Jessie Prebble, former Te Papa/Massey PhD student in Botany, and Te Papa Curator Botany, Heidi Meudt (2016), holding a forget-me-not herbarium specimen. Te Papa

Taxonomic research involves a number of aspects, including field trips, lab work, studying and comparing live plants (in the field or glasshouse) or pressed specimens, and reading previous scientific papers. Not to mention analyzing and interpreting the data, incorporating previously published research, and writing up the results for publication. Sometimes, such research forms the basis of a post-graduate thesis (Master’s or PhD).  Curator Botany Heidi Meudt talks about one student’s journey.Read more

Myosotis antarctica Hook.f. subsp. antarctica, collected 15 December 2018, Mount Starveall Hut, South Island, New Zealand. CC BY 4.0. Te Papa (SP107322)

New research published by Jessie Prebble and colleagues resolves the taxonomy (naming and classification) of a group of small native forget-me-nots in the southern hemisphere. The new data show that some of these plants require different names. Curator Botany Heidi Meudt discusses what this means for their names.Read more

Black and white photo of three young girls all dressed the same all holding baskets of flowers and smiling at the camera

Last year, Te Papa received a grant from Lotteries NZ towards the digitisation of the Spencer Digby / Ronald D Woolf Collection of around 250,000 photographic negatives shot between the 1930s and 1980s. The project is now well underway, with the first ‘drop’ of around 800 images just released on Collections Online. Athol McCredie, Curator Photography and Melissa Irving, Senior Imaging Technician tell us about the project.Read more

A red flower with green tips

Last spring, Te Papa’s Leon Perrie, Lara Shepherd and Bridget Hatton travelled to Whanganui to collect plant specimens from the garden of the late Ian and Jocelyn Bell. Many of the plants in the garden are rarely cultivated in New Zealand and were not represented in our botany collection. Research Scientist Lara Shepherd takes us behind the specimen-collecting scenes.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

Members of our field team trekking across a steep and colourful scree in the Livingstone Mountains. Photo by Geoff Rogers January 2022.

In January 2022, our Botany Curator Heidi Meudt went on a chock-a-block seven-day field trip to Southland with Department of Conservation botanist Brian Rance and several others. The aim of this trip was to collect several species of forget-me-nots growing in the ultramafic Livingstone Mountains and nearby hills. Heidi talks about what they were looking for and the environment the forget-me-nots were growing in. Read more

A touch screen with a photo of a grey-faced petrel and its real-life specimen on display in front of it

It’s probably no surprise that the least popular species in Te Taiao | Nature are unexceptional birds, drab fish, and obscure insects. Science communication intern Caitlin McLean was given the challenge of sharing the stories of these under-loved creatures and why we should still care about Aotearoa’s most boring animals. Here, she writes about what she learned.Read more

NZSL, or New Zealand Sign Language, is one of New Zealand’s three official languages. As the NZSL Act reflects, it’s a distinct language, with its own grammar, not a signed version of a spoken language – English, in fact, is a second language for many Deaf people. Yet NZSL has been largely invisible in our cultural landscape.

Te Papa now has its own NZSL Mobile Guide, a new mobile-optimised web application for Deaf visitors and online audiences. Digital Producer Amos Mann takes us through the project.Read more