A whale tail is seen out of water with hills in the background

When a southern right whale captured the imagination of Wellington last week with a bout of acrobatics in Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour), Imaging Specialist Jean-Claude Stahl was there with his camera to capture some pretty epic moments. Here, he shares them and sheds some light on our new best friend.Read more

After a decade in North America, our Whales | Tohorā exhibition is making its way back south through the Pacific. For anyone who can’t recall the exhibition – it finished showing at Te Papa in May 2008. Here’s a brief recap from Pat Stodart, Touring Exhibition Manager.Read more

A Te Papa research team travelled to Dusky Sound: photographer Jean-Claude recalls a surprise encounter with bad-breathed whales. 15 November 2016. We had made good progress since leaving Doubtful Sound on the Southern Winds, the DOC boat that supports conservation programmes around southern New Zealand. We were now sailing pastRead more

Tabua (pronounced  tambua – b=mb) are pierced and braided whales’ teeth, originally taken from the lower jaw of sperm whales. Fijians consider tabua to be kavakaturanga (chiefly items). They are not worn, but are presented at important ceremonies, including weddings, births, and funerals. Tabua used to be the most effectiveRead more

The first-ever Fiji language week begins today with the theme Noqu Vosa, Noqu iYau Talei: My Language, My Treasure. The Pacific Cultures curators will be blogging daily with Fiji related stories from the collections and exhibitions at Te Papa. This is a tabua, a type of Fijian cultural valuable, madeRead more

The Spade-toothed whale Mesoplodon traversii, is now known from 5 specimens, three of which are housed at Te Papa. With only one of these specimens a complete skeleton, the species is as rare as they come – even among beaked whales – the most elusive of all the world’s whales. WhalesRead more

Even in this well-informed age it’s surprising how much we still don’t know about the natural world – especially the oceans!    All whales must come to the surface to breathe, despite this the Spade-tooth whale Mesoplodon traversii (Gray, 1874), an animal over 5m in length, has never been see alive, and untilRead more

Not Lower and Upper Hutt, but instead the story of two attempts at the pole. That of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the voyage of the Nimrod, and Captain Robert Falcon Scott and the Terra Nova expedition. We awoke to another extraordinary day at anchor off Cape Royds. The lunar landscape,Read more

  Scott Base, as South as we go: In a place where the sun sets at 12.30 and rises at 2.30 sights just get more and more incredible. At 1am the sea around the boat started to freeze, the water became grainy and and looked like grease, slowing as theRead more