• Gloved hands holding tweezers over a dried plant specimen

    Captain Cook’s 150-year-old kōwhai specimens uncover Rapa Nui (Easter Island) secrets

    A single specimen of toromiro – a close relative of our own kōwhai and extinct in the wild – has been discovered in our botany collection, where it’s been kept safe for 150 years.

  • Tree ferns in the bush

    Identify New Zealand’s common tree ferns

    Skirts, scales, hexagons, and colour. There are many differences you can look out for if you want to learn how to identify tree ferns. We ask fern expert Leon Perrie: how do you tell the difference?

  • New Zealand’s most popular spiders of the decade – surfing the spiderverse

    Spiders! You love ’em. Or perhaps you don’t. Either way, they are the most searched for subject on Collections Online. Identification is the most common reason for looking them up, according to feedback, so for putting you all at ease: You’re welcome, Aotearoa. Here are the top ten of the 2010s.

‘Adkin’s photographs provide an honest, in-depth insight into rural life in New Zealand during the first half of the 20th century.’ Danielle Campbell, a Museum and Heritage Studies student at Victoria University, discusses her three favourite Leslie Adkin photographs that she came across during her summer internship at Te Papa.Read more

Illustration of Alice picking up a key from a table

Alice, Wonderland, and New Zealand have a close relationship – in fact, New Zealand is one of the very few real places Alice mentions in the two iconic books by Lewis Carroll.Read more

A new species of liverwort has just been identified in Wellington and named after local amateur botanist Rodney Lewington (1935–2018). Botanist Lara Shepherd tells us more about liverworts and Rodney’s contribution to New Zealand botany.Read more

A necklace made by Colin McCahon. It features three handcrafted red flowers on a thin woven rop

Colin McCahon is a household name in New Zealand because of his paintings – but did you know he dabbled in jewellery? Decorative art and design curator Justine Olsen writes about a lesser-known part of McCahon’s life.Read more