Museums are magical places where time travel happens almost on a daily basis and getting to know what our ancestors and their acquaintances were up to in the 1800s is not so far a reach. Botany Curator Carlos Lehnebach describes how the discovery of a box full of seed packets stored at Te Papa brought a botanist, a nurseryman and his great-great-granddaughter together more than a century later.
Should we ban all petrol cars? Should we limit tourist numbers? Should rubbish collection always include a separate food waste bin for composting, even if we all have to pay more? Exhibition Experience Developer Murphy Peoples and Digital Producer Amos Mann discuss Te Au | The Current, a forum for fresh ideas around Aotearoa New Zealand’s toughest environmental challenges. Te Au | The Current aims to collect and reflect diverse opinions that could spark real-world change. See how others feel and add your voice to The Current to help solve New Zealand’s toughest nature challenges.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We look after a large collection here at Te Papa and with that comes a lot of data. With many of our teams wanting various information about our collections as a spreadsheet – preferably with thumbnail images – we’re always looking at how we can streamline requests. Collections Data Manager Gareth
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.
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.
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.
Melanie Ioane-Warren, one of our Natural History interns, talks about the important collection of bird bones gathered by the late Augustus Hamilton. Melanie is working on this bone collection together with Curators Alan Tennyson and Rodrigo Salvador, and GNS scientist Karyne Rogers. In 1875, the clipper ship Collingwood departed England