Two Te Papa botanists recently spent a week collecting ferns on Lord Howe Island. They were adeptly guided by Lord Howe Island museum curator Ian Hutton and joined by Daniel Ohlsen from the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. The natural history of Lord Howe Island was introduced in an earlier blog
I recently spent a week on Norfolk Island collecting ferns. One non-fern plant I was particularly keen to see was harakeke (Phormium tenax), on which I’ve done recent genetic work. On Norfolk Island it is known as flax, so I’ll use that name here. What I hadn’t appreciated before the trip was the significance of flax to the settlement of Norfolk Island.
Three of our botanists recently spent a week on Norfolk Island collecting ferns with colleagues from the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Our fern findings will be detailed in a future blog post but here we discuss interesting flowering plants that we saw – some of which were very familiar to us as New Zealanders but others were completely new!
In the Sāmoa Collections at Te Papa there are at least 60 measina that once belonged to soldiers who served in Sāmoa in World War One. They give us insight into the lives of Sāmoans and New Zealanders at the time, as well as the ways that the relationships between the two countries have changed over more than 100 years.
Using the correct Sāmoan words is important: it’s a way of giving mana to the original creators and users of the taonga in our collection. As part of the ongoing Mapping the Sāmoa Collections project, Alexander Gordon has been tasked with making a glossary of Sāmoan vocabulary to document how words have changed over time. This will ensure that we are using the correct words to identify objects and make it much easier to search our catalogue.
Our Mapping the Sāmoa Collections project is a collaboration between Te Papa and the Bishop Museum in Hawai‘i and aims to enhance museum catalogue records and develop digital maps to contextualise taonga; enhancing their visibility and improving associated biographies, which then allows communities to utilise and share these resources, as well as support museum collections and knowledge. Research Assistant Alexander Gordon reflects on his first forays into the project.
Tufunga Tātatau Terje Koloamatangi is of Tongan and Norwegian Sami ancestry. Born in Nuku’alofa Tongatapu with ancestral ties to Kolovai, Pangaimotu Vava’u, and Åmøya, in Northern Norway. He lives in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand. Koloamatangi is an artist and cultural tattoo practitioner. His work is centred on the revival of tātatau faka-Tonga (customary Tongan tattooing), a passion he has maintained for over 20 years. His practice is built on historical accounts, gleaned from texts, museum collections, and Tongan oral traditions. Here, Terje Koloamatangi discusses the origins and uses of the Tongan custom of tātatau or tattooing.
The theme for this year’s ‘Epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani – Cook Islands Language Week is ‘Ātuitui’ia au ki te Oneone o tōku ‘Ui Tupuna which means connect me to the soil of my ancestors. To mark the week Curator Pacific Cultures Rachel Yates has a taratara with current staff member Kate Ngatokorua about her experiences as Miss Cook Islands.
The Sāmoan Multiplicities research project, headed by Dr Safua Akeli Amaama (Te Papa) and Prof. Philipp Schorch (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität), explores how contemporary Sāmoan identity is spatially and temporally distributed, as well as how and why Sāmoan-ness remains intact despite past and present ongoing transformations. In this blog, Research Assistant Annika Sippel presents an overview of the project so far and considers some of the avenues in which our own collections can engage with ideas of Sāmoan Multiplicities.
The theme for Vaiaso o le Gagana Sāmoa – Sāmoan Language Week 2022 is Fa’aāuāu le Folauga i le Va‘a o Tautai – Continue the Voyage with Competent Wayfinders of the Ocean. In Sāmoan society, the tulāfale or orator has a wayfinding role. Through their lāuga (oratory) they represent the interests of ali‘i in any formal occasions or events. They are the mouthpiece of families, villages and districts and are influential in directing ceremonies, presentations and cultural protocols. Curator Pacific Histories and Cultures Sean Mallon looks at the material culture of the tulāfale – the tools and accessories of their trade.
Tapa, or barkcloth, is an important textile in the Pacific. Tapa is made from the beaten inner bark of some plant species, but once the tapa is made then identifying which plant species was used is difficult. Our genetics researcher Lara Shepherd teamed up with Catherine Smith from the University of Otago and colleagues to create a DNA reference database for identifying the plants used to make tapa.