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  1. Further to my previous observations from minginui, in the BoP. Last year, 2022,we had a frost in the area in mid October. As result of this several large kowhai trees around the village died. These trees were not of local origin and were flowering and growing leaf. The local trees which are much later flowering than any I know of, survived unscathed.
    This to me shows the reason why the whirinaki endemics flower late, it’s an adaptation to the tendency here for late frosts. Also you could surmise there hadn’t been such a timely and severe frost in life of those introduced kowhai, otherwise they wouldn’t have survived for the time they did.(probably 40 to 50 years)
    Always something more to learn about kowhai..Amazing trees.

    1. Interesting – thanks for your observations Andy.

  2. These are really interesting insights on New Zealand platoon commanders in the First World War. I am doing a PhD thesis on this topic and would love to feature the likes of Hugh Miller and Arthur Jeffs in my coverage. Please contact me if you’re willing to share information to best reflect their service. Lest we forget.

  3. Kia ora Carlos, do you know if there is a native name for the ghost orchid?

  4. Thank you Rebecca.

    I loved meeting Roger for lunch in Bermondsey, London to discuss the work of my g-g-g grandfather William Beetham the NZ portrait artist.

    Whakawhetai koe

    Ngā Mihi,

    Toby Ramsden Clark

  5. Excellent work by all – fabulous images!

  6. Joseph Thoms in his Schooner,the Three brothers transported te Rauparaha down to the Wairau from Kapiti .

    1. Yes, and Te Rangihaeata! the Three Brothers was brand new at the time, having been built earlier that year. She has been described as ‘most beautiful’ and well fitted out inside and out with a yacht-like appearance and equipped for whaling. All the crew gave evidence following the Wairau Incident.

  7. Incredible blog! Thank you so much for providing this insight into your team’s mahi. What an undertaking!

  8. I meant with not woth

  9. According to the NVS and image records, atropa bella-donna more commonly known as atropa belladonna is not only found in cantebury woth only 1 record I could find, so please comment the sources for information.

  10. Fabulous! I loved the discussion on how the name Nga Taniwha o Rupapa was arrived at. We need more of this kind of thinking so that we can avoid some of the ear jarring anglicizations we hear these days.

  11. Sorry to ruin it for you Pakeha but someone wise told me it means flea but later changed to suit Pakeha, to save them from shame for calling them selves Pakeha. So now everyone these days define Pakeha as White People. But I dont fucking know Āe I’m A Child in the Te Reo Māori and far from fluency.

  12. So i just found 50 of these tiny under my ranch slider. Alot of leaf litter gets under there and its quite damp.
    Some woke up and started crawling around on me. They are so tiny i couldve missed them.
    They look exactly the same as this picture. Im in Auckland.
    Are there another snail breed they might be?
    Let me know. Can send photos via email. Jess

    1. Thanks for the message Jess. This is likely to be another snail as this species is only in a small area in Wellington. I suggest you contact our snail expert Kerry (Kerry.Walton@tepapa.govt.nz)

  13. A beautifully written eulogy of Bill. He was a stalwart supporter and big contributor to the New Zealand Postcard Society and is sorely missed by its members.

  14. I enjoy reading about these hikes. Thank you!

  15. Thank you so much for these excellent Great Walk descriptions & accompanying bird photographs. I am a Kiwi ornithologist, ecologist, and tropical Pacific specialist, long gone from the University of Canterbury. My husband, Cameron Kepler & I worked with the (unfortunately late) Don Merton, a very good friend & colleague, in the Murchison Mts., Maud Is. & elsewhere as part of co-operative field work with the US Fish & Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program. Colin – you are doing a fantastic job and seem to be perfect for it. Thank you for your ambitious projects and conservation energy! I have mostly lived in Hawaii for 60 years; seeing beautiful NZ native forest and endemic birds is heartwarming. I enjoy being on Te Papa’s emailing list. Many articles bring back vivid memories of hikes, camping, and research of my younger days. Aloha, Angela

    1. Tēnā koe Angela
      Thank you very much for your kind feedback. I am pleased to hear how the blogs allowed you to reconnect with Aotearoa.

  16. A few years back when I was studying I came across a journal article on the origins of the words “Maori” and “Pakeha” that said Pakeha is the short form of ‘Pakehakeha’ meaning “imaginary beings with fair skin” (or something to that effect), and Maori meaning ‘ordinary’. If you think about it, it would have been completely new and fascinating for tangata whenua to see Pakeha for the first time, hence the word “imaginary”.

  17. I remember my grandfather well. Our family frequently visited his family home in Otaki.Summer visits were especially fun for a child as he had sheds and gardens and fruit trees and even an underground food storage structure so there was lots to explore.He would often sit me on his knees as he warmed his feet by the wood burner in the kitchen.He was good with us infants.

  18. My father, Dr Francis Neate of Otaki, had portraits done by Spencer Digby of myself and siblings in the 1940’s/50’s. My brothers, twins, are Robin and George Neate, my sister Prue, those 3 born in the 1940’s, myself Juliet and two younger sisters, Penelope (Penny) and Deborah born in the `1950’s.
    I am wondering if any negatives relating to those portraits have come to light.

  19. An interesting, enjoyable, and, for me, nostalgic, set of adventures and enumerations. Well done!

    1. Thanks very much Stuart.
      Ngā mihi nui

  20. Mean, love ❤️ thank you

  21. Tena koe Leon, thanks for highlighting one of the issues with KNE’s…the assessment system is basically saying that if the weed in question isn’t actually within a KNE then all is well. Will take heed in my neck of the woods as it were….appreciate the article.

  22. I learned a lot about the different species of birds that live in the beech forests and the alpine meadows of the track. I was especially impressed by the photos and descriptions of the Kea, the Rifleman, and the Long-tailed Cuckoo.

  23. Love the self-referentiality of this article. 🙂

  24. 2023 and the website still looks good. Nice job.

  25. I remember seeing Kamala at the zoo when I was a kid.

  26. I was wondering how to go about sending a Puriri sapling,approximately 1meter tall,it was taken from an 80yr old tree & friehtting it to Canada,Can you tell me if its possible as time is short.I am hoping to get it to a friend’s property then having my ashes placed under it.Im dieing of Cancer,see.Fr

    1. Thanks for your comment Tony, I would suggest contacting a garden centre to find out about how to ship living plants overseas (and maybe finding out about the biosecurity rules in Canada for importing living plants). Good luck!

  27. Hi. I know nothing about bees’s and pollen and live in the UK. However my Mother has a couple of acres half native bush and half is grass. It is on land on a hill and the area is fed by a harbour on the West Coast north of Auckland but quite inland.

    I would like to carry on my Mums wishes of a Cottage Industry and she did mention production of food. Is the honey market still viable as a financial investment or to make a profit(not big). Thanks.

  28. It’s amazing how I remembered that dress from sex in the city all these years later. It shows how distinctive the design is.

  29. This is such a fantastic initiative by Te Papa! I’m thrilled to see them taking action for nature and sharing valuable information about New Zealand’s native forget-me-nots on Wikipedia.

    In the process of uploading the images to Wikimedia Commons, did the team encounter any particularly rare or unique specimens that stood out among the collection?


  30. Wonderful to hear that these artefacts are loaned for exhibition in other museums. Is there any chance of seeing them here in Wellington, I wonder?

  31. I love your information and pictures about all of this

  32. Wow, what an amazing read. I truly admire your strength Mehwish, and want to thank you for sharing such a powerful message. I could not agree with you more, especially around how health systems place too much emphasis on labels and scratch surface treatments, failing to acknowledge the underlying causes for ones symptoms. Let’s hope for some transformative change. It is much needed. Thank you again, and I want to wish you and your beautiful sisters all the very best in your future endeavors.

  33. An excellent tribute. And some lovely photos of Bill’s family too.

  34. Has anything happened about removing weka since 2012?

  35. Excellent summary and best wishes removing Weka!

  36. Hello,
    Thank you so much for this article. The photos are wonderful to see. I think you can tell a lot about a person by the photos they take. He was very skilled.
    I recently found out that I am related to George Crombie, through my Grandmother. So sad that George died in WWI.
    Are there still relatives in New Zealand beside Lisa Allen?

    1. Kia ora Carol, thanks for your comment. When I was writing the blog, Lisa Allen mentioned to me that there were still living relatives of George, but I have no further information. Since the blog was published more images from George have been published, see https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/agent/28213

  37. It would be wonderful if a simple diorama could be constructed for the Martinborough Museum. Prehuman Martinborough, as described in this delightful article, would be quite an eye-opener!

  38. This blog is a fantastic introduction to the birds of the Great Walks in Aotearoa New Zealand. I appreciate Dr. Colin Miskelly’s expertise and dedication in documenting the bird species encountered on these iconic tracks.

    The scoring system based on endemism levels provides a unique perspective on comparing the bird biodiversity of each Great Walk. It’s fascinating to see the range of endemic species, from the distinctive kiwis to the colorful parakeets and wrens. The photographs included in the blog beautifully showcase the natural beauty of the tracks and the birdlife they offer.

    I’m excited to read the upcoming blogs in this series, which will provide more detailed information about each Great Walk and the bird species encountered along the way. The commentary on bird distribution patterns will be particularly interesting, as it will shed light on the factors influencing the presence of endemic birds on different tracks.

    Thank you, Dr. Colin Miskelly, for sharing your knowledge and experiences. I look forward to joining you on this journey of discovery through the Great Walks and their avian inhabitants.

  39. Excellent initiative, Colin!

  40. We need this information, this education, so much! Thank you for taking the suppressed narrative and bringing it into the light.

  41. Great read. All the best Oscar. Will look out for the second edition of your book.

  42. Is it possible to view the whole Berry Boys Collection of WWI soldiers?
    I’m trying to find a photo of my great uncle-Cyril Bateman- who died after 3 months on Gallipoli of typhoid. He was from Dunedin but I know he spent time with his brother, my grandfather, in Wellington before embarking. My mother was proud that she knew to take the little silver 3d not the big 1d, when he emptied his pockets and offered the coins to the children.

  43. The Tongans brought tattoo with them as far as 3000 years ago when all Polynesians were Lapita Pottery Migrators settling the Pacific. The Tongan tattoo kit that was carbon dated to 2700yrs old is proof of it.

    1. Ko ia! That’s right.

  44. Kia ora Matiu,
    very good post.

    Young McKillop who was also there wrote entries into his journal and I believe some of the sketches of where everyone stood is in his journal.
    He also talked about what he heard Police Magistrate Thompson call out; Some say he said “forward Englishmen forward!” and others said it sounded like “fire Englishmen fire!”.
    After viewing evidence of the bullet wound to Te Rongo, it had been claimed she was hit with a settled marksman shot passing in direct line from temple to temple.
    If anyone knew about the indenture more than anyone else, it would have been Te Rongo and if she had lived, as my mother always said, she would have been able to reveal the true intent of her husbands motivations and how this indenture was signed in the first place.
    So there are more details yet to be drawn out and discussed, although it was very obvious the desperate situation Arthur Wakefield found himself in on behalf of the NZ Company and was trying all he could to secure lands he sold back in England before even buying it off the Māori land owners here in Aotearoa New Zealand.
    It is a shame that many innocents were pulled into this unnecessary affray and could have been avoided if Arthur Wakefield had not pushed and egged Henry Thompson into pursuing Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata.
    All this over his own illegal purchase and the chiefs exercising their landlord duties to move surveyors off their lands for trespassing. Surveyors were unharmed, clothing and blankets even folded and boxed, they were ferried by canoe to a boat and returned to Nelson.
    I believe Te Rauparaha had wished for the best, but prepared always for the worst.
    Thank you for this awakening updated article Matiu.

    1. Tēnā koe e te tuakana e Toa
      Thank you for your kind words Toa. It’s gratifying to know you enjoyed the blog. Yes, I think this event deserves a more thorough and nuanced retelling. Certainly more so than I could do here in a blog. Ngā mihi nui e te whanaunga.

  45. Good morning,
    Where can I shop for Tuvalu skirt Fatele costume

  46. I love the idea of a Nature Challenge event! Would be great if Auckland had this as well. Amazing photos 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah – Auckland did participate this year (any city can sign up). Keep an eye out in April next year for the next event.

  47. i have a photo of possible fungi taken in arthur’s pass area and would like identification,can i send photo to where

  48. I’m a Horticulturalist living on Norfolk Island
    Thank you for this informative blog on the many lovely flora species of this magical piece of paradise in the Pacific.
    I feel blessed and privileged to call this place my home.

  49. Extremely good photography.

  50. Mental health care and support is important, and there is not enough of it, but

    1) Why is Te Papa directly involved in servicing this need?

    2) Asia is a big place, so which ethnicities are the focus here?

  51. Thank you, Andrew, for solving an 18-year-old mystery. Back in 2005 and again in 2008, we ate at the restaurant of Musket Cove on Malolo Lailai while sailing from Nadi to Vanuatu. On both occasions, my wife subsequently experienced “explosive oily orange diarrhoea then leakage, that smelt of mineral oil”. We thought the source was contaminated groundwater, but my wife had eaten the fish dish while I chose otherwise both times. Malolo Lailai is very close to really deep water so oilfish would be quite accessible.

  52. Great blog Leon.

  53. Thank you Judah for your enlightened views. I am a conservator at Te Papa and also a student at Vic Uni.
    Would love to chat with your writing and thoughts

  54. Great blog ! Any more information on this painting Im including it in my University Classical studies project I just love it

  55. This is a wonderful obituary Lissa. Thank you!

    Tim Main

  56. The queues were more manageable by late in the day. I remember the NZSO, Mere Boynton and others playing Gareth Farr’s “Te Papa” – spine tingling.
    10 years later we had mokupuna and they’ve grown up with the place – storytime and the interactives, NZSO&RNZB days, golden days, the meeting houses, the Aztec exhibition, Gallipoli.


  57. Amazing place! I wish one day to visit this beautiful island! The problem is the cost, its expensive for me for coming from Europe where i live. I wish one day.. still then i will dreaming! What a place!

    1. Kia ora Hiwinui,
      At the moment we are working on developing methods to get DNA from such taonga but we aren’t quite there yet.

  58. Are these spiders fatal to humans.

  59. Hi Leon,
    I am an avid amateur U.S. botanist with a website on the flora of the southwest U.S. mountains and high desert ( http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com ). For many years I have defended the multitude of name changes by explaining that we are only following good science, and if you Google “botanical name changes”, that is the explanation repeated over and over. Your comments, however, bring out a point that others seem afraid to accept or are unaware of: far too many name changes are brought about by those seeking a name for themselves through their PhD research, need to publish or perish, self-esteem, etc. As others responding to your blog have pointed out, it is our human need to categorize everything that leads to much of the trouble. We need to remember that our penchant for taxonomy means nothing to the plants; they remain the same no matter what we call them. When professionals put plants in smaller and smaller boxes, then shift the boxes, and then scramble them again, many new plant enthusiasts are repulsed, turned off. Birders have national and international authorities who set the names for birds — for the present time. We at least need the same for plants. More importantly, we need to stop making names for ourselves by changing names of plants. Let’s strive for deeper understanding of plants, not strive for what we think is the appropriate box for the plants.

  60. Kia ora. I’m trying to identify a fungus gnat which I observed pollinating a Tutukiwi orchid in the Catlins. Is the key still available?
    Mike McAlevey

  61. Loved your post but am puzzled – and visually distracted – by the underlining of some te reo words and not others. Can you please explain?

    1. Kia ora Ann,

      Thank you for your comment. The underlined words are where there is a gloss definition. If you click or tap on the underlined word, you will see a pop-up with the word defined in English and sometimes an option to hear it pronounced. It only appears on the first instance of the word.

      Ngā mihi,

      Digital Channels Team

  62. Thank you Te Papa for allowing Kahungunu whanau to return and to advise and assist in the mahi for the recovery of their taonga. In the past I had a brief connection to the plan to restore the taonga from the Hukarere Kura Chapel that sadly ceased with the passing of Parekura Horomia and since February 14th I have had many thoughts as to the status of their beautiful taonga. May Life Be Kind To You All on your mission.

  63. The Margaret Hitchings pottry would have been made to order at the Temuka Potteries not Timaru. Local Kakahu clay was used ad which was possiby used by Maori artists which occurs as a grey medium in the three taniwha compostion.

  64. Great to get a view of progress on Mana Island. Such a wonderful effort from volunteers is a treasure for eveyone.

  65. So whats happening on Kapiti Island ? when I was a boy and visited with the Forrest and Bird, the northern part was still farmed.

    1. Kia ora Andrew
      Farming on Kāpiti ceased c.1970. For a comprehensive account of the ecological restoration of the island, I recommend Kerry Brown’s 2004 book ‘Restoring Kapiti: nature’s second chance’ (University of Otago Press, 128 pp).
      Ngā mihi

  66. Great before and after images. So important for everyone to see and realise how long it takes. Just requires long term vision as is the case with most restoration projects.

  67. Very interesting. I visited once a few years ago and its great to get this happy update.

    Olwen Mason

  68. Love the before and after pics. Really shows what can be achieved with the right support.

  69. What a difference for the better over fifty years makes.

  70. I seem to remember there was also a rockfish that people could submit names for. What happened to the rockfish? I can’t find any articles or blog posts about it.

  71. Great to see these treasures going back where they belong.

  72. Thankyou this piece was useful. I learnt something new .

  73. Hi there,

    Do you have any pictures from Catherine Scheele and Barbara Golden’s avant garde designs maybe between 1995 onwards? I would super appreciate it if you did and i loved their creations so much.

  74. Ans “captured” the 60s to 80s period in New Zealand in brilliant ways….her photography during that time was honest ,true and unforgettable.

  75. Having harvested Aciphylla aurea biomass samples as part of a tussock fire project in Otago, I found a sharp spade was the way to go.

  76. While “These defences are thought to have evolved to avoid browsing by moa, ” another published train of reasoning is the possibility that the spikes evolved through a morphogenetic process (such as biased gene conversion). Moas may not have been able to feed on the plants as a result, but the moa browsing itself was not the evolutionary mechanism.

  77. Always enjoy your blogs Lara and Leon. Some inventive stuff needed for this work. Thanks for sharing.

  78. It is a pity Te Papa doesn’t have fern murals and native birds on the outside of the building with some sort of polyurethane or other covering to protect the art work from the elements, especially the sun. It is a pity that we have dull gray concrete blocks!

  79. I was there. It was one of the highlights of my life. I send my best to all who remember and to everyone who carries out the tradition today. Thank you for your incredible work. Elaine Heumann Gurian.

  80. You had a great explanation of how we Samoans talked long ago, so proud to had this people to explain our history

  81. I want to find the meaning of Gagana o aso uma, Gagana faaaloalo, Gagana faafailauga, in samoa

  82. I remember someone describing as
    Pā- referring to any Māori village or defensive settlemen
    Kehā-ulcer/sore or flea/bloodsucking insect
    Village pests or somthing like..
    They way you’ve put it sounds more like it

  83. Hi Leon
    Have you any advice on participating in a future botanically-focused tour to New Caledonia?
    Failing that, do you know of any guide books that might aid a freelance or self-guided excursion?
    Geoff Rogers

    1. Hello Geoff,
      There may be commercial tours with a focus on botany, but I don’t know of them. You might trying contacting the herbarium in Nouméa, in case they have expeditions where they’d like assistance. http://publish.plantnet-project.org/project/nou
      I don’t know of any books, but there is a very good website with good pictures of many of the plants: https://endemia.nc/en/ There is also an active Facebook group for people asking queries about New Caledonian plants: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1627514144080340
      I’ve a very rough draft photo guide to New Caledonia’s ferns that I’d be happy to share.
      Cheers, Leon

  84. Wow, great work Tora! Fantastic to see such passion at such a young age.

  85. Excellent work!

  86. I remember the Thomas Trood siapo from the Tapa Exhibition at Te Papa in 2010 & still love it. It reminds me very much of a Patchwirk quilt, with an alternating nine-patch and applique tulip blocks. I wonder if the creator of the siapo had seen such a quilt on a bed somewhere?

  87. I am a librarian and so I am very interested in these Samoa Collections Thank you for giving us access to these collections. Please add me to your mailing list.

  88. Hi, I love monarchs, but also love my newly bought Plumeria tree (frangipani) that has just started sending out good sized leaves from the $90 bare stalk it was when acquired. To my surprise, a monarch or two are laying eggs on the leaves…I am busily removing them each day. To your knowledge, is this a tree that the caterpillars could mature on? If so, it could be a boon to monarch lovers, and a bane to Plumeria lovers:-)

  89. I love the Thomas Trood gifted siapo of 1917…how the alternating crescents in the vertical divisions make the whole interior of the siapo look like it is waving, whereas the outside border shows that it is flat.

  90. I spotted what looked like a flock of eight black terns over Oakura, Taranaki on the evening of 9 February 2022. They were heading south and although they were in front of setting sun, I feel sure their plumage was very dark all over. I’ve never seen these birds before.

  91. Thanks for a very interesting blog.

    I have been interested in this genus for a long time and managed to grow a few species in my garden in Dunedin. John Dawson and Jim Le Comte were the “goto” people back then.

    In my garden, which was too hot and dry for the plants to flourish, they managed to survive as long as they had managed to get a good tap root established. Even the likes of A. pinnatifida survived when its usual habitat on Mt Burns was growing in meltwater.

    The Alpine Garden Group members told me it is not hard to establish aciphyllas from rosette cuttings but that the plants never developed and strong tap root.

    I will be very interested in the results of your research.


    1. Thanks Pat – interesting to hear it is possible to grow them!

  92. Wonderful celebration of this inspiring and gorgeous genus of vascular plants that emphasises our special and unique biodiversity from coast to high mountains: thank you. I have found four of our endemic moths specialise on this genus; our largest noctuid moth Ichneutica nullifera has its stout pale orange caterpillars feeding in the centre of the plant where the leaves are developing while three elegant diurnal geometrids in the genus Dasyuris – D partheniata, D catadees and D octans have their looper larvae scraping the tough leaves; interestingly eleven other Dasyuris species feed on the related Anisotome. Cheers

    1. Interesting, thanks Brian!

  93. The tatau was not brought to Tonga from Fiji. It was the other way around.
    Melanesians didn’t even practice tattooing until they came into contact with Polynesians.
    It’s even stated in many Fijian songs. Who wrote this ?

  94. I had no idea of the range of speargrasses. And your photos are terrific. (The HTML of captions is visible on my ipad — worth checking with the IT team.)

  95. Thank you Lara for this amazing journey. I am going to have to go back and check out the names on some of my old photos. Pretty interesting for a carrot!

  96. That etymology sounds suspiciously convenient.

    Further, I don’t believe anyone thinks about the word in that way.

    Therefore the etymology may as well be made up.

  97. i do not have any personal photos of myself
    1969/ 1972 but i did have a sitting with Ronald Woolf during that time.
    So i am very interested and would be extremely grateful if i am able to find .
    Also he photographed my wedding Jamieson/Corbett and also did a personal sitting for my brother. Aylton Jamieson.
    i am in the 50th year of my
    OE now !! in the Caribbean. Was refused re entry due to pandemic . Will try again when govt gets sorted

  98. How many German Samoa flags have been collected from 1914 when it was part of German Samoa and what were they names who had them and what building did they come from in Samoa during this time.

  99. Kia ora to whom ever the provider of this website is. I may have posted one of the comments in 2018. I’m not a Grace but have access to a lot of information regarding Minister Thomas and Agnes Grace’s whanau in Tuwharetoa including the connection with the Grace Whanau from Tuparoa Gisborne. Can also verify the old man from Tokaanu was Alfred Puatāta Grace who played rugby with Lionel Wilfred Hughes who lived at Tokaanu. Marshall Thomas “Hami” Ornberg ( service number 439891) buried Turangi RSA urupa still has two daughters living in Turangi. He did not serve with the 28th Maori Battalion but with NZ Field Artillery as a Bombardier. Two of the brothers where at Crete WW2. Don’t be shy to email me for a lot of information

  100. Like I mean like what does Toi means like if idc – I d-dont-care idc means I don’t care and idk -I-dont -know means I don’t know see and now I’m asking what does toi mean!

  101. I own an antique smoked and incised tabua with its original sinnet cord. I have had it for decades but now wish to sell it. What would be the best way for me to sell?

  102. Love these pictures! I’m definitely an 8 today.

  103. I came across one today walking up the main track to Mt Kau Kau via Simla Cresent. They are amazing and nice to know the story behind them. I didn’t want to stress it out so just left it with some rocks around it so other people won’t stomp on it.

  104. I would like a copy ,please.

  105. Te Papa won’t be making this image available in Wikimedia Commons at this time. Te Papa has started to contribute to Wikimedia Commons recently with an upload of images of botanical specimens. We are also aware that Wikipedia editors often upload public domain and openly licensed images of people from our Collections Online website and we support and encourage that activity. We’ve had preliminary discussions on the implications and workload required if we change our practices with regards to Te Papa-generated, non-collection photographs of people such as this image of Audrey Eagle. We’ve realised our photographic consents process and relationship management with the individuals depicted, their whanau (families), and communities may need to be changed to make this sort of upload systematic and supported. Given that openly licensing images of people using Creative Commons licensing is irreversible we take our responsibilities in this space seriously. Due to limits on resourcing this important review isn’t included in our work programme for 2022/23. The prioritisation of this project will be revisited during the business planning cycle for 2023/24 where it will compete with other projects.

  106. Lovely thoughts on a remarkable artist. Thank you Gary.

  107. Those Gill Arch teeth look like they could really use a clean and polish!

  108. This photo of Audrey Eagle by Michael Hall for Te Papa is wonderful. If you upload it to Wikimedia Commons, I can add it to her biography in Wikipedia. She deserves to have a photo!

  109. Love this article. Would like to see more.

  110. Thank you so much for your blog! It’s really helpful and interesting, plz do more I love spiders so much! <3

  111. Thank you this was what I understood Pākehā to mean and I do remember going through all the stages of astonishment, resentment, understanding and not only acceptance but also desire, when it came to using Pākehā to describe myself. Understanding the definition above: “It was thought that the people who came on the ships with their fair skin had come from ngā rangi tūhāhā – from the skies, realms, heavens, dimensions above.” It was in fact a pretty accurate perception and recognition at the time. I am happy to be described as a Pākehā and have happily done so for a long time. Have a great day.

  112. An excellent blog; thank you!

  113. Anthriscus caucalis is another species that has caused me some confusion when looking for Daucus glochidiatus

  114. This is a fascinating post! It shows a great deal of research. It also shows how fascinating plant specimens can be.

    1. Thanks, Maura. We can learn so much from plant specimens – about the plants themselves, but also history and the people behind the specimens. I really enjoyed learning about botanists Darton & Hart and their story as I found, databased and imaged these century-old specimens for Te Papa’s herbarium.

  115. I doubt competition for food is a realistic hypothesis between pairs, and the difference in bill shapes between male and female huia is far from outlandish given males and females in many species adopt different behaviours and roles in partnership. Therefore it is quite reasonable to speculate that male huia bills are shorter and stouter than their female mates if their role was to punture through bark to provide access to grubs and larvae for mutual benefit.

  116. Please sorry for asking to you sell a’u please

  117. Hi, I have just inherited an Etching – a copy of Rembrandt’s “Beggers Talking” or “Male and Female Beggers” 1630.
    The framer in 1979, noted This copy is probably by Francois Vivares 1700 -1780 a known copyist of Rembrandt. and says “Not a particularly competent artist in his own right”.
    My Grandmother likely purchased it in Europe in 1912. It is now in Wellington and is in need of a new mat. Should I be showing you first?

  118. You might find this interesting as it is the history of the Construction Squadron that my father was a part of.
    The air force museum I think at Wigraham Christchurch .
    I have a diary written by one of the men who had taken photos and then wrote it up to share with all the men who meet regulars for many years after.I believe Michelle might have a copy of the write up WONZ 187 – Michelle Sim – Bombs And Bulldozers

  119. Me and my sisters have a few different spiders we have caught and they are really cool but we don’t have any of those I don’t think

  120. Thanks so much for sharing this, it’s so interesting to look into the history of coffee in New Zealand and the different influences that can impact the culture.

    Really enjoyed reading the blog. Thanks!

  121. How do I make contact with you Mehwish?

    Twice I have lost my comments because the reCAPCHA has timed out.

    I have been referred to you article because I talk about your approach all the time to my Christchurch University friend.

    Have self published booklets and protyped “Wellness Theatre” for MOH.
    I need a collaborater to polish/add value to the practical Non Professional 2nd generation experiences enabling others to smile again.

  122. Absolute fascinating … better than Fake or Fortune. Bought The Back of the Painting today … enthralling. Thank you Linda and fellow conservator/authors.

  123. Ngā mihi maioha. Thank you for caring and sharing ❤

  124. What is the Name of The Green paint that is used on the Ratana Church please??

  125. Im humbled and grateful to have come across your blog as I have Slavers in Paradise and am currently reading it. Years ago, I took a DNA test that said I had an ancestor from Melanesia. I wasn’t sure how – I’m Peruvian. Then I googled and came across this history. I appreciate your post and will continue to research as well.

  126. if native mosquitoes are inclined to bite birds than people, so how type of diseases may spread through birds?

  127. I have small flat pale brown snails in my sandy Miramar Wellington garden. Are they native snails?

  128. 9 Sept 2022

    Kia Orana,

    I am a direct decendant (gg/child) of Papa Pani, who fortunately made it back to Tongareva, from (Peruvian slave trade) with his sister Mirinoa, who ended up in Tahiti, I was told.

    Yes please! include me in, on reading material about Cook Island history particularly, on Tongareva & Aitutaki also, current affairs.

    Nga Mihi Nui


    1. Meitaki Maata Etara for reading and commenting. Please do stay connected through our social media channels and subscribe to our blog. Would love to hear more about Papa Pani and Mirinoa – I have sent you an email for follow up.

  129. Hi my name is Selepa my father’s name is Ahmad .the son of Jack Kiima Pedro. I lived in nz with my cousins the daughters of Tahirih Jack

  130. Enjoyed the Article by Ainu scholar Kanako. Thank you.

  131. Great story.
    Thanks for posting.

  132. hi this helped me know the diffirent Ponga tyeps so thank you

  133. Just a comment on Native Bees.
    As a 50 year Wellington Beekeeper, I look forward to their emergence when the manuka and kanuka start flowering and have planted the old type dahlias in my garden just for these bees.

    They are prominently pollen gathers and work the kanuka flowers profusely while my honeybees ignore these trees totally.

    Honeybees may compete for nectar in some areas but these native bees are working manuka and kanuka a full two weeks before bees take an interest in the flowers.

    They nest in banks and in sandy areas making burrows into the banks. After a out 10 years, these banks collapse (through the bees undermine it) and we can loose a total population. This also happen when road widening takes place.
    They are well adapted to our ecosystem over a millions of years and provided we have manuka and kanuka in scrubby places, they will survive.

    Just like honeybees, they cannot survive in intensively farmed areas as there are little pollen sources for them. We classify these as “green deserts”.

    Frank Lindsay

  134. Please note the image links return a “Page not Found” error for all five links to the te Papa objects.

    Is this an easy fix – to be able to view the object images?

    1. Kia ora Andrew,

      Thank you for letting us know. Some of our older posts didn’t ‘pull through’ the links when we updated the blog, so it’s a manual process when they’re spotted. You should be able to view the images and link through to the objects now.

  135. It would be nice to see our national museum reflect 83% of its populations choice of the name New Zealand instead of aotearoa or at the very least a combination of both. Please note I am not suggesting a fifty/fifty approach either. At least those from another part of the world would have chance of recognising where we are since they are unlikely to recognise a “new” name.

    Likewise in looking at the Britten motorcycle video it would be nice to hear it in english first rather than tacked on as an afterthought for the 83% of us that are not te reo proficient. Even my wife of Te Arawa descent does not agree with the maorification of everything within sight.

    In other words, please get your house in order lest your visitors and supporters other than the government and perhaps maori refuse to attend . I did not to view the Britten video after listening
    to the introduction, I’d rather read the book!

    Seems others get the same reaction to your obvious bias! Pity your site does not allow further comment!

  136. actual fossils can be reasonably well dated, but their actual taxogenic origin can, or rather must, be much older. Hence, any estimation about their true origin must remain speculative, with or without molecules.
    In addition the old notion, that the huia did evolve different bills in male and female in order to avoid food competition between sexes of the same species sound very outlandish as well.

  137. Is tourism sustainable? Is tourism a profitable myth or a cultural drift? We need to examine the real costs of tourism alongside the income it brings. If there is a profit what happens to it?

  138. I have a photograph of the white terraces taken in 1882. Would someone be interested in taking a look at it & possibly giving me a valuation?

  139. Thank you Deb for this great story about your mother. I grew up in Khandallah in the 1970s and my first friend at primary school was Mariko Nishino. Her father was working in Wellington at the time — it was a very sad day when, waving from the back of her mother’s car, she left to return to Tokyo with her family.

  140. we’re not gonna talk about how the moas “might have flourished” if he had not killed the last one huh?

  141. I knew nothing of this Te Au, its great. I’ll look out for it next time I’m at Te Papa.

  142. I can also vouch for the potential scientific value of inaturalist. It is a great resource, with the main limitation being
    that the records are photographic only. This is not a problem for taxa that are photographically definitive, but
    not so good for taxa that are not. However, the photos can at least provide an alert, and their
    scientific value is sometimes realized when the photographers can be persuaded to obtain voucher material.
    I was fortunate in one instance where after three years specimens were obtained by some of the photographers and this effort led to verification of a new ghost moth species in northern Mexico (results available at https://zoonova.afriherp.org/documents/Grehan%20et%20al%202022%20ZN%2019%20Phassus%20NE%20Mexico.pdf).

    While inaturalist may be called ‘citizen science’ the ‘science’ part may require specimen based verification, which unfortunately in many cases is not possible (some photographers do not want to get involved with specimen collection, even if something new turns up). I can also vouch for the biological information of photos sometimes being useful. There is a unique biological behavior recorded for some South African ghosts moths for which identification is not possible, but recently a moth was reared by a photographer hat should soon arrive for direct examination and identification.

  143. What does the word Tatau imply in Tahitian? The tattoos and designs of the Samoan islands reflect community, power, position, respect, and honor, and are a source of pride for Samoans exclusively. Displaying their emblems and patterns is an act of contempt for individuals who have no cultural influence or ancestral background. I’ve seen various designs from https://wannabeink.com/collections/under-breast but have yet to try it out because it’s a cultural tattoo.

  144. I have a ponga in Guernsey. I was born in NZ so this is great for me. It’s under trees and doing well even after transplanting. It is very healthy but some healthy fonds have bent down. Could this be because of sun? This is the part of the pongs which get sunlight. I noticed fallen leaves had fallen not the top of the trunk where the fonds grow from. We are experiencing a heat wave here and I thought the ponga would like it.

  145. Orchid seeds blow over from Australia and some settle and expand?

  146. Kia ora Leon, I have a pond in Karitane, north of Dunedin, covered in what looks like this. Very beautiful close up. Green and red. I have horses near this pond and dogs who love a swim. A variety of ducks and pukeko live near. Is it harmful to animals? Thanks

  147. An Art work that does 300 kph!

  148. Is this model of a Samoan Canoe?

  149. I recall many an enjoyable Saturday night at the Dorian Society venue in Lambton Quay, living under the radar and dancing to disco classics. I’m pretty sure there was a time when it was raided by the cops. Does anyone have any memory of that?

  150. Thank you for this beautiful story. I live in Sydney, Australia, but my father was first posted to Wellington in the 1950s, probably one of the few Japanese people along with your mum. Thank you for sharing your family story

  151. What a lovely article. I was born and grew up in Wellington over 70 + years ago in a different period of NZ immigration and settlement. I am so pleased to see such a successful family, one that has the best of Japanese and NZ culture and has added a bright note to our short modern history. Thank you .

  152. Thank you Deb for this lovely introduction to your mother. I love your portrait! What a treat.

    1. Hi Ann,
      Glad you liked the article.
      My father’s albums and archives really tell the stories. I made the portrait of Setsuko just after she passed away. Her warmth and wisdom continue to be passed on through our family gatherings.

  153. My comment addressed to the fragile new Zealander

  154. Hi, can you post one of these about how climate change is affecting Tokelau please??

    1. Malo ni, thanks for reading this blog. Some of the stories about climate change feature in Te Taiao, Level 4 at the museum, and we have also developed a touring photography show Faka-Tokelau: Living with change that includes images taken as part of this project. As part of this exhibition we highlighted adaptation in sea walls, vertical gardens and other innovations to help combat issues such as sea-level rise and ocean acidification. Can I also suggest searching our Tokelau content on YouTube and collections online, but also the Tokelau government’s website (https://www.tokelau.org.nz/Climate.html) that includes a link to the document: Living with Change (LivC): An Integrated National Strategy for Enhancing the Resilience of Tokelau to Climate Change and Related Hazards, 2017-2030. Best, Rachel

  155. Thank you so much for posting an interview with Henry LIU. I am a hakka writer from Tahiti and I write in French. I have been in contact with Henry LIU a few years back professionally but have not been able to get in touch with him again. I will be very grateful if by any chance through your help I can get his adress email or whatever information suitable to help me get in touch with him. As a matter of fact I have a good friend Jean ANDERSON who knows him and is also a translator at the University of Wellington. Thank you so much foryour help, est regards from JimmyLY .

  156. 25/6/22 sunfish was washed up at the Waimakariri River mouth, Kairaki Beach (North Canterbury)

  157. This is not New Zealand custom , we were never taught Māori at school, now we are all expected to know how to speak it, I hate this new nz with thought for the lives of average nz

  158. Thank you Amber, l did enjoy reading re Pohutakawa, the first of seven stars celebrated during Matariki.

  159. Thank you, l found it very interesting to read re Pohutukawa, the first of the seven sisters celebrated during Matariki. Looking forward to Amber’s next piece.

  160. Good Day can you please put me in contact with the Adam Clarke the photographer as I’d like to use his photo of the ruru. Thanks so much

  161. Two this morning in South Devon UK

  162. Hi, I’m wondering if anything further has come to light about the ediblity of Asplenium ×lucrosum pikopiko or rhizome? Given it’s wide availability, I would guess it’s probably been eaten rather commonly when mistaken for Asplenium bulbiferum

  163. my grandmother Mere Monckton ( sister of Madge Pomare) had a feathered Cloke but. No one seems to know what happened to it? it could b in the Waikato Museum or maybe Maui Pomare rescued it for his collection. .. Have you any knowledge of it.?

  164. His posters adorn my walls and bring me joy every day ❤️
    During my time in Beru at 1999-2000 such great memories of the people places and experiences lucky to have lived there
    Forever great full for Tony’s work

  165. Thanks for the Philosophic and scientific discussion re scientific plant naming. I try to keep up but find I am out of date sometimes and wondering what happened when and why. Three issues come to mind.

    1 Botanists are concentrating on the science of taxonomy sometimes from a purely ultra science point of view. You highlighted this in your examples about smaller and smaller genera determine by ultra specialists.

    Scientific papers are all very well from scientists and they all get peer reviewed, whether they get panned does not come to light except for those in the know. Those that are accepted those who read the scientific publications or can afford to read them via subscription services, know the info and become rather authoritarian. It happened recently on INaturalist where I used the INaturalist name only to be told its this and INaturalist is not up to date.
    Few botanists then follow up with publication of something somewhat less scientific for the a wider audience of botanists, ecologists, horticulturists, gardeners etc. Why not? Well usually because it does not give them citations and add to their status as a researcher. This aspect of research needs looking at. Its no good doing it if you are not communicating the research and results to that wider audience.

  166. It is great to see years of hard work and dedication being preserved. Jean was also invited to be a guest speaker at an Iris Society Convention in the United States around 1954/5. I am Ian’s younger sister.

  167. Kia ora Sean – are Tulāfale exclusively men? It is suggested in the article but not stated. Yours, ‘curious (and updating a Wikipedia article with info from your blog)’.

    1. Yes definitely Men.

  168. I was walking on the Mt Kaukau tracks & saw a beautiful Powelliphanta. We removed it to prevent it being stood on & carefully placed it in the undergrowth. This was on 23/05/2022. I never knew there were any in Wellington prior to this. So cool to think that a colony is there.
    Lorraine Freeman

  169. Thanks Gareth, really enjoyed this insight into the early days of homosexual law reform in Welly.

  170. What an incredibly engaging and revelatory post, Gareth.
    Many, many thanks,

  171. This is a wonderful testament Gareth, full of admiration and love. Thank you.

  172. The leopard slug also eats the dehy rabbit bait in some of my traps.

  173. Very Interesting

    I just have one question for you for a school project I am doing.

    What do you think could be done better to stop the spreed of these pest and why hasn’t the plague skink been eradicated yet.

  174. The Easington mentioned in the Sand Plover photo is actually near Spurn Point, East Riding of Yorkshire

  175. What do you think might have happened to this bird now?

  176. I came across Jack Dunn’s story several years ago in reading Richard Stowers’ remarkable book Bloody Gallipoli. It has to be the saddest story of that wretched campaign. I am glad to see Dunn recognised for his contribution. May he Rest In Peace.

  177. Thanks to Colin Ogle and the Te Papa team for doing this for the Bell garden.

  178. How interesting.

    Thanks very much for all your work Lara, Leon and vols.

  179. Is there any chance of seeing the Xena outfit at present? Is it currently on display in NZ, and if so where? Alternatively is there a way to book seeing it at Te Papa Collections?

  180. I could do with some help on whakapapa

    1. Contact me because I am after the same thing as you. I’ve been told that this is my GG Grandfather. I have been given a whakapapa but it’s hard to follow.

  181. Bird lice have an interesting story. Each bird species has its own lice species, I understand. Why? Because they live on their own eco-island on their host? They migrate to the chicks in the nest and then live and breed on the chicks as they grow up to be adults themselves. I understand that some bird species have been identified by the lice species. Can someone tell this story?

  182. Bought a Tapa work many years ago in Hawai’i. Still the most cherished souvenir of that wonderful journey.

  183. Liliu ile gagana tusitusi
    Sou alu laa po

  184. Inspiring!

  185. Thank you for this explanation. I think there are a range of words in te reo Māori that give us tauiwi, or non-Māori, space to be who we are and yet have a connection to this place.

    1. This word does not apply to recent people that have arrived to New Zealand.
      It is specific to the people that fought side by side with the New Zealanders between 1800 to 1865 to build a lawful country that is safe and properous to all that would later come.
      We are not non anything .We exist in New Zealand , as our ancestors did.
      Our Anglo German Maori history is deeply intertwined with Hobson, Nene, Patuone, German settlers of the Saint Paulie and Queen Victoria holding us altogether as she does to this day.
      If you are new to new Zealand then please study our correct history before making false statements that may damage our NZ MaoriPakeha eco system.

  186. Pākehā is also a word used in he whakaputanga and te Tiriti for those that arrived.

    “4. Ka mea matou kia tuhituhia he pukapuka ki te ritenga o tenei o to matou wakaputanga nei ki te Kingi o Ingarani hei kawe atu i to matou aroha. nana hoki i wakaae ki te Kara mo matou. a no te mea ka atawai matou, ka tiaki i nga pakeha e noho nei i uta e rere mai ana ki te hokohoko, koia ka mea ai matou ki te Kingi kia waiho hei matua ki a matou i to matou Tamarikitanga kei wakakahoretia to matou Rangatiratanga.”
    – He Wakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni

    “Na ko te Kuini e hiahia ana kia wakaritea te Kawanatanga kia kaua ai nga kino e puta mai ki te tangata maori ki te Pakeha e noho ture kore ana.”
    – Te Tiriti o Waitangi preamble

  187. So interesting, Isabel. Wouldn’t it be great to compare JCR’s and William Hodgkins’ watercolours of this country’s scenery? There’s a possible topic for your further study…

  188. My favourite spider is the Black Widow.
    Thanks for sharing great useful and informative content on Spider.
    There are over 2500 different types of spiders in New Zealand, the majority of which are harmless to humans. Only a few spiders have the ability to bite humans. The Katipo, the Redback, and the White-tailed Spider are three spider species in New Zealand that should be avoided.

  189. This is very very sad for Lottie and her brothers and i hope they have a good rest of there lives in heaven

  190. Great pix and good info, Lara. I endorse the suggestion to put pix on iNaturalist-the fungus experts are active and helpful

  191. I question the value of the report mentioned by the author as the study is out of date and has questionable value when real doctors and nurses are constantly treating the effects of white-tail spider bites. Maybe the author would care to review this article with some real-life data from hospitals and comment?

    The doctors and nurses that treated me for my white-tail spider bite in hospital found this article laughable as they find white-tail spider bites almost always get infected and white-tails should not be underestimated

    My own personal experience of white-tail spiders wasn’t pleasant, the bite site quickly went red and swelled. This article lead me to believe I was only dealing with some localised redness and swelling. A couple of days after being bitten I sought medical attention but by then local antibiotics could not get the infection under control. I was admitted to hospital for I.V antibiotics and surgery as the doctor feared the infection had spread to my blood and I was close to septic shock.

    1. Dear Russell,

      From the blog post:

      Secondary infections (i.e. infection present in the environment entering a wound at a later time) are sometimes blamed on white-tails, even if no spider is seen. These can happen with any skin breakage, be it a bite, graze, or sting. In some cases this may be serious, but the risk of infection can be greatly reduced by keeping skin breakages clean.

      White-tails may have a potential role here in that they are capable of breaking human skin with a bite, thus creating a potential entry point for infection to enter the body. However, there is no evidence to suggest these spiders directly transmit bacteria or other pathogens in the act of biting.

      Nobody is claiming a white tail bite cannot be subsequently infected. Literally any wound can be, but there’s also no good evidence to suggest white tail bites are more likely to become infected either.

      Medical diagnoses of white tail bites are unreliable without direct proof like an identified specimen or a clear sighting of the spider in the act of biting. The symptoms of white tail bites are simply not distinct enough to allow a clinician to say definitively that a white tail is responsible. Presentation of an infected wound is not necessarily proof of anything other than an infected wound, yet there are case studies that show that white tail bites are sometimes assumed to be responsible where other causes were later correctly identified. I assume you saw the spider in your case, but it’s pretty clear that in both Australia and New Zealand, white tail bites are sometimes blamed for symptoms where no spider is involved at all. I’ve even heard of diagnoses of white tail bites on the basis of infected wounds being presented and a white tail was seen several days later! I’ve been told by medical students that they get very limited training in bites and stings in the New Zealand system, which makes some degree of sense given the disease burden from these is comparatively low. This is not to trivialize the real suffering people might experience, but the diagnosis of a white tail bite without good evidence is a diagnosis of convenience rather than one of certainty.

      In contrast, the Australian study is robust as the cases all have verified evidence of white tail responsibility and is of a sufficient size to draw meaningful conclusions. The age of the study is not especially important here as it’s not as though the biology of the spider would change markedly in the time since then.

      There is no evidence that white tails routinely transmit pathogens when biting, but like any skin breakage, a white tail bite can allow infection in at the time of the bite or later. There’s nothing unusual in that as the infectious agent may already be living otherwise harmlessly on skin surfaces in close proximity to the bite, or picked up later on from the environment. ANY wound, be it a bite or something else, should be given all due care to minimize the risk of infection. Even then, someone may be unfortunate. You certainly were, as was I with a graze that I thought I’d looked after well enough but it got infected, took months to heal and has left me with scars I carry to this day. Infection of wounds, no matter the cause, should be the real concern here, but beyond creating an entry point, white tails don’t appear to be anything to be especially worried about.

      If white tails really were dangerous, I like to think someone would have shown that unequivocally in the 150 or so years they’ve been present in New Zealand, or in Australia where they are native. The initial concerns about this spider arose when it was suggested that white tail venom was capable of causing necrosis (tissue death). However, studies of the venom show that’s not true.

      If you have further questions, you’re more than welcome to ask.

      Kind regards,


    2. I agree Russel, I’ve had two white tail bites within 6 weeks and both were really bad, antibiotics couldn’t help it so had to be put on I.v twice for the first one, then have surgery to cut it out. The second one I went in quickly and they put me straight on iv antibiotics and cut it open to get the stuff out. I think I’ve just had a third one too so expecting the worst

  192. I thought only dogs bite the books, interesting to know humans do the same (or used to do), but the coffee stain is so common both for public and academic libraries.
    During my days in the public, I had to clean blood stains from a book. Since then I keep a hand sanitiser handy.
    Thanks for a good read 🙂

  193. So happy for you, Annika! I am enjoying this exhibition very much and encouraging everyone to see it.

  194. Thoroughly enjoyed this and I can’t wait to get along to the exhibition.

  195. Lara, Very interesting, especially the undocumented trade comment. However it would be interesting to know how that conclusion was reached with documented trade and immigration happening from China to the South Island goldfields only a few decades later. Is it possible that was the source or a source? Just curious, thanks Brent

    1. Thanks for your comment Brent. Norway rats and house mice are both thought to have reached the South Island much earlier than when the first Chinese gold miners arrived (1865) and were already widespread by that time. To expand on the undocumented trade comment it has been suggested that both these species may have come with sealers returning from the Canton fur market between 1792 and 1810. These voyages were undocumented (illegal) because direct trading with China was prohibited until after 1813.

  196. Hi Lara,

    Fascinating post and article – congratulations to you and your colleagues on your amazing detective work!

    Re the east Asian DNA variant found in Norway rats from the South Island, is there any possibility this could have come via the Cape of Good Hope rather than more directly from China? The reason I ask is because 1/ the Cape Colony had been a major port of call for European traders and voyagers sailing to and from the East since at least the mid-17th century, and 2/ we have two strong candidates for introducing rats from the Cape into the South Island at a very early stage, namely Cook and Vancouver, who visited Dusky Sound in 1773 and 1791 respectively. Both had spent an extended period at the Cape before sailing on to NZ (directly, in Cook’s case) and both then spent several weeks at different locations within the sound – more than enough time to unwittingly embark and disembark any rodent stowaways.

    Have there been any DNA studies of rat bones found at archaeological sites in and around Cape Town which would confirm the presence of the Asian variant there prior to c.1800?

    1. Thanks for your comment James! I haven’t been able to find any DNA studies of rat bones from South Africa so that would be an interesting future research project for someone. There has been a study published (https://bmcgenomdata.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2156-12-26) which looked at a small number of modern Norway rats from South Africa and found, like New Zealand, there have been separate introductions from Europe and Asia. Unfortunately they looked at a different DNA marker to us so we can’t see if their Asian DNA haplotypes match those found in New Zealand.

  197. John was a Kiwi Engineer who designed and built his Motorcycle in New Zealand! Not some other aotea place.

    1. You seem to be a very fragile New Zealander Anonymous.

    2. Yeah, and so ???

  198. Just watched a bunch of huge kingfish harassing a big sunfish off the coast of New Plymouth.
    Not sure if they are trying to attack it or just playing with it.

  199. It is a piece of art fully clothed but no less so stripped of its body work. Seeing it up close you can look at it for hours discovering all that a genius had created

  200. Fascinating stuff! I’d be really interested to learn from your conservation team some of the opportunities/challenges in maintaining this iconic collection item?

  201. What a great resource for those learning (including myself)!

  202. A drainage channel beside the Christchurch Northern Corridor (approx surface area 1600 sqm) is currently almost completely covered with Azolla rubra.

  203. Kia ora Ruby.

    Thank you very much for this blog post that gives us an in depth account of your festival. Nga mihi nui.
    When Richard Nunns was alive, I think he did have festivals and performances on marae- particularly when he reclaimed instruments from museums and reunited them with their iwi. Richard named all his instruments as people, who were included on his passport.
    For readers/listeners/musicians coming to this mahi new, it is good to give full acknowledgement to Richard and the pioneers he worked with, in the post’s opening. This will help us all to realise what a debt of aroha and tenacity we owe him and his team.
    I will leave this task in your capable hands and look forward to more of this work happening in the community.

  204. After a little more reflection I took note of the discussion of “how we integrate multiple perspectives, disciplines and approaches” while “Whakarūaumoko | Active Land” was presented in purely geological terms where the land is ‘active’ only in the geological sphere. This is a very traditional and essentialist view of the Earth, where geological process mold and create our world while the animals and plants are just passive inhabitants dispersing about here and there over the geological surface. This contrasts with the panbiogeographic research discipline where earth and life evolve together – not as separate spheres of existence. That is why animal and plant distributions track or correlate with Earth’s tectonic structure, both within New Zealand and globally. By linking complex mātauranga with geology only seems to suggest that Māori knowledge and understanding is to be tied to the essentialist doctrines that impose a separation between earth and life that fragments the evolutionary landscape (a procedure formalized under Imperial Roman administration). Why on earth (no pun intended), would Te Papa subordinate mātauranga to isolation and division rather than the biologically and geologically integrated ‘Active Land’ concept of panbiogeography? This is not posed here as a rhetorical question.

  205. Slight typo in previous posting. Please use the following:

    One aspect that has yet to be exploited by traditional science is the interconnectedness of place. which I understand is an important concept in Maori tradition. But through the science of panbiogeography places are interconnected by a shared history of geology and biology and this interconnection is empirically visible in the form of correlated patterns of distribution and tectonics. That should be the starting point rather than something to be ignored (or even openly suppressed as a secret panel of the Royal Society has recently determined is ethically acceptable). And when it comes to geology we may owe the existence of New Zealand more to the origin of the Hikurangi plateau than just miscellaneous earthquakes and volcanoes.

  206. Fascinating, thanks for sharing.

  207. Thanks, I’m looking forward to the next blog.

  208. Wait right now I’m in bed and a big ish white tale ran across my finger and if your saying that they put there webbing on there prey then bite does that mean it was going to attack me because i had some webbing across my hand

  209. Several of my Ancestors were living at the Cape Colony before migrating to New Zealand ,along with Approx. 360 others .I wonder if any of those objects were taken to NZ with my Ancestors? It’s not the only connection our family has with South Africa, a cousin Founded the SACP,which morphed into the ANC over time.

  210. A great engaging perspective Caitlin, well done Te Papa for highlighting often forgotten undervalued collection / species

  211. I love nature in all its forms, but I must admit to having been bored to the back teeth when among some fellow homo sapiens!

  212. I beg to (seriously) differ that the Grey-faced petrel is a “most boring creature”. It is endemic to New Zealand (breeding nowhere else), a member of the globally threatened gadfly petrels, the most oceanic of seabirds (roaming farthest offshore), all superlative fliers, the stormier the better. One breeding bird tracked from the Aldermen Islands travelled 15,830km in a single 37day foraging trip, ranging up to 2,587km from its nest. They find their burrow among sometimes thousands on the forest floor in pitch darkness, guided when near the nest by their excellent sense of smell, not that common in birds. And they are drab brown for a reason. Gadfly petrels are rather shy, and thus far down the bullying scale when having to fend off competitors. So as there is nowhere to hide on the sea surface once having located some dead squid or other, the only defense for a shy creature is to wear a camo suit. And the hardest sitting birds to spot on a blue sea surface (grey-faced forage mostly over southern subtropical seas) are definitely brown ones. I speak with some experience here, having counted birds from ships in the Southern Ocean for years. I hope I have convinced you to have this case of “boring creature” dismissed – and in defense of the others, I have yet to come across a so-called boring creature once I have enough information on its life history. Greetings!

    1. Totally agree.

  213. Very nicely put!

  214. I tried to kill one but missed do they come after you

    1. yes. beware.

  215. A few years back I was working as a laborer for a builder. We were renovating a batch. I got bitten by a white tail . The next day i had what looked like a pimple on my right ring finger…I popped it squeezing out the puss….the next day it was back and three times the size…long story short…had to get my finger lanced three times by doctors…the flesh around my bone had all but dissapeared I could see my bone in my finger….the smell was horrible and my hand was twice the size of my other hand from swelling….so…if it wasn’t the venom of the spider that caused all that…what kind of bacteria eats away flesh and muscle?…

  216. How can I purchase a copy of this book?

  217. Hello from Australia, Are you able to put me in touch with Adam Clarke, please – I seek permission to use reproduce an image of his for an educational sign.

  218. This is awesome, I asked the question as a curious young child growing up comparing my two cultures (Samoan and Tokelauan). I was told that to understand the patterns one must understand the value and roll the individual plays in the community. Like the Samoans, only certain people are allowed to bare certain marks as a right of passage or inheritance. For example, a king has different markings to that on a healer. A tautai has different markings to that on a tapapa. We had patterns such as the turtle is a well known one as well as the shark tooth. We had the shark jaw, the barb of the sting ray, the oar, the tooth of the barracuda as well as many more. On a Figo you will find the marks of the kuku tofi, the different patterns of the moegas as well as the different sea shells used in their line of work. More or less like a visual representation of their skill level and knowledge. That’s a small and brief input in hoping that I was able to help


  219. Kia Ora my name is candi am enquiring about my GGG grandmother as I have been told after Potatau te wherowhero killed her partner at Te Rauparaha’s PA at Hikuparea in Kawhia Moana I have been told after a war with Tainui tribe against Ngati TOA apparently my GGG Grandmother made the smoke signal high up to Te Mahoe Ngati Toa’s Last Pa her name is either Riria te horenga, or Riria, or One of her husbands called her riria Kawharu she is also Ngati KOATA Ngati Whakaue and 2nd or 3rd hubby to NGAONE KERAPA I’ve been told she left with her whanau Te Rauparaha and set of to Capiti or Kapiti Island I am trying so hard to find any info be Appriciated 4th year Journey of My Whakapapa sorry for the novel

  220. When it is stated that “island lineages whose original colonizers have sister groups with many species, that had already undergone polyploidization after diverging from their sister group, and that showed increasing ploidy levels over time, had more endemic island species.” one might ask what is the nature of this ‘colonization’? This is answered to some extent in the paper cited by Meudt et al 2021 “Polyploidy on Islands” and some comments are offered below:

    “Island biotas are generally the net outcome of immigration (dispersal and establishment), local diversification, and extinction (Carlquist, 1974), and these processes are known to be influenced
    by specifics of the island, such as age, area, distance from nearest potential source floras”.

    This is a truism that is applicable also to habitats within continents for example. What is missing is the historical geological context for the origins and ‘arrival’ of ‘island’ biotas. For some reason the tectonic history of islands is left out in this chance dispersal model of ‘island biogeography’.

    “For lineages with dated phylogenies, we extracted the mean time of their divergence from both sister lineages and their most recent common ancestor”

    I might have missed it, but I did not see any reference to how the phylogenies were dated. If these dates used fossil calibrations then all of them are minimum age estimates only, and they cannot impose an upper age limit.

    “The Hawaiian Islands are the island system farthest away from a continent, and thus its genera are mostly considered to have colonized the island system only once”

    This is rather selective citation. While its general are “mostly’ considered to have colonized the island system (from the mainland), this is not the only model. Fore example, Heads (2012 et.) provided extensive evidence for a vicariance origin for the Hawaiian island biota and metapopulation survival in the region. The current geographic isolation of Hawaii shows little relation to its biotic composition or origin. In science its not the majority view that makes science, but the manner of evidence.

    Galapagos flora “like its fauna, is considered to be derived from South America”.

    Well, that depends on who you refer to. Heads & Grehan (2021) provided extensive tectonic and biogeographic evidence to support a vicariance origin for endemic Galapagos plants and animals. How this paper was overlooked is quite a surprise (and also seeming to also overlook the vicariance biogeography of the Canary Islands).

    “Our comparative study was limited to data that were available for the island systems under study and
    we were surprised that some of these “classic” island systems remain poorly known chromosomally and phylogenetically, especially the Galápagos.”

    But they are well enough known for some plants and animals to provide excellent examples of tectonic correlation that are consistent with a vicariance origin for the Galapagos biota involving former island arcs in the eastern Pacific.

    “Because island radiations are often young and/or rapid on an evolutionary timescale”

    This may be often said, but ‘island’ radiations may in fact often be ‘old’, at least as old as the tectonic events involved in the geological history of these islands.

    “Newer methodologies that take advantage of next-generation sequencing methods should be helpful in this regard”

    Technical or technological advances are not the same as conceptual advances. All the ‘next-generation’ (its always the ‘next-generation’) technical innovations in the world may not matter if they are mired in conceptually inadequate biogeographic models.

  221. My son was bitten by a white tail while working in the bush. Next thing he knew he woke up in hospital 2 days later. He stayed in hospital for over a week on IV antibiotics.
    Another friend is allergic to them and is often bitten by them. She has found them in her bed. She ends up with boils where the spider has bitten.

  222. Hi Leon, thanks I always enjoy reading the work you and the botany team are achieving in Te Papa. Have you and the team considered building a Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/) module on ferns or other NZ endemic species? It might be a great way to increase the reach for you, your team and Te Papa? Also, there is only a few botany focused courses in Coursera, so would be a great way to break through some ‘plant blindness’. Thanks again and all the best.

    1. Kia ora. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll look into Coursea.
      In the meantime, I regularly teach in-person about fern identification, and am happy to do that to groups around the country. I’m working on a photo guide to New Zealand ferns and lycophytes. The lycophyte section is available here: https://www.tepapa.govt.nz/discover-collections/read-watch-play/ferns-and-lycophytes/guide-lycopodiaceae-new-zealand And I’ve drafts for tree ferns, the Blechnaceae, and Pteridaceae that I can send to anyone interested. The filmy ferns are next on my ‘to-do’ list.
      For a general overview of Aotearoa’s ferns, this presentation I gave recently to the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne may be of interest: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vcZWDctD6eqpjnaqo2dOBOIXsUCBCekh/view

  223. Great work Leon. It’s clear you’ve put a lot of time into this.

    1. thanks David.

  224. The high elevation occurrence of M. saruwagedica in New Guinea would seem to be a classic case of differentiation by tectonic uplift, as documented for many other plants and animals in the region (including ‘mangroves’ on mountain tops). The lowland coastal habitat of dysis vs brockiei at higher elevations in the ranges of Kahurangi National Park may well also represent differentiation by tectonic uplift, as documented for innumerable other plants and animals in New Zealand. Tectonics is one of the prime movers of evolution in New Zealand.

  225. Hello Julia,
    During the last two springs and summers I have taken photos of areas at Muriwai, Auckland where there are hundreds and possibly thousands of native bee nest mounds. I have been assured that I correctly identified the soil and sand mounds as bee diggings. Until last week I had not seen any of the bees. I came across much native bee activity amongst and over the debirs under a Norfolk pine tree about 200m from one group of the mounds I was able to photograph some of the bees and surprisingly some of the shots are quite good (they were taken with a camera and not my phone. I would like to email some of the photos to you for comment, to identify the bees and perhaps answer a few questions,
    Thank you,
    Graham Lowther gklowther@xtra.co.nz
    09 416 7019

  226. Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

  227. Very interesting and beautiful work, thanks.

  228. I put a white tail in a container and I think it exploded some weird orange stuff

  229. Perhaps the male and female huia had different beaks, because they evolved different beaks, and this had different functional consequences. If one tries to ‘explain’ the origin of structure in terms of functions that cannot exist without the structure in the first place, one ends up with teleological non-science. That is the danger here.

  230. Thanks, interesting stuff. Nearly time for the cicadas again, an annual treat!

  231. Wonderful cultural treasures! I can’t wait for more and more of images of past times to understand how it was then in NZ.

  232. I saw a shell today on my walk and was very excited.

  233. Very interesting. Presumably its currents that bring them to NZ shores rather than the animals that eat them?

    1. Indeed. The cuttlebones likely reach NZ via the East Australian Current and the Tasman Front.

  234. Love collage!! I do it, but never hear anything about it !!

  235. Fascinating, what would budgies have done without cuttlefish

  236. This is informative, Thanks for sharing! Tattoos have come a long way. Now there are so many tattoo designs that looks good in different body parts. For me chest tattoos for women under breast is the best. Check out: https://wannabeink.com/collections/under-breast

  237. Amazing! The little buggers are everywhere. I love the close up photos, it’s good to know what your enemy looks like. I really hate the little blighters.

  238. Whomsoever claims that White Tail bites aren’t venomous, I believe, has a bias in that they do not want to see these sneaky biters labeled “poisonous”.

    I was a beekeeper for some years, I received my share of stings and I know venom when I am bitten. In my 9 years in my current home I’ve now had at least 50. It’s a modern home, I use no poisons and I get paid for it in bites that aren’t felt at the time then, they turn itchy, then swell, then blister and persist for over a week. I am considering starting “World War White Tail”…..really….I feed bees. THEY don’t sting me. I sit down at my own deck table and out they come. You folks need to review and revise what you’re advising people because the White Tails are persistent, silent, sneaky and aggressive when no provocation has been made toward them. My take on them? They territorial….let them buy their OWN deck furniture….

  239. We use it as medicine here for gyastric problem

  240. Interesting!

  241. Would you be able to tell me please, I have a black velvet textile Souvenir from Egypt reading Onward 1941 and would like to know what I can do with it in terms of displaying and preserving. Is this a valuable piece.
    Thanking you
    Shelley Double

    1. Kia ora Shelley thanks for your questions, I’ll email you with some of my thoughts. Also, the New Zealand Conservators of Cultural Materials website is a good place to go to find a professional in your area: https://www.nzccm.org.nz/

  242. I lived on Stephens Island for nearly 10 years, the Schroder family, we use to call the fairy prions “Dovies”, felt sorry for them when it was foggy as they use to fly straight into the lighthouse beams and crash into the light. Good luck with your transfer.

    1. Thanks very much for these comments Ann.

      Fairy prions used to be known as dove-petrels, which is where ‘dovie’ comes from.

      I was on Mana Island last week and am delighted to report that 12 birds from the 2015 & 2016 translocations are among the 30 adult fairy prions currently caring for 15 eggs out there (each pair lays one egg per year). This is a big increase on last year’s record of 9 eggs.

      Ngā mihi nui

  243. The white tail is my fav

  244. What a wonderful text about Peter Peryer.

    1. Thanks Ron.

  245. Nga mihi nu nui Kia koutou katoa Mangai tautoko AE

  246. Very interesting. It would be great to see what aute made from houhere looked like and interesting to know what sort of articles were made from this fabric. I’m looking forward to the results.

  247. Lovely piece Rebecca

  248. I remember bucket loads of snails being destroyed or thrown over the fence from my parents’ garden. But I’ve become a softy and hate the crunch of them when I walk about at night. I read The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by E T Bailey. In my garden I do nothing about them but the blackbirds do. Mind you I’m not a serious gardener.

  249. Interesting and makes me feel ever so slightly guilty, having just destroyed hundreds of these invaders. They are very partial to kakabeak and killed most of a large planting, aided by rabbits. An observation that may be of value is that they seem to find the inner glaze of the popular cardboard plant guards to their taste and they shelter inside between meals. I’ve dealt with cup to 40 at a time from these refuges.

  250. Hi,
    I need alive Hagfish or its slime for some research work purposes.
    I am from New Delhi, India.
    I tried a lot but not found the Hagfish.
    I will be grateful if you can help me out to get the alive hagfish.
    Mukesh Yadav.
    Contact number +91 9868581494

  251. Thanks for an excellent article. We must do our best to protect our current bird life.

  252. How awesome thank you for sharing.

  253. Dr Catherine Churchman from Vic Uni, just a walk away from little penang is compiling a dictiinary on penang hokkien. That would be a good follow up to this article and questions about restoration and preservation of the language

  254. Please note that Shustak called himself Larence, not Laurence, when he moved to New Zealand.

    1. Thanks for that Stuart. I did know, but slipped up. Have corrected.

  255. Great article. It’s important that we keep building a specimen record of the continuing expansion of weeds in to wild NZ. I like that your plant presses get priority access to your heater. 🙂

  256. how much is a unsent nz 1960 Rembrandt nativity christmas 2d stamp worth or a 1d postage philatelie health 1/2 d princess stamp worth unsent

    1. Unsent presumably means mint. The answer in both cases is very little. Christmas stamps were printed in large quantities, as were health stamps from the late 1930s.

  257. cool article – thank you for sharing

  258. The Elderly man, circa 1890-1915, Blenheim, by William Macey. Purchased 2015. Te Papa (O.043091) might be Henry B Botham.

  259. Great work! I noticed a brass mister in the photo. Perhaps copper or zinc getting into the water contributed to the death if dinner is the larvae? Good luck for the next experiment!

    1. Good spotting. Yes, all the material used in the artificial glow-worm enclosure could be crucial to their survival. The brass spray can was all I had at home during lockdown 2020. Now, the larvae are in the lab – all in their own containers with natural clay and aged tap water.
      Their survival rate is pretty good.

  260. That was very interesting, thank you.

  261. Great article Julia, thank you.
    A question- I don’t suppose you know if there are glow worms on Rakiura? I lived there a few years and never saw them in the places I would have expected to.

    1. Great question. I am not aware of any glow-worm populations on Stewart Island, but would love to hear otherwise. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information of Diptera (flies) from over there. But its very likely that species, to be found on main land, are not abundant on the island, and vice versa. They do have a glowing fungus though :-).

  262. What happened to the Theatre Royal Hotel?

  263. I see this threads pretty old however I’ll ask anyhow.
    I’ve long wondered about theses trees and my question is have the trees just simply been the result of discarded seeds rather than deliberate planting?
    Further to that are there other species also likely to have been carried by travelers appearing in unexpected locations along known routes of travel?
    I see in modern times wherever people go the weeds follow, humans are annoying like that.

    1. Thanks for your comment Dwayne. That is an interesting idea but given that the seeds were the part that was eaten it seems unlikely that southern karaka trees result from discarded seeds (unlike an apple were the fruit is eaten but the seeds in the core discarded). Also the observation that in some groves the trees are in rows further suggests deliberate planting.

      Yes there are many other species that seem to have been moved. Deliberate movements of plants include flax/harakeke and rengarenga. Accidental movements are likely to include plants like hook grass and bidibid, whose seeds can hitch a ride.

  264. Thanks very much for another really interesting Te Papa blog. Good luck with Hamilton’s collection.

  265. I really like this blog,please write some more!

  266. A native we don’t like? Like spur-winged plovers.

    A wind-blown native we like? Orchids.

    1. Kia ora Robert.
      Lomatia fraseri is native to mainland Australia. It is not native to New Zealand. But it has been introduced to New Zealand and cultivated here, presumably as an ornamental.
      It’s estimated that some 20000-30000 exotic plant species are cultivated in New Zealand (compared with c. 2500 native vascular plant species). Exotic plants originally cultivated in New Zealand are steadily becoming naturalised (i.e., going weedy) here – Lomatia fraseri is another one of these.
      Ngā mihi, Leon

  267. A large part of the problem is, I think, that there is a very limited number of people who have an interest in and knowledge of weed species. This means that early and potentially controllable infestations are missed with the result that large sums of money are spent on well established infestations. Such efforts are often futile. There is no easy solution.

    1. Kia ora Mike,
      I agree about the lack of interest/knowledge. Which is why MPI’s strategy of relying on public surveillance seems ambitious/misguided. The solutions aren’t easy, but maybe involve greater active surveillance by biosecurity agencies and greater education for the public about identifying/recognising biodiversity. As you know, iNaturalist can play a part in both of these, but maybe more so the latter.
      Kind regards, Leon

  268. Manea ti kai Thankyou maata

  269. I am wondering, I have been told by multiple people that have had spider bites that when you recieve a bite from a white tail spider that you can tell it was a white tail because when the bite area is squeezed they have pulled what they say is “spider thread”, from the two puncture holes and they believe that a white tail has bitten them. I have been bitten a few times and have had severe reactions due to a very sensitive skin condition I have but have never seen “threads”. Is this “spider thread” a thing?? Or ??

  270. Hi everyone, we used to cook the leaves of the black nightshade since i was a kid in the Mountain Province of Benguet Philippines. We call it “amte” in our dialect. Lots of them grow almost everywhere in Benguet and people often eat them with their soup, meat, legumes and fish. Before you can just harvest them everywhere, lately i can see them being sold at the markets. This plant also grows somewhere in the Southern region particulary in North Cotabao and they add these weeds on their legume soups or just saute it with salt and garlic. I went here in Spain to work and i also find black nightshades here during late spring and the whole summertime. I happily forage some with my friends and saute them with salt and garlic

  271. So does that mean Pakeha is also Samoan people, Asian people and India people? And dosen’t strictly mean white European people?

    1. This is just one interpretation of the word. If you primarily focus on the semantics, then you could supposedly refer it to anyone migrated to Aotearoa. Since it’s social usage often means “white person,” you might have to clarify how you decide to use it.

    2. Probably not. Is quite specific at the beginning of the article that pakeha refers to fair-skinned people, primarily those who came on the ships with their fair skin.

  272. Hello, I am his great great great great grandson and we have quite literally no photographs of him anywhere and questioned his existence for a while. I have his brother and his father but not himself

    1. Thanks very much for making contact about this Conor.

      I am sorry to hear that family members also do not have any photographs of Hugh Pollen.

      Ngā mihi nui

  273. Hi, I was wondering if baby white tails can bite/break the skin.
    Over the past few mornings I have woken up with very itchy red swollen bites on my body and on searching the bed all I could find was a baby white tail walking across my pillow

  274. Good story

  275. I would further note that the entire title of your blog “Is the genetic integrity of the world’s rarest kiwi at risk from hybridisation?” is laden with the notion of racial purity as applied to species. Genetic integrity? There is no such thing. Otherwise species could not evolve. Is the ‘genetic integrity’ of humans under threat every time a virus inserts its DNA into us (to now become part of what we are)?

    You appear to be presenting an essentialist notion of species, which ironically is an anti-evolutionary perspective (essences cannot evolve, otherwise they are not essences). And clearly you pose hybridization as a ‘threat’ to purity. It dismays me to think that this kind of ideology of purity and hybrid threat remains ingrained in species conservation ‘science’.

    Tobin was seen to be such a threat to species purity that he was executed by DoC. No trial, no defense, just the expendable detritus of ideology. Just as so many human ‘hybrids’ have been treated by xenophobes. Its seems clear to me that you have a very troubling kind of ‘science’ that appears to be more in tune with certain racial ideologies than grounded science. Particularly ironic for a museum with the hybrid name ‘Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa’. Has the museum now lost its ‘genetic integrity’?

  276. Thank you for that acknowledgement, but still the issue is one of supposed genetic purity of species. Translocation of hybrids for example, is just an alternative to killing them to preserve that supposed genetic purity (an equivalent approach used by humans has been forced transportation and use of concentration camps). As I said, the reference to maintaining genetic purity of species (and even subgroups of species) is extremely troubling as it has no scientific basis. It is concept derived from other unfortunate ideologies.

  277. I find this emphasis on genetic purity of species to be highly troubling. There is nothing in science that says that species have to be pure, any more than the Nazi ideology of racial purity. And what about all those of mixed Maori and European descent? Are they impure hybrids? DoC has a troubling record on its obsession with genetic purity, having gone so far to execute hybrids. Even after naming one of them. Horrible reminder of human history.

    1. Thanks for your comment John. I’ve worked on plenty of NZ taxa where hybridisation and introgression is natural. But in this case, DOC wanted to know what they were conserving – if there had been a few hybrids, they might have managed them differently (as already suggested by the translocation of putative hybrids). On the other hand, if ‘hybrids’ were found to be common, that might have put a different perspective on what rowi actually is.

  278. This is amazing. I visited Samoa with my partner (samoan) and my daughter in 2018 and decided I wanted to bring home with me souvenir ink. We researched and found this page and I now have a taulima hand tattoo with drops of inspiration from this article.

  279. I was recently watching a kererū busily dining on karaka berries in a tree growing in a bay in the Marlborough sounds when it suddenly occurred to me that it is possible… even likely?… that more so than planting karaka trees near pā and kāinga to have a nearby source of berries for human consumption it could be to attract pigeons for easy capture and eating. Regards Jan Worrall.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jan, I have heard this suggested before and it makes sense to me.

  280. Hi, I’m trying to get in touch with Tim. Can you please pass my details onto him? Thank you

  281. Can confirm that you are right with one of your predictions about why East Cape rengarenga was moved around the country Lara. I have tried several strains of rengarenga from around the North Island and none are as sweet tasting as the rengarenga from here. Delicious roasted.

    1. Fascinating, thanks Graeme!

  282. So pleased to know that this kind of ‘mahi’ is possible in NZ – I was part of the DSIR 40-50 years ago and it was ‘normal – what we did – but rationalization happened…worse here in Australia.

    1. Kia ora John,
      Thanks so much for reading the blog, and for submitting your comment. We are fortunate that field work and collaboration with iwi are both valued components of our research here at the museum and elsewhere in NZ. I hope other people and institutions will see the positive experiences we have had, and in future there will be more examples of this mahi in NZ and abroad.

  283. wow amazing, just yesterday I discovered a lovely book with plates drawn by a lovely lady Matilda Smith from Kew gardens who was commissioned to draw the NZ flora. There were a few depicting myosotis but in particular myosotis monroi, also collected from Dun Mountain around 1854. so lovely to see people passionate from ages ago, and how their work is still being built on nearly 170yrs later.

    1. Kia ora Coral,
      Thank you so much for your comment. Like you, I am also a huge fan of botanical illustrations, both old and new. In fact, I included two of Matilda Smith’s plates, including the one you mentioned of M. monroi, in my latest publication on Myosotis this year! (The paper can be seen here but you may not have access to it: https://www.publish.csiro.au/SB/SB20028. I’ve just sent you a pdf to your email so you can see it.) Matilda Smith’s illustrations are incredibly detailed and still very relevant today. I’ve also had the pleasure to work with the amazing illustrator Bobbi Angell, who has done several botanical illustrations for some of my previous papers. You can see some of them here: https://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/topic/3669 but I just realized I don’t have her most recent Myosotis illustrations up on that site, so I will get that updated! Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  284. I vote for coprosma grandifolia. There is no problem currently with c.grandifolia, it is not close to another name leading to confusion between species, it is not based on a mistaken description (it has the biggest leaf of the coprosmas). The whole thing has more than a whiff of ego and self indulgence. The fact that Wikipedia and NZ Plant Network have been changed is particularly annoying. Wikipedia is understandable, but the NZ Plant Conservation Network claims to be grounded in science, and it has ignored the correct process for considering formal scientific name changes … to engage in some cheap point scoring.

  285. Wow! Good work, team. I will never forget them now

    1. Thank you, Stuart! This field trip was challenging in some ways, but we also really enjoyed it. I’m glad you are a new forget-me-not fan – thanks for reading and commenting.

  286. Update – I’d submitted the above photos of the old man’s beard on the steep banks through the WCC fixit app and requested removal since the sites are too steep for private individuals to access. Someone came to have a look but said they won’t do anything about it because of the location (presumably too steep for them too?)

  287. My name is Jonia Areieta, my father’s mother’s name is Tekina Iva Pedro Holt and her father’s name is Edwin Pedro who is the son of Kima Pedro. Kima Pedro is the son of Selepa (the 3rd wife of John Hose Pedro). Many of the offsprings of Selepa and John Jose Pedro reside all over the pacific islands, I am currently living on Guam with my family together with our grandmother (Tekina Pedro).

  288. Te Ahumairangi ecological restoration are working hard to pull out and cut down as much OMB as volunteers can manage on the hill behind the city. Even though it’s a Significant natural areas (SNA), and on council land, there is not enough funding to help remove the sections of OMB that are not in reach or ability for volunteers to remove.

    Unfortunately, there are large ancient plantations of the stuff, which have huge stumps requiring a chainsaw (not permitted activity by volunteers). Add to that re-invasion by surrounding private (and public!) properties.

    On a good note, we do notice that along the main pathways, the general public pull out what OMB seedings they see. We called it ghost weeding;, a remarkable Wellingtonian mindset and skill. The fact a large proportion of our population can identify and remove weeds whilst out on their daily walk means we never lose hope! More hands make light work.

    WCC help on the heavy duty stuff is urgently needed

    There’s even a clump on the steep slope behind the prime ministers residence …

    1. Ghost weeding – I love it!

  289. I was horrified to see a huge clump of it seeding just down the road from Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush! It’s so much worse all over Wellington than it has been in years. After WCC spent so much time and money for so many years to control it, to now have it back out of control is heartbreaking.

  290. Old Man’s Beard is having a bumper season here in Brooklyn. It’s heartbreaking to see it taking over native vegetation all along the road to the south coast, on both reserve land and private. For years I would call the council about relatively minor stands of it hoping they would control it or pressure landowners to. Council kept saying it was no longer their responsibility and I should talk to the owners of particular properties if it bothered me. This never went well. Now those small sites have spread seeds far and wide and it’s only going to get worse.

    1. Having identified the “interloper” on my property, I remember the Council sent a letter telling me to clear it off my section or there would be consequences…cannot remember what that meant! We did get rid of it despite it being clearly in evidence on the the neighbour’s property but nothing was done about it. Seems like rules do not apply on an even basis. I cannot see any on my land now but it is definitely on the properties near me, and taking over on the verges of the street. All the trees in Kainui Road need a good trim vis a vis leaves all over the road and blocking the drains. I phoned the Council some months ago and asked for some remedial work…..nothing has happened to date. And we wonder why Wellington suburbs are looking so neglected!

  291. It is very much in evidence in Kainui Road, Hataitai. I removed it from my property some years ago but it is clearly visible on my neighbours’ properties, and in the trees on our street.

    1. Thanks Lesley, I’m further up Mt Vic from you and its everywhere up here too. And the hillsides are so steep around here it is going to be hard to control.

  292. There was Old Man’s Beard in the road reserve on our street. the Council weren’t interested but we had help from the Council nursey in replanting the area. We did the clearning, the Council took away all the unwanted weeds and plants with the co-operation of the nursey which provided the new natives.

    1. Well done Alison for getting it cleaned up and good to hear the council was supportive with removing cleared weeds and providing natives.

  293. Please dont call it Old Mans Beard. I’m an old man. I have a beard. It looks absolutely nothing like this blog weed. It is in the nature of beards that they keep growing back…cutting them off at the root has only a temporary effect, that’s why we invented electric shavers. I lived in Hawaii for some time and they have a plant there that is also commonly known as old mans beard…it really looks like a very long beard…lives off air and humidity and requires no pruning or feeding…people drape it over anything such as their pipe and chain link road boundary fence…it eventually hangs to the ground and beautifies the ugly fence with silver grey drapes of fine thread. It doesn’t spread unless you want it to. https://steemitimages.com/640×0/https://cdn.steemitimages.com/DQmWiDX59NYUuubvaPSbTqKq5UFAcdAecNHwbAXZDunBhfs/image.png

    1. Good point Phil – funnily enough it was known as ‘traveller’s joy’ in New Zealand until its weediness was discovered and it was changed to old man’s beard ‘to remove any
      positive connotations in its public perception.’ Traveller’s curse might have been a better option.

  294. There is old man’s beard (as well as a number of other pest plants) establishing and seeding in the WCC planting along Waterloo Quay. This is WCC roadside planting – so WCC is solely responsible for these areas. Was rather disappointed to see it there.

  295. As ever, tonally perfect, Gareth. Never stop. With warm love, Matthew O’Reilly

  296. they found one of its relatives recently

  297. Great blog. Thanks for the comments incl on the photos. Note however that the New Zealand grass skink (Oligosoma polychroma) in the “Amazing photography” section was located and posted to iNaturalist by @kiwihunter but the photo is by LF who was passing – @kiwihunter didn’t have a camera in hand (as noted on the iNaturalist obs).

    1. Thank you for bringing this to our attention kiwihunter42 – it has now been corrected. And please congratulate LF on their fantastic photo!

  298. I just assumed that she was leaning on the bench listening to the radio and that he was doing the same from the seated position. I took that yellow item behind her as a radio. Did Sickert specifically rule this out with his description of the scene?

    1. No Hilary, this would be about 15 years too early – radio technology didn’t exist at the time! The yellowish object is probably some kind of ornamental box for trinkets.

  299. I am a mineybiolagest and this is really cool

  300. I have a souvenir badge of King GeorgeV1-Queen Elizabeth 1937 coronation

  301. Hi Leon,
    To your second posting: “our scenarios seem unlikely because it is very doubtful that these ferns are as old as you suggest.”

    It’s not doubtful for me.

    “I’ve seen molecular dating that suggests the family may be c. 190 million years (Testo & Sundue2016, Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution), but others have suggested it is much more recent.”

    If these are fossil calibrated ages then they are minimum ages

    “With your vicariant Gondwanan scenario, a massive amount of evolutionary change has to be compressed into the time between the family’s origin and the break-up of the relevant parts of Gondwana, AND molecular (and morphological) evolution then has to slow dramatically, in parallel across multiple lineages.”

    Or it means that rates of evolution do actually vary over time within a lineage.

    “Or it means the family is actually much older, which would push older the origins of ferns and landplants themselves. Either would be extraordinary.”

    Perhaps, but varying rates of evolution would be the alternative possibility.

    “ ferns are well-known for being able to colonise even remote oceanic islands.”

    Many other organisms also colonise ‘remote’ oceanic islands. The key issue is under what circumstances this’ colonization’ took place. There is even evidence for colonization through vicariance for the biota of the Galapagos (Heads & Grehan2021).

    “What are the other species found only on the Poor Knights and the Chathams?”

    Reads Heads (2017) and also recent articles in the newsletters of the Otago Bot Soc and NZ Entomological Society. You need to be fully informed about biogeographic patterns in NZ and the region at the very least – regardless of your explanatory preference.

    “The proposed sequential colonisation of volcanic islands in the area of the Chathams since the Mesozoic presumably would have entailed many dispersals across short stretches of water. When does that begin to blur into accepting occasional dispersals across medium-distances of water, or rare dispersals across long distances? Or is there an arbitrary distance that has to be considered impossible?”

    No, of course not. The issue at hand is the nature of allopatry and tectonic correlation. The allopatry of Chatham Islands endemics is consistent with sequential dispersal being local rather than involving the mainland of NZ or other regions where sister taxa occur (e.g. for Gallirallus birds where the Chathams sister group extends between NZ and Taiwan).

  302. Hi Leon,

    Somehow I was never notified of your comments, only brought to my attention now. Some comments below

    “I personally found parts of it incoherent, and many of its conclusions dubious.”

    Would have to have specifics to comment.

    “For me, the main problem is that panbiogeography seemingly has no way of testing whether a disjunction might be due to long-distance dispersal or vicariance.”

    This idea of ‘testing’ is often seen as some kind of ultimate authority that discerns one from the other. This is problematic as it first presupposes that allopatry can be the result of chance dispersal (panbiogeography accepts ecological dispersal as an emperical phenomenon) and that it is somehow possible to identify that process in given distributions and taxa. Ironically, you seem to have overlooked Craw’s (1987 [or 88] paper showiong how clique analysis could provide evidence of one or the other].

    “Rather, in effect it dismisses the possibility of long-distance dispersal”

    That boggles the mind. There are plenty examples of long distance dispersal of species in all sorts of taxa.

    “forced to adopt a vicariant explanation”

    no one is forced to adopt anything.

    “which often have to be relatively ancient to fit with known geological history (as is the case where connections between New Zealand and elsewhere are involved).”

    What is the emperical problem with that?

    “I’ve learnt to be wary of those who dogmatically attribute pretty much everything to the distant past, as if nothing meaningful has happened recently.”

    Sure – but what is ‘distant’ past vis ‘recently? If you read Heads’ (2017) book on NZ biogeography you will see a range of divergence ages for various groups, some more recent that others.

    “From what I understand of evolutionary rates and geological history, I’m very confident that long-distance dispersal does occur, at least rarely, and in at least some groups of organisms.”

    OK but would need precise examples to comment.

    “ think paradigms along the lines of Crisp & Cook (2007, A congruent molecular signature of vicariance across multiple lineages, Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution, 43, 1106-1117) to be more scientifically appropriate for exploring biogeographic patterns.”

    In what way?

    “ Others might find the reviews by Waters et al. (2013, Biogeography off the tracks, Systematic Biology 62: 494-498) and McGlone (2016, Once more into the wilderness of panbiogeography, Australian Systematic Botany, 28: 388-393) of interest. I can email pdfs.”

    you really should read Heads (2015) Panbiogeography, its critics, and the case of the ratite birds. Australian Systematic Botany, 27, 241–256. I assume that by drawing attention to Waters et al you have no problem with their call for editorial censorship.

    “I’d be interested if you could share examples of where panbiogeography has inferred long-distance dispersal as an explanation for a disjunction. Otherwise, it’s unlikely you’ll change my mind about panbiogeography.”

    I’d like to see evidence for chance dispersal as the mechanism for a disjunction. That’s the primary problem for me. With your fern example I pointed out how the pattern was biogeographically congurent with other taxa, and that it was consistent with vicariance. If you have evidence of something else that would be of interest.

    Kind regards,


  303. Matui Baker – stop rewriting our Granny Ngarongoa Mokopurangi-Te Marau Tamati Uncles w’akapapa. One thing we know for sure – there was no way in hell. Did Our Great-Great Grand Uncle Eruini Te Tupe o Tu go to Chatam Islands with your Tipuna Te Rauparaha. Neither was his brothers name Matioro. It was our Great-Great Grandfather Eruini Te Marau who fought against Wi Parata your Tupuna. To ensure his 1st cousin GG Grand Uncle Eruini Tupe o Tu mokopuna got land in the Ngarara NLC Case. Including Karaitiana and his mokopuna Mere and her brother. Their mokopuna speak for themselves. Represented on Ngātiawa CC Trust. Your false history has displaced many of our people from Ngãtiawa Tai Kapiti Ōtaraua Hapu. Subjugation is an insidious method used by pakeha and Maori to try and convince people they are something they are not. Study Walzl report in Waitangi Tribunal WAi 2200 – #193 – p14. Tell the truth, unreal in 2021 this stuff is still being peddled.


    1. I would love to speak to you more about what you no. I am trying to piece together my Whakapapa and have been told that this is my GG Grandfather.

  304. I have a large tapa given to me 40 odd years ago when I visited Tongan family. This was from a 2 year old relatives birthday celebration. The tapa is now perishing. What do Tongans do with old tapa? I am attached to this emotionally, however I do not have space for it. Is there somewhere I can donate if, or how would I repair it?

    1. Hi Carla,
      What a lovely gift! It looks like you might be based in Australia? You may want to seek advice from a museum in your community, as the best preservation advice often requires visual assessment of an item. Museums Victoria has established relationships with the Victorian Pacific Cultural Leaders Advisory Group and might be able to connect you with people who can share culturally-specific experiences of preservation and donation. Best wishes, Anne

    2. Thanks Anne. Yes I am in Australia, Sydney. I really don’t think I can part with my tapa. Yes a fantastic gift and I really would like it repaired. Thanks for your advice. I will see what I can find out.
      Kind regards, Carla

  305. Arseholes!

  306. Interesting to see reference to the Kermadec Storm Petrel. As outlined by Heads(2017), the Kermadecs support quite a number of endemics, including 68 of the 358 mollusk species, five of the 13 echinoderms, three plant species, a coastal fish, and a parakeet. These are good examples of taxa that have inhabited the active Tonga-Kermadec arc ever since its formation by surviving as a metapopulation on the individually ephemeral islands produced along the arc. The Tonga-Kermadec arc is part of the original Pacific arc that has migrated away from the Gondwana (Australia) margin into the Pacific. It is this evolutionary relationship between geology and distribution that makes the biota of these islands scientifically significant rather than a mere birding curiosity.

  307. I see those who have argued for a change have had the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network and Wikipedia make the change already. This seems like really poor manipulation of online sources, to influence the public before the appropriate process through the naming convention body has occurred. Given it is scientists arguing for a change from c.grandifolia to c.autumnalis, the fact they and their supporters are changing websites before the matter has been considered properly, is definitely a case of “bending the rules” and reflects a degree of arrogance. Go through the process and stop trying to manipulate public perception by fiddling with Wikipedia and other sites.

  308. Fascinating – thanks Linda!

  309. Hi i need to identify a spider can you help me?

  310. What does the colors for an awhina wear mean

  311. “Soaping” of geysers was a standard practice up to the time when Schoon did it.

  312. Kia Ora, I ate maybe three to four massive handfuls of the leaves last night with my chicken “moa”. Maori call it Poro and Niueans call it Polo. I’ve eaten this with my mum, Nan and aunty since I was a child. We would cook the leaves with meats, It’s delicious. I beleive when the early UK settlers came to NZ they miss identified it and thought it was deadly NS and most Maori overtime forgot that this was a big part of their diet but all over the world indigenous people eat the berries and the leaves as it grows like a weed in heaps of parts of the world.

  313. Kia ora Peter,
    It’s not that I’m concerned about the Principle of Priority; rather, it is much more that the recommendation of McNeill et al. resonates with me: “indulging in name changes for purely nomenclatural reasons is now reprehensible unless new conservation/rejection avenues have been explored”.
    Scientific names change for many reasons, importantly including when the scientifically-testable understanding of relationships changes. But McNeill et al. seem to be saying that scientific names do not necessarily need to change merely for nomenclatural reasons. I believe this accords with the best interests of general users of scientific names, who seem to generally prefer lower rates of change in scientific names where possible.
    There is little “creative” in what I’ve done; rather, I’ve simply followed McNeill et al.’s recommendation for best practice taxonomy/nomenclature; i.e., the need to change a scientific name for nomenclatural reasons was identified, so I’ve offered a conservation proposal that would mean that change wasn’t required.
    It may be that the committee votes to reject my proposal. That would then seem to be a repudiation of McNeill et al., but so be it – we’ll learn from it. In any case, at least the possibility of name stability would have been explored on behalf of the general users of New Zealand scientific plant names.
    While I like McNeill et al.’s recommendation, I understand that not everyone does – why, for instance, do you disagree with them?

    The zero-sum-game of the Acacia situation seems fundamentally different to me.

    As for Hall’s tōtara, that was before I felt able/compelled to speak on such matters. But if it had been me doing it, and with my present understanding, I would have sought a different outcome. Three scientific names in such a short time did no reputational favours for botanical taxonomy in New Zealand.

  314. Kia ora anō John,
    I am suspecting your suggestions accord with the tenets of panbiogeography. I came across this research paradigm during postgraduate study. I like to think I explored it with an open mind (that was the learning environment), but in among some useful aspects, I personally found parts of it incoherent, and many of its conclusions dubious.

    For me, the main problem is that panbiogeography seemingly has no way of testing whether a disjunction might be due to long-distance dispersal or vicariance. Rather, in effect it dismisses the possibility of long-distance dispersal, and so is forced to adopt a vicariant explanation, which often have to be relatively ancient to fit with known geological history (as is the case where connections between New Zealand and elsewhere are involved). I’ve learnt to be wary of those who dogmatically attribute pretty much everything to the distant past, as if nothing meaningful has happened recently.

    From what I understand of evolutionary rates and geological history, I’m very confident that long-distance dispersal does occur, at least rarely, and in at least some groups of organisms. Consequently, I think paradigms along the lines of Crisp & Cook (2007, A congruent molecular signature of vicariance across multiple lineages, Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution, 43, 1106-1117) to be more scientifically appropriate for exploring biogeographic patterns.

    Panbiogeography was apparently big in New Zealand before my time, but seems to have faded away. Others might find the reviews by Waters et al. (2013, Biogeography off the tracks, Systematic Biology 62: 494-498) and McGlone (2016, Once more into the wilderness of panbiogeography, Australian Systematic Botany, 28: 388-393) of interest. I can email pdfs.

    I’d be interested if you could share examples of where panbiogeography has inferred long-distance dispersal as an explanation for a disjunction. Otherwise, it’s unlikely you’ll change my mind about panbiogeography. Others will be interested in the diversity of opinions, and I’ll be happy to repeat mine about the weaknesses of the panbiogoegraphic approach.

    Crisp & Cook: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1055790307000656

    Waters et al.: https://academic.oup.com/sysbio/article/62/3/494/1653732

    McGlone: https://www.publish.csiro.au/SB/SB15047

  315. Kia ora John,
    Your scenarios seem unlikely because it is very doubtful that these ferns are as old as you suggest. Asplenium alleniae and Asplenium pauperequitum constitute just a tiny fraction of the evolutionary diversity within Aspleniaceae (see Xu et al. 2019, Cladistics). I’ve seen molecular dating that suggests the family may be c. 190 million years (Testo & Sundue 2016, Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution), but others have suggested it is much more recent. With your vicariant Gondwanan scenario, a massive amount of evolutionary change has to be compressed into the time between the family’s origin and the break-up of the relevant parts of Gondwana, AND molecular (and morphological) evolution then has to slow dramatically, in parallel across multiple lineages. Or it means the family is actually much older, which would push older the origins of ferns and land plants themselves. Either would be extraordinary. If you think you have the evidence to support your suggestions, I urge you to write a paper for the peer-reviewed literature, because the implications are enormous. On the other hand, with their tiny, wind-blown spores, ferns are well-known for being able to colonise even remote oceanic islands.

    What are the other species found only on the Poor Knights and the Chathams? Given NZ is home to tens of thousands of species, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few others, and I’d be pleased to know of them. Keep in mind that common ecologies are an explanation additional to shared geological histories for disjunctions that are shared by species.

    The proposed sequential colonisation of volcanic islands in the area of the Chathams since the Mesozoic presumably would have entailed many dispersals across short stretches of water. When does that begin to blur into accepting occasional dispersals across medium-distances of water, or rare dispersals across long distances? Or is there an arbitrary distance that has to be considered impossible?

  316. Why are you hiding and distorting the facts?

    Why do not you write that the golden age of marbling is happening in Turkey and During the period of Suleiman the Magnificent, Ebru (Marbling) artists were given place in the palace and that they were valued so much ?

    Why do not you write that the world’s most famous Ebru artists grown in Turkey?
    Did this art, which came to Iran from Central Asia, came to Europe by itself flying from Iran?

    Why do not you say that the Ottoman state and the official paperwork that used in Marbling (Ebru) and European travelers of the 16th century (eg, George Sandy), they told us they saw in Turkey in the art of marbling books and conceal the truth?

    What is the reason for this jealousy?

    Whether you accept it or deny it by closing your eyes to the facts: Turkish people made the biggest contribution to Marbling (Ebru) art and lived its golden age.

    As an Ebru artist for 19 years, thank you for helping me share the facts. 🙂

    1. Kia ora Onur Y.,
      Thank you for taking the time in reading and feeding back on this blog, it’s appreciated doubly so as you’re a practitioner.

      I wrote from an non-expert, non-scholarly perspective back in 2017. Since that time I have learnt so much more and have evolved my discussions on the topic. (and bored my colleagues silly talking about it)

      But I am still far from an expert! So again I appreciate your comments adding more context to the blog, which since based on the museum’s collections, is very Western centric and lacking in Ebru context.

      I must and look into it more, thanks again for reaching out. Sayenizde çok şey öğrendim!


  317. Hi, whilst playing Golf at the now closed Ohai Golf Course in Central Western Southland (a number of years ago), on a par three along the southern flank of the course, we came across cylindrical columns rising out of the ground, approximately $2 coin diameter accross and approx 5cm high, about four to six of them. These columns were at the grasses edge before it became bare ground by flax bushes and a pine plantation. At the time we thought these were a spiders habitat, we tapped the columns gently a few times but nothing ventured out. The columns themselves were a light to mid brown colour. Were we barking up the wrong tree thinking these were a spiders domain?

  318. Comment on the statement that “Each comprises far-flung populations, suggestive of both habitat specialisation and an ability to disperse long distances” – this does not explain the allopatry of the two species. If it were so easy, why the allopatric differentiation. I suggest that the ability to disperse is an assumption that may not apply in terms of understanding the distribution. if so easy to disperse, then why just Poor Knights and Chathams? And why this particular pattern that is correlated with other animal and plant taxa? The distribution of the two species is consistent with a widespread ancestor along the East Gondwana coastline that was initially disrupted between NZ and NG. The NZ range is no greater than many other species, just noticeably disjunct. The Chathams population could represent persistence since the Mesozoic by sequential colonization of volcanic islands in the area through the Cenozoic.

  319. Great story Leon. I read the paper and see the scales on A. alleniae and A. pauperequitum (drawn in the 1984 paper) look very similar too.

    David Hutchinson.

    1. thanks David.

  320. I have just started reading Te Papa blog and find it very interesting. As a retired nature conservancy officer I’m now using the short summers here in the northernmost Scandinavia for flora registrations,

    Maybe you know Sofia Lund, who has been active in New Zealand some years ago. dealing with grasses and sedges. She has recently become the new red list responsible person in Sweden,

    Yours Mats Nettelbladt, mndt@online.no

    1. Kia ora Mats. Thanks for the interest. I’m afraid I don’t know Sofia, but grasses and sedges are not strong parts of my botany. Kind regards, Leon

  321. The assertion that “Each comprises far-flung populations, suggestive of both habitat specialisation and an ability to disperse long distances” does not explain the allopatry between the two, or that the NZ species links the Poor Knights and the Chathams. The allopatry is consistent with a vicariance origin of a widespread ancestor that ranged between S East Asia and NZ, perhaps along the Gondwana coastline. This would make sense of the allopatry and also the Poor Knights-Chathams connection that is seen in other taxa. The montane distributions in NG and Borneo could be the result of tecotnic uplift while the NZ species has retained its lowland/coastal range, with the Chathams population surviving locally since the Mesozoic by sequential colonization of volcanic islands in the region.

  322. I kindly request please poo le a le mafuaaga o le Faalupega o Vaimoso, my great grandfather is Tiufea and he passed away and I was born in Togafuafua and I was raised in Taufusi

  323. I have 15 white kakabeak and 3 red kakabeak on my property in central north island. I didn’t realise they were endangered so pleased I have chosen to plant these.

  324. I appreciated this article especially to know that invertebrates make up 97% of the life of this planet. We need to protect them, even if we do nto think they are adorable.

  325. So often invertebrates are portrayed as pests we should get rid of, or horrors (spiders!) we should get rid of or as inconsequential and ignorable like moths. I wish we were urged to respect them, or at least to make room for them in our lives, more often.

  326. To be fair to the general public, the majority of invertebrates are too small to be noticed, let alone appreciated.

    I work with activists trying to protect trees in Auckland. Until I started to tell them about it, all they saw were the trees and the birds in them. They readily embraced the fact that a vast biodiverse universe is supported underground and on the tree by every tree. The key was being able to show them photographs of collembola, acari and micro-molluscs too small for them to see unaided. Then explaining their ecosystem roles.

    Now, when they talk about the life supported by a tree, they mention not only the birds but the ‘small, wee things in the ground’.

    A bit of progress.

    1. Great story of successful science communication, Tom! I’m happy to hear to that.
      I should say, however, that in tropical environments where the vast majority of biodiversity is, invertebrates are not so small and invisible. 😉 So we still have a long way to go to protect them all. And the birds too, of course, they are also cool.

  327. This research is long overdue, but it is surprising that a firm conclusion was not reached as to where exactly under the present -day Lake Rotomahana the positions of the 2 sets of terraces are located. With the bathymetry of today’s lakebed achieved by the NZ GNS team applied, surely a definitive result is possible. Or is it that the local iwi will not allow the locations to be known lest there be interference from unscrupulous persons who could dive to the sites to plunder, as per the wreck of the “Titanic”?
    Also surprising is the absence of Keam’s conclusion from his extensive work with photographs to pin down the actual locations once & for all, something he was reluctant to disclose but which apparently gave him absolute assurance that the terraces are not in existence under todays lake level. Was Keam bound to secrecy?
    Another tool which could’ve helped, which this study doesn’t appear to have used is the forwards & backwards movement along a line-of-sight observation to establish exactly on that line where the point was that the photograph was taken from. This would show the outline of the near hills in relationship with the far mtns & hills. By establishing on GPS where along that line-of-sight the point was by recording the near hills outlne at the exact scale as shown in early photos, allowing for depth of ejecta material, this would be a more accurate double-check than just relying on the intersection of another line-of-sight axis. But this would involve further photography at the site, as this consideration doesn’t seem to have been deployed in any of the photo comparison studies anyone has done.
    The use of photos of the 2 sets of terraces would be preferable to just showing Blomfield paintings, but the painting looking across the Pink Terraces to the White in he distance deserves a place. The similar B&W photograph is necessary to show full accuracy. In another ‘rival’ study the use of Hoyte’s highly inaccurate, fictitious paintings is to be deplored. Blomfled was the master, just as Prof Keam used to say.
    This research is much appreciated,even if it hasn’t yet answered the ever-present question of exactly where the magnificent terraces were positioned in the geology of Rotomahana today.

  328. Neither scalpel nor chainsaw but perhaps a well-sharpened chef’s knife?
    I am leery of arguments based on convenience or utility. If it’s right, do it and sorry about having to learn a bunch of different names.
    Remember that the inconvenience is transitory and temporary. Younger botanists don’t know what the fuss about Veronica is about; that’s what they now get taught, and mention of Hebe simply dates the source.
    And the fact that only a few specialists care is, to me, specious. I follow debates on the classification of Collembola, and if you think not many care about Kiokio’s classification, I’m confident your party’s bigger than those who count hairs on the back end of these hexapods.
    Of course let’s have no change for change’s sake … or to justify a PhD or count up more citations.
    But where earlier work just didn’t get it right, e.g. Kunzea, let’s just bite the bullet and do what needs to be done.
    Trouble is, you might not be thanked now, but only by future generations of biologists.

  329. Your fix is an interesting alternative but I wonder why the Principle of Priority seems to be so concerning to you? Here the application of the name Coprosma grandifolia Hook.f. is clearly linked to another type and species. Hooker got it wrong. Colenso’s equally “apt” Coprosma autumnalis Colenso – apt because this is an excellent epithet reflecting that this is New Zealand’s only autumn flowering Coprosma, has an unambiguous type that makes clear what he meant and so the name can be applied with confidence. This seems more logical to me, then to try and argue a way around this in a creative fashion. Just such an idea was attempted by Nicholas Turland when he tried a fictitious story to sort out the problem of the type of Acacia in 2011 and that idea was rightly thrown out by the Botanical Congress of the Nomenclature Sessions – not a subset of that, the specialist group either. It also makes me wonder, why if you regard this Coprosma name change as so damaging you haven’t then for consistencies case proposed a case to conserve Podocarpus hallii Kirk against the earlier names P. cunninghamii Colenso and P. laetus Hooibr. ex Endl.? This name change did annoy people here but a case for conservation has never been made. The rules of the code make sense, conserving a name is one option, and that makes sense to me if the types are correctly applied to the same taxon but not if they are applied to another species altogether. I think Mark Large and David Mabberly made the right decision.

  330. I vote Coprosma grandifolia

  331. Grandifolia!!

  332. Most interesting. Thanks Leon.
    Coprosma kanono perhaps?

  333. Trying to find out about Henry Davis or Hugh Davis. I say ‘or’…This is because he served in the NZEF as Hugh, but was married as Henry. He was admitted to Oatlands with Epilepsy bought on from a Gun shot wound to the head. He ended up marrying Hilda Atkins, in September 1917 while a patient at the hospital. Medically discharged in December 1917 and remained in Surrey in the UK with his wife. If any one has further information on him would be very interested to hear.

    1. I am researching the hospital and those treated there. I will see what I can find out about Henry/Hugh Davis. Do you have his service number?

    2. Hi Graham, I have his military record, his service number is 24/110. In the military he was Hugh Davis born 30 Nov 1894. Post military civil life in the UK he was Henry Cheviot Davis born 30 Nov 1896.

    3. Thanks for the additional information. His service number is very useful as Davis is a fairly common surname and he might be easier to trace in the UK with the middle name Cheviot. I will see what i can find out but it may take some time. Graham

    4. His time from 1915 is relatively clear. Any info you can find on his military career and time in hospital would be great to hear. But actually its his time prior to 1915 which is unclear. He possibly came from Scotland, potentially as a Barnados child sent to the colonies. Its really not clear. He was with a orphanage in Dunedin prior to enlisting that is for sure. And on his wedding paper and his military papers his dad is called Hugh, that and his surname are the only consistents. Personally I have him either as Henry who came from Glasgow and was born in April 1896, or Hugh, who was born in NZ in Oct/Nov 1896, there could be of course any number of other options. But i have not found any Henry or Hugh Davis born in NZ or Scotland on the birthday he believed was his.

  334. Interested in this post as Sarah Womack (nee Gillham) of Gladman & Womack the makers of this gown was the sister of my great x 3 grandfather. I’ve seen the dress in the V&A and it is wonderful. Just a correction though, Mary Littledale (nee Primrose) died in Sheffield, in May 1886 not in India, 1 month after giving birth to their daughter Elsie, who was christened Elsie Mary Primrose in June that year in Gloucestershire. Mary’s husband was in army barracks not far from where I live in Sheffield at the time. Her husband remarried and did return to India with his second wife and their daughters, together with daughter Elsie from his first marriage. And yes, Elsie did die in India aged 18yrs. Tragic story attached to a lovely wedding gown.
    Regards, Kathryn

  335. Hi Christine, Do you still have access to this blog? Would really like a chat

  336. Kia ora!
    What was the latest talley on Sooty Shearwaters on the Snares please?

  337. Hi Shelly – that sounds like a good find. I’d be interested to see a photo (email: alant@tepapa.govt.nz).

  338. Interesting. I found a tooth on the sands at Castle Point. It’s black. Shaped like the shark tooth in photo but bigger.

  339. Saw a very tall fern on Mt Ngongotaha about 5 years ago . Minimum 20 m . My reckoning be 30 m plus and at least 60 years old as I saw the ferns there when I was a child . Location is the stand of Blue gum trees above the old Quarry at the end of Old Quarry rd , Rotorua . Near the top of the stand reaching for light from near the bottom of the small gully within .

  340. “No obvious kiwi-like Pokemon”
    This is Doduo erasure /j

  341. Fascinating material. I would like to read more about him. Will consult Professor Google.
    Alon Shaw

  342. amazing photographs. all that energy, indeed. and a fashion shoot to boot!

  343. What a great article Migoto! Thank you for writing a clear and engaging article with a spirit of inclusion and collegiality. This is a moment of clarity for all of us who seek to parctice and act in a way that supports the aspirations embeded within the concept of “Mana Taonga” and awhi our Māori colleagues as they attempt to care for taonga māori and taonga tauiwi.

  344. My 6 year old son is fascinated and so am I. Thank you for making the information detailed and accessible.

  345. Ngatata-i-te-Rangi Makoare is my Great Grandfather x4
    Ngapei Ngatata is my Great Grandmother x3

  346. Global Warming, ? Great , if you read Historyand use what little sence you have Greenland has the remains of tres under 300 meters of ice. We are at present in the NORMAL stage of the worlds weather cycle

  347. Hello Trevor wilson. My name is ariana, you replied to my mother donna madden on the Te papa blog on the 7 of January 2021. I was wondering if you could tell me more or show photos of my whakapapa. If you would prefer to email then that would be great too.
    I would love to hear back from you !

  348. Hello
    I was interested in reading and seeing Lottie. I have done a thesis on Matron Eva Brooke, on 2 ships The Meheno and the Marama. Lottie was under the command of Matron Eva Brooke and she has an extraordinary story to. Eva was a quiet little lady with a big contribution during the war, in total 5 trips to Gallipoli.
    Thankyou for sharing Lottie. Maybe you could do the same for Eva as her family are still alive and I have a close connection to them. My sister has raised Eva’s great niece’s and nephew.

    Denise Wood QSM

  349. Does it have a Maori name?

  350. Thank you bloggers, starting the day with a look at these images was a joy. As a kiwi, far from family and living alone, your illustrated article was both memory refreshing and inspiring.

  351. one of the best informative blog ever .bookmarked for the future read
    maidenhair fern

  352. In the early 1980s I visited the Dennison site with a young Peter Hennan and we found small plants of what we thought we S. Flab.
    They were growing on rough stoney hill side facing the Tasman.

    1. Kia ora Mark. That was a good find. The populations of Sticherus tener and S. urceolatus in the area were both attributed to S. flabellatus at the time, but we now know that to be based on misidentifications. However, S. urceolatus is very similar to S. flabellatus, so it is easily understandable how they were confused.

  353. Hi Felix,

    Thank you for your comments. My responses below:

    “For example, you seem to present vicariance as a the basic default process that needs to be disproved, while regarding widespread dispersal as “fantasifull”.

    I only viewed the chance dispersal mechanism for allopatry as fantasiful because there was no direct evidence. Allopatry requires isolation and by attributing allopatry to movement one ends up imagining rare or chance events to explain both isolation and movement. Vicariance is not a default, but it is consistent with allopatry without seeing up contradictions between isolation and accessibility of localities. Regarding your individual objections:

    i) The volcanic islands issue, such as Hawaii, have nothing to do with vicaraint origins of widespread taxa. While each Hawaiian island is ephemeral and of course they were colonized, just as new habitats are colonized from populations from older habitats on mainland areas. The Hawaiian islands are surrounded by a multitude of former islands (now guyots) and also the region was crossed by major large igneous provinces that included subaerial landscapes. Thus there is no need to imagined current Hawaiian biota having accidentally dispersed from far away.

    (ii) questions of how large ancestral ranges can plausibly be achieved;

    Plausibility has nothing to do with anything. There are species today that have global or near global distributions

    (iii) In your scenario, monk seals would have had to gradually extend their range across the very barrier (the tropics) that then later led to vicariance.

    The geography of the Pacific in the past was very different to the present, and depending on the age of the ancestral range, the climatic as well as ancestral ecology may have been very different as well. And there is no evidence at all to restrict the origin of Monk seals to the Miocene.

    “Plus, there is – at least currently – no fossil evidence at all to suggest the existence of a wide-spread ancestor across the Pacific and the North Atlantic.”

    There is no fossil evidence to the contrary either. Fossils rarely provide a complete evolutionary record – something that even Darwin recognized.

    “I am keen to see new evidence for the prevalence of vicariance, whether in relation to monk seals or indeed any other biogeographical question.”

    That’s great! I did not realize that you were not familiar with the major biogeographic works of recent times on vicariance. I suggest you read the following as a good starting point.

    Heads, M. 2012. Molecular Panbiogeography of the Tropics
    Heads, M. 2014. Biogeography of Australiasia
    Heads, M. Biogeography and Evolution in New Zealand

    “I look forward to seeing your data and analyses published. Until then, I think this discussion has achieved as much as it can.”

    Well, as above, there is no shortage of that. And there are plenty more in the current biogeographic literature which you can access via Research Gate for example. I think your work will greatly benefit from a general familiarity with biogeography in general and also its spatial correlation with tectonics.

    Good reading to you,


  354. I have watched this 1983 Miss Universe pageant so many times and feel Lorraine was such a deserved winner with her beauty and humble grace! I feel so proud as a fellow kiwi of this fantastic achievement and our first ever Miss Universe winner! I will be watching this again in years to come! ❤️

  355. Felix, I notice you have not responded to my point that BioGeoBEARS is not empirical evidence and further suffers from a programmatic flaw in its failure to recognize vicariance possibilities for basal grade area relationships. I think it is incumbent on you to make a response. We have a president over here who believes that people should believe the election was rigged simply because he said so. Quite a few federal judges have pointed out that saying so is not the same as evidence. So it is with your study. You have presented no evidence that your analysis is based on anything empirical at all. I do hope that TePapa sets higher standards for it researchers and you will present here to your public (who pay taxes that support the museum) the basis for your claim for empirical evidence to support your contention about the origins of these seals. Science has to be more than just saying so, otherwise it is not really science. I am sure you want to avoid that.

    Kind regards, John

    1. Hi John,

      as I pointed out in my previous reply, BioGeoBEARS is a framework within which different processes/ models (including vicariance) are fitted to empirical data, namely, the morphological and molecular observations that give rise to our phylogeny and the geographical distributions of the species under study. Models are not empirical data, and nor do they claim to be. They are simply a way to explain available observations in the best possible manner, and liable to change as more data are uncovered.

      Models make assumptions that ought to be queried. This is true of BioGeoBEARS, but also your own ideas. For example, you seem to present vicariance as a the basic default process that needs to be disproved, while regarding widespread dispersal as “fantasifull”. Vicariance is plausible and likely widespread, but treating it as almost a basic assumption ignores (i) scenarios like volcanic islands, as outlined in my previous reply; (ii) questions of how large ancestral ranges can plausibly be achieved; and (iii) the somewhat volatile nature of certain (especially marine) barriers themselves. In your scenario, monk seals would have had to gradually extend their range across the very barrier (the tropics) that then later led to vicariance. I am unsure what mechanism you envisage for this, unless you assume the tropics were either non-existent during the Miocene or somehow had no effect then. Plus, there is – at least currently – no fossil evidence at all to suggest the existence of a wide-spread ancestor across the Pacific and the North Atlantic.

      You are right that statements are not evidence. This is why discussions like this are generally based on data and formal analyses, which can subsequently be tested and challenged with new observations. I am keen to see new evidence for the prevalence of vicariance, whether in relation to monk seals or indeed any other biogeographical question. If you think it exists, I would invite you to collect and analyse appropriate data, and then submit your results to the scrutiny of formal peer review – as we did. Blog posts and comments are powerful tools for communication, but without underlying data they are – as you say – ultimately just “saying so”.

      I look forward to seeing your data and analyses published. Until then, I think this discussion has achieved as much as it can.

      Kind regards,


  356. A moving tribute to a very special person on World Aids Day 1 December 2020.

    Thanks so much for the post, Gareth.

  357. In this current COVID 19 world, it is timely to remember that there are other diseases which are just as potent.

  358. Felix – thank you for the copy of your paper, but you have not demonstrated that your BioGeoBEARS program represents empirical evidence given the fact that it is based on purely theoretical notions of area relationships that cannot distinguish a vicariance origin for a basal grade. I challenge you to demonstrate otherwise – that the recipe is empirical as opposed to a fabrication. Also, I challenge you to justify treating molecular divergence ages as actual or maximal when they are calibrated by fossils that can only provide minimum ages. I would note that for the Monachini you have a phylogeny and distribution entirely consistent with vicariance with a widespread Pacific – Tethys ancestor where the basal divergence separated the Hawaiian clade, then the NZ-Australia clade, and finally they Mediterranean-Caribbean clade. That is clear from the empirical distributional and phylogenetic data. The pattern is entirely consistent with many other plant and animal taxa. No scientific need to create fantasifull trans-global migrations for this group or you have to show that it really is based on an empirical reality rather than a theoretical supposition. Look forward to seeing that defense.

  359. I was always interested to know where the t and k styles came from… similar to Hawaiian Olelo I believe

  360. I have just had a friend say that azolla absorbs a lot of carbon dioxide and could help with climate change?? Could this fern also be utilised as a cattle food and natural fertilizer for farmers to use.??

    1. Kia ora Rosalind. Yes, potentially. I believe it is already widely used as a natural fertiliser in rice paddies, thanks to the ability of the associated bacteria to fix nitrogen. The trick with any carbon-sequestration efforts will be to lock the carbon away. For instance, once the fern dies and decays, the carbon it had absorbed is released back into the environment/atmosphere.

  361. BioGeoBEARS makes the assumption that a paraphyletic basal grade occupies a centre of origin, but this is unwarranted. The problem is discussed in my books ‘Molecular biogeography of Australasia’ (Cambridge UP) and ‘Biogeography and evolution in New Zealand’ (Taylor & Francis).

    1. Hi John and Michael,

      Thanks again for your comments. I have sent a copy of the paper to both of you.

      It’s true that BioGeoBEARS relies on models, but it ultimately still draws on empirical data in the form of (i) morphological and molecular observations which are used to create phylogenetic framework for the biogeographical analysis; and (ii) the geographical distributions of the species/ fossils under study. Also, BioGeoBEARS does not follow a single, fixed ‘recipe’. Rather, it is a framework implementing a broad range of models, which include vicariance as a possible process and are evaluated against the empirical data using standard model selection procedures (e.g. the Akaike Information Criterion). You are right, of course, that all models make assumptions, which ought to be queried. Pitting models against each other is a step in this direction, although it is admittedly not absolute – i.e. model selection only works on the models actually tested.

      All of this means that your comment really comes down to a more philosophical point, as mentioned in the books you cite: should dispersal feature in biogeographical models in the first place? I am more of a marine mammologist than a biogeographer, but it seems to me that, at least in some scenarios, the process is the best and – perhaps – the only explanation. Volcanic islands like Hawaii, which rise above the surface and afterwards only persist for a few million years are a good example. These islands house no life when they first form, hence the ancestors of any endemics later found on them presumably dispersed there. You could perhaps make a case that the ancestral species arrived as part of a ‘normal’ range extension, and that the conditions between the islands and the nearest mainland (wind patterns, etc.) somehow drastically changed post-colonisation so that the island population became isolated. Perhaps, but this starts to paint a rather complex scenario that is as assumption-laden (or perhaps more so) than dispersal, especially where the distances involved are huge. Generally, dispersal is a plausible process, and – in my view – ought to be tested, rather than just excluded a priori.

      As far as marine mammals are concerned, it’s maybe also worth considering the nature of the main barrier discussed here, i.e. the tropical waters near the equator. Unlike an isthmus or a mountain chain, which are clear physical obstacles and persist for millions of years, the tropical barrier is ‘soft’ and relatively fickle. Among marine mammals, there are plenty of antitropical species pairs and populations (e.g. right, humpback, fin, and minke; several beaked whales; several dolphins; elephant seals) showing that the tropics can isolate populations, yet are sometimes also porous enough to allow some level of interhemispheric exchange. Dispersal in this context may be ‘opportunistic’, rather than a ‘chance’ event.

  362. Hi Felix. I would point out that BioGeoBEARS is not empirical evidence. It is basically a recipe that works of certain assumptions of area relationships and employs techniques that can create dispersal as an artifact for situations for where vicariance could be the explanation, such as where there is a basal grade of area relationships (e.g. areas A (A (A (A, B))). So, regardless of using a recipe such as BioGeoBEARS I have yet to see any basis for this qualifying as empirical evidence.

    I do not have access to your paper, but you can send a copy to me at calabar.john@gmail.com

  363. I would suggest that there is no empirical evidence at all to support the claim that monachines originated in the southern hemisphere and then moved to the north. Even if the new fossil is the basal sister group to the northern seals that could just indicated an original vicariance of a widespread ancestor. I would be interested to see if the authors can substantiate their claim based on empirical evidence as opposed to the usual practice of invoking imaginary centers of origin.

    1. Hi John, many thanks for your comment. The southern origin of monachines is supported by a formal biogeographic analysis (BioGeoBEARS, implemented in R; best model identified via AICc) based on our total-evidence phylogeny. So yes, there is empirical evidence. For details, please have a look at the paper.