Have you ever wondered which New Zealand bird was the first to be given a published scientific name? The unlikely answer is the broad-billed prion, named as ‘Procellaria vittata’ by a 22-year-old Georg Forster in 1777.Read more

Te Papa’s Captain Cook waistcoat During Te Papa’s recent ‘Open House’ weekend many visitors on the Costume & Textile Store tour were captivated by Captain Cook’s waistcoat, or at least a waistcoat reputed to have been worn by the great explorer. The beautifully embroidered waistcoat is said to have come from a house whereRead more

MP Charles Chauvel at the blessing for Poedua.

The blessing for the painting of Poedua (Poetua), a princess from the Society Islands, by John Webber (1751-1793) was a much needed bright spot at Te Papa last week – a week when New Zealand reeled from news of the Pike River mining disaster. This remarkable painting, recently purchased by Te Papa, hasRead more

Fruits of Kohekohe (Dysoxylum spectabile). Photo by C.A. Lehnebach (c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

There are four reasons that make kohekohe (Dysoxylum spectabile) one of the funkiest trees in town First, unlike many other trees, Kohekohe flowers sprout from the trunk and branches. This feature is known as cauliflory and it’s believed to be an adaptation to pollination and seed dispersal by animals that can’t fly or insects livingRead more