It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Luit Bieringa on 21 June.

Bieringa was director of the National Art Gallery from 1979 to 1989, an institution that merged with the National Museum to form what is now Te Papa. His story is embedded in the history of Te Papa – and indeed in the history of art in New Zealand. And the art works he and his staff acquired that are in our collection are a legacy he left for future generations.Read more

Whimsical, wondrous and winsome. British watercolours are all that – or, is it a matter of taste? Guest curator Annika Sippel talks about exhibiting works from the Archdeacon Smythe collection, in order to show the unexpected versatility of the medium and the taste of the collector.Read more

Watercolour painting of a blue vase with thick branches of yellow blossoming flowers. Prickly thorns can be seen over the lip of tha vase.

In 2020, Te Papa acquired an 1897 watercolour painting by Margaret Stoddart that had been given the title Yellow blossom and rosemary by the cataloguers. But what are those blossoms, really? And is that rosemary in the vase, or something else? Here, Curator of Historical Art, Rebecca Rice unpacks the painting and suggests it could be somewhat pricklier than it first appears.Read more

It is with immense sadness that we mark the passing of John Edgar ONZM. Stone carver, sculptor and environmentalist, John Edgar has been a central figure in stone carving since the early 1980s. Here, Curator Decorative Art and Design Justine Olsen reflects on Edgar’s rich practice and influence on Aotearoa New Zealand’s stone carving and sculpting. Read more

On the left, a painting of a Māori chief, on the right, the back of the painting showing an unfinished portrait of a young boy

In this excerpt from Back of the Painting, a new book from Te Papa Press that takes a literal look behinds the scenes of famous paintings in New Zealand galleries, Conservator Paintings Linda Waters uncovers a mystery: the unfinished portrait of a young boy.Read more

View from interior of a room, with woman and dog at the threshold - the woman turned to look back at the artist.

During lockdown, we’ve been encouraged to ‘post’ objects in our windows to offer symbols of solidarity – teddy bears and Anzac poppies – for people walking past, looking in. Rebecca Rice, Curator Historical New Zealand Art reverses the direction and looks at works in our collection where the artist shows us views from the inside out.Read more