara Island in Queen Charlotte Sound, just out of Picton, where there is a population of several hundred little penguins that breed between August and December. We deployed GPS trackers on adult birds throughout their breeding season to find out their main foragingRead more

Our little penguin research continues this year as the team returned to Motuara Island in Marlborough (see the 2014 Te Papa penguin blogs for more about last year’s research). The penguins nesting at this site benefit from a predator free nesting habitat, shared with a number of land- and sea-birds. AsRead more

squid eye

Te Papa’s second colossal squid, Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, is part of the displays for the upcoming Te Papa Open House on 25th July 2015 – a part of the 150th celebrations for the Wellington City as capital of New Zealand. The squid was caught in the Ross Sea in early 2014, by Captain JohnRead more

During December 2014, artist and designer Kerry-Ann Lee ran workshops at Te Papa to teach the art of ‘zine-making’. Zines are a sort of hand-crafted vehicle for the ideas and imagination of writers and artists. Working with a local designer, Vera Padhila, and with the story of our recent workRead more

Do albatrosses have personalities? And if so, how do scientists measure such intangible characteristics? This blog provides some of the background to research Te Papa scientists were involved in, examining how birds use their environment, and how individual personality traits of these birds can be measured. The previous blogs on thisRead more

New Zealand has an amazing diversity of seabirds. Around 1/3 of the worlds 348 species are found in New Zealand waters, with a high number of endemic and threatened species among them. Te Papa has a long-term research programme on Westland Petrels, a species that nests in the coastal cliffsRead more

The work on little penguins around Wellington continues, now that most of the nesting pairs have one or two chicks to feed. This week Te Papa scientists and helpers from various disciplines on the Te Papa staff have been putting out loggers on the chick-rearing penguins, both in Evan’s BayRead more