Te Papa’s collections have been built over nearly 150 years and range from miniscule lice and molluscs through to caravans, 22m long artworks and colossal squid.   The collection is estimated to be approximately 2 million artworks, photographs, objects and specimens. Headaches A collection this diverse can create a number ofRead more

New Zealand’s plants have a bit of a reputation for pronounced promiscuity. There is supposedly a high rate of hybridisation, or individuals of one species breeding with individuals of a different species. I’m not entirely sure that this reputation is nationally deserved. Nevertheless, a striking example of hybridisation occurs inRead more

Jim Barr and Mary Barr asked a good question about digitisation priorities in their blog. There are 3 parts to digitising Te Papa’s Collection. Information about the artwork or object – information about all the art collection was released on Collections Online last year Photography – do we have a digital photograph? CopyrightRead more

  The other night we hung the two McCahons we bought last year – Scared and Mondrian’s last chrysanthemum. They’ve gone up in Toi Te Papa. In the mid-1970s Colin McCahon did a lot of paintings on a thick high quality paper called Steinbach. Legend has it that McCahon’s dealerRead more

Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life by Jill Trevelyan and published by Te Papa Press, is a finalist in the biography  category of this year’s Montana Book Awards. The winner will be announced on Monday 27 July 2009.  Best of luck Jill!  But wait, there’s more… Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life is alsoRead more

An infestation of a giant horsetail, Equisetum hyemale, has been found near Levin. It was spotted by eagle-eyed Department of Conservation staff. They gave us a specimen for Te Papa’s herbarium collection of dried plants.   No horsetail species occur naturally in New Zealand, but several have been purposefully orRead more

One of my previous posts discussed a recent study on New Zealand’s only endemic spider regarded as dangerous to people, the katipo. I thought readers might be interested to learn a little more about what’s behind the bad reputation of katipo and its’ close relatives. As I said then, katipoRead more

Most hen & chickens ferns in cultivation are the false hen & chickens fern, Asplenium ×lucrosum, rather than Asplenium bulbiferum.  The two are easily distinguished. Asplenium ×lucrosum is a sterile hybrid between Asplenium bulbiferum and Asplenium dimorphum.  The “×” preceding “lucrosum” indicates it is a hybrid. The two parent speciesRead more

The spread of swine flu around the world has been dominating the media lately. Hopefully it won’t turn into a pandemic like the one that swept through New Zealand in late 1918. Originating in the northern hemisphere, this strain of the ‘flu killed an estimated 8251 New Zealanders over a period ofRead more