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Te Papa / February 2009

March 2009 | January 2009
    • Identifying maidenhair spleenwort ferns.
      • The maidenhair spleenwort is a spleenwort fern (Asplenium) that (supposedly) looks like a maidenhair fern (Adiantum, see below). The 600 or so of the world’s spleenworts are characterised by having their reproductive structures in lines away from the margins of their fronds’ undersides. The reproductive structures (the sori, made up of the sporangia which contain the spores, and their
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    • Coralline red algae
      • Botany has recently acquired a unique collection; a special group of calcified red algae known as the corallines. Coralline algae are abundant and ubiquitous throughout the world’s oceans, playing very important roles in marine ecosystems. The encrusting, or crustose, species can form unusual lumpy, warty-looking layers in the intertidal, sometimes completely covering rocks. Perhaps you have
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    • And what is faith?
      • Ian Prior, noted epidemiologist and arts patron died earlier this week. Luncheon under the ash tree, an exhibition organised by Aratoi which celebrated Ian and Elespie Prior’s art collection, toured galleries around New Zealand a few years ago. Regan Gentry, Green Islands, 2007 Wellington Sculpture Trust’s Four Plinths Temporary Sculpture Project A couple of works on show in and near Te Papa stand
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    • A sketch of the artist
      • James Luna, Artifact piece, 1985-1987 We’re back in Wellington and James has returned home to work on shaping what will be the One Day Sculpture project. As I mentioned, this post covers a bit about James’ practice by looking at a few works. James Luna has been creating visual art, interdisciplinary exhibitions and performances that are informed by his native culture for over three dec
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    • Latrodectus Love Bites
      • St Valentine's widow spider   In honour of Valentine’s Day this post will look at the wonderful world of courtship in the spider genus Latrodectus, more commonly known as the widow spiders. Readers of my previous post will recall this genus includes species such as the American black widow (Latrodectus mactans), the Australian redback (L. hasseltii) and the New Zealand katipo (L. katipo), all
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    • Valentines day: roses are what?
      •   Margaret Stoddart, Roses, 1920s In Europe during the 1300s February 14th was thought to be the day when birds paired off to mate. This date was originally an ancient Greco-Roman pagan festival, and was later called St Valentines Day Feast by the Church. Since the 1300s, on February 14th each year, roses (and flowers in general),  have been widely accepted as gifts and Saint Valentines Day is now
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    • Beagle boys
      • Conrad Martens, Kororareka in the Bay of Islands, 1841 In honour of Charles Darwin’s birthday today, here’s a work by one of the artists from HMS Beagle. Conrad Martens painted this view of Kororareka, the site of modern Russell, in 1841. It’s based on sketches which he made during on a brief visit there in 1835. Martens had left the Beagle by this point, but the ship passed through New Zealand la
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    • Fellow travellers
      • Nicholas Chevalier, Cook Straits, New Zealand, c 1884 Reading about American artist James Luna’s travels around the country brings to mind of a couple of earlier artistic visitors to New Zealand.   Nicholas Chevalier, the Russian-born, Australian-domiciled Swiss painter made two visits to New Zealand in the 1860s. The first, in 1865, was sponsored by the Otago Provincial Council. Not to be outdone
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    • Monet is hanging at Te Papa
      • That’s right! Various works from the great Claude Monet… the founder of French Impressionist painting and the most prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy… are on show at the Visa Platinum Gallery in Te Papa from the 14 February to 17 May 2009.This exhibition, Monet and the Impressionists, has been organised by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts
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      • Te Papa, 55, Cable Street, Te Aro, Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, 6011, New Zealand (OpenStreetMap)


    • Skin deep differences don’t matter in Katipo
      • Skin Deep Differences Don’t Matter in Katipo Katipo female and eggsacs. Image ©Te Papa Having spent my last two postings dealing with butterflies and moths, it’s time to move on to the animals I love the most – spiders! The subject of this posting is the katipo spider (Latrodectus katipo), New Zealand’s only endemic spider known to be dangerous to humans. Katipo is a Maori word meaning ‘night stin
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    • Te Waipounamu
      • On our last day in New Plymouth we met with Govett-Brewster Art Gallery staff and SCANZ (Solar Circuit Aotearoa New Zealand) artists. SCANZ involves  a residency, exhibition and symposium for artists working with new media and technology. James, Rhana Devenport, Megan, James Pinker and and SCANZ artists Natalie Robertson, Rachael Rakena, Lisa Reihana. James gave a brief talk about his work to Ga
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    • A visitor to Waitangi
      • Alfred Sharpe, Where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, 1882 Mr Alfred Sharpe has just returned from a three weeks’ sketching tour in the Bay of Islands district, with a well-filled portfolio of sketches, and with a number of orders from the residents of that district. The sketches comprise views of Russell, Paihia, Waitangi, Ngaheiu, Pakaraka, Pouerua, Ohaeawai, Waimate, Kawakawa, and the Waiomio
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    • On the road with James Luna
      • Since I posted introducing One Day Sculpture and visiting artist James Luna, who is developing a project to be presented at Te Papa, Megan, James and I have been to Auckland and back. James Luna, End of Acoustic, 2005, from a faux rock & roll multimedia installation - All Indian All the Time    In Auckland James gave a talk at the Auckland Art Gallery’s Art Lounge as part of their Easy L
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    • The deluge and the ark
      • Recently, a group of researchers in New Zealand suggested that the absence of fossils between 25 and 22 million years ago indicated that the islands completely disappeared under water, and then later re-emerged. But a newly discovered fossil reptile suggests this theory does not hold water. Alan Tennyson, Curator of Fossil Vertebrates at Te Papa, and colleagues, found the remains of a fossilized
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    • More masking tape
      • Colin McCahon, Mondrian's last chrysanthemum, 1976 Mondrian’s last chrysanthemum, the Colin McCahon painting we bought at the end of last year, arrived at Te Papa recently. It’s great to see it again. Like most paintings, there’s a lot about this work that you don’t get until you see it in the flesh. There’s beauty of the painting itself, its amazing combination of subtlety and urgency.
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    • Treaty Debate: The Maori seats in Parliament
      • Derek Fox What do you think of the Māori seats in Parliament? On Thursday 5 February @ 6.30 - 8 p.m. two speakers will deal with this provocative issue - The role of Maori in Parliament and the future of the Maori seats. Professor Philip Joseph and Derek Fox will discuss this topic as part of Te Papa’s annual Treaty Debate series. Join the debate We want to hear what you think. You can watch
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    • A Tiger with Crimson Wings
      • A Tiger with Crimson Wings  This post is inspired by Smiv’s reminiscences about cinnabar moth caterpillars when commenting on my previous blog entry: http://blog.tepapa.govt.nz/2009/01/26/a-menu-for-monarchs/#comments Also, as adult cinnabar moths are on the wing this time of year in New Zealand summer and sightings always generate a number of calls to Te Papa’s entomology department, I thought t
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