Tales from Te Papa

Last updated
Tales from Te Papa
Tales from Te Papa.jpg
Directed by Thomas Robins [1]
Presented by Riria Hotere, Simon Morton
Country of originNew Zealand
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes100 (list of episodes)
Producer Gibson Group
Original release
Network TVNZ6

Tales From Te Papa is a television series of mini-documentaries about objects from the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) and the activities of the Museum staff. The series is a partnership between Television New Zealand and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. [2] The series was commissioned by Television New Zealand for TVNZ6, a digital channel and New Zealand's first fully public service broadcasting channel without advertising breaks. [3] Each episode runs for 5 to 8 minutes and shows on rotation in what would be the advertising break between programmes. Since TVNZ6 changed format to TVNZU on 1 March 2011 the series was moved to TVNZ7 [4] and now available on You Tube.


The series was made by the Gibson Group and each episode produced by Gary Scott and hosted by either Simon Morton or Riria Hotere. A host interviews subject experts about a particular object or the behind-the-scenes work the Museum does.

Series 2009 Episodes 1 – 50

Episode NumberTitle and link to episode on YouTubeOriginObject DateDescriptionTe Papa's Collections online linkHost and additional contributors
1Cloud by John ReynoldsNew Zealand2006An artwork made up of over 7,000 separate canvases of New Zealand English by John Reynolds Cloud by John ReynoldsSimon Morton & Charlotte Huddleston, Curator
2Hei TikiNew ZealandUnknownJade Pedant (Hei-tiki) belonging to Guide Sophia Hei tikiSimon Morton & Dr Huhana Smith, Senior Curator
3Kahu KuriNew Zealand1500–1800 Polynesian Dog skin cloaks worn by Māori Cloak and Taxidermied Polynesian Dog (Kurī)Simon Morton & Awhina Tamarapa, Curator
4Rugby Ball and John MintoNew Zealand1956 and 1981Rugby History in New Zealand – The rugby ball from the All Blacks Series win against the Springboks in 1956 and a helmet of John Minto, protester of the Springbok Tour 1981Rugby Ball and John Minto's HelmetSimon Morton & Kirstie Ross, Curator
5AlbatrossNew Zealand1880s to presentBiggest collection of Albatross birds in the worldAlbatross specimensSimon Morton & Sandy Bartle, Curator
6Beaked WhalesNew Zealand waters1874 to presentLargest collection of Beaked whale skeletons in the world and the Spade toothed whale Beaked Whale SpecimensSimon Morton & Anton van Helden, Collection Manager
7Giant AmmoniteNew Zealand Jurassic Biggest Shellfish ever found in New ZealandNot found in Collections OnlineRiria Hotere & Dr Hamish Campbell, Geologist, GNS Science
8Puffer Fish HelmetKiribiti1800sArmour and weapons from Kiribati Puffer Fish Helmet and model Kiribati Warrior and Sting ray belt and Hand weapon (Rere) and AmourRiria Hotere & Sean Mallon, Senior Curator
9Fijian War ClubsFiji1880sLots of war clubs from Fiji Fijian War Clubs Model of Fijian WarriorRiria Hotere & Sean Mallon, Senior Curator
10Angel of the Annunciation by Colin McCahonNew Zealand1947One of New Zealand's greatest artists – Colin McCahon and his early worksAngel of the Annunciation and King of the Jews and Entombment: after Titian and Christ taken from the Cross and The valley of dry bonesRiria Hotere & William McAloon, Curator
11Castaway ClothesSub-Antarctic Islands1880s-1900s Castaway depots on Sub-Antarctic IslandsTin of Ships Biscuits and Castaway three piece suit and Box containing men's boots and Castaway's TrousersRiria Hotere & Michael Fitzgerald, Curator
12Iguanodon ToothGreat Britain1820The first fossil to be recognised as from a dinosaur Fossil Iguanodon Tooth and The country of the Iguanodon by John MartinRiria Hotere & Dr Hamish Campbell, Geologist, GNS Science
13Synotaxid spidersNew ZealandPresentThousands of Spiders waiting to be discovered in New ZealandSynotaxid SpidersRiria Hotere & Phil Sirvid, Collection Manager
14Egyptian MummyEgyptcirca 300 BCEgyptian Mummy and Sarcophagus – Mehit-em-WesekhtMummy and Sarcophagus of Mehit-em-WesekhtRiria Hotere & Ross O'Rourke, Collection Manager
15 Pisupo Lua Afe (Corned Beef 2000) by Michel TufferyNew Zealand1994Sculpture made of corned beef tins by Michel Tuffery Pisupo Lau Afe (Corned Beef 2000)Riria Hotere & Sean Mallon, Senior Curator
16Poi AweNew Zealand1800sThe only Poi awe in Te Papa's collectionThe Poi AweRiria Hotere & Awhina Tamarapa, Curator
17Feather signaturesNew ZealandPresentResearch into the making of Māori feather cloaksFeathered cloakRiria Hotere & Hokimate Harwood, Bicultural Researcher
18Waka Whakairo from ParisNew Zealand1800–1900Carving purchased at a Paris auction in 2008Waka whakairoRiria Hotere & Matiu Baker, Curator
19Lisa ReihanaNew Zealand2009Te Ara a Hine – The pathway of women featuring the artwork Mai i te aroha, ko te aroha by Lisa Reihana Work by Lisa Reihana in Te Papa's CollectionRiria Hotere & Megan Tamati-Quennell, Curator
20Jewellery by Jane DoddNew Zealand2006Three Little Pigs jewellery by Jane Dodd Work by Jane Dodd in Te Papa's CollectionRiria Hotere & Justine Olsen, Curator
21Glass plate negatives taken by James BraggeNew Zealand1870s – 1880sGlass plate negatives by James Bragge Work by James Bragge in Te Papa's Collection and Five Mile Avenue, Forty Mile Bush by James BraggeRiria Hotere & Athol McCredie, Curator
22Land Girls, Overalls and Killing KnifeNew Zealand1941–1945The New Zealand Women's Land Service & the home frontOveralls and Killing knifeRiria Hotere & Stephanie Gibson, Curator
23Bathing costumesNew Zealand1902–1912Beach Fashion – The Swimsuit Bathing costume, 1912 and "The sea hath its pearls": 'Boxing Day at Hokio, 26 December 1918'. From the album: Family photograph album, by Leslie Adkin and Bathing Costume and medal belonging to Noel CrumpRiria Hotere & Kirstie Ross, Curator
24Ta Moko PanelNew Zealand1896Carved panel by Tene Waitere Ta Moko PanelRiria Hotere & Arapata Hakiwai, Curator & James Schuster, Descendent
25Dental Nurse EquipmentNew Zealand1940s Dentistry in New Zealand and Dental nurses Dental equipment from the Wellington Dental Nursing SchoolSimon Morton & Kirstie Ross, Curator
26SextantMotuihe Island, New Zealand1916 Sextant made from scratch by a German Prisoner of War during World War One used by Count von Luckner Sextant used by Count von Luckner during his escape attempt from Motuihe IslandSimon Morton & Michael Fitzgerald, Curator
27Te Papa's Fish Collection labsNew Zealand2009A giant morgue and an autopsy room for fish, sharks and sea creaturesFish specimens in Collections OnlineSimon Morton & Andrew Stewart, Collection Manager
28Replica Crown JewelsNew Zealand1940Replica Crown Jewels and the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition 1940Items relating to the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition 1940Simon Morton & Dean Miller, Museum of Wellington City & Sea & Kirstie Ross, Curator
29Henry Fanshaw BearNew Zealand1939–1945The Royal New Zealand Airforce – enlisting men and a Teddy bearWar posters in Te Papa's CollectionSimon Morton & Stephanie Gibson, Curator & Steve Moore, Air Commodore
30Samoan Cricket BatsSamoa1936 – 1990s Kilikiti- Cricket Samoan StyleSamoan Cricket batsSimon Morton & Safua Akeli, Curator
31Society Islands Chief Mourners CostumeSociety Islands1770sA frightening outfit made from precious pearl and black shell from the Society Islands Chief Mourners CostumeSimon Morton & Grace Hutton, Collection Manager
32NZ Company FlagNew Zealand1839First flag to be raised at Wellington, New Zealand – The New Zealand Company flagNew Zealand Company flagRiria Hotere & Michael Fitzgerald, Curator
33The pataka Te TakingaNew Zealand1850sThe pataka Te TakingaNot Found in Collections OnlineRiria Hotere & Awhina Tamarapa, Curator & Sam Jackson, Kaumatua Ngati Pikiao, Taranaki
34Banks and Solander CollectionNew Zealand1770sThe earliest specimens of New Zealand flora collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander The Banks and Solander botanical specimens collectionRiria Hotere & Dr Patrick Brownsey, Senior Curator
35Scottish SamplersScotland1880sLearning a range of stitching by creating sewing samplersSampler by Jeanie Lawson and Sampler by Agnes Lawson and Sampler by Agnes LawsonSimon Morton & Stephanie Gibson, Curator
36Play School ToysNew Zealand1970sToys from the popular children's television programme Play School Big Ted and Jemima and Manu and Humpty and Play School doll's clothesRiria Hotere & Kirstie Ross, Curator
37Phar Lap's SkeletonNew Zealand1932Famous Australasian racehorse Phar Lap's SkeletonSkeleton of Phar LapSimon Morton & Chris Paulin, Phar Lap Researcher
38Tapa ClothPacificVarious Tapa cloth and fashionTiputa (Poncho) and Wedding costume by Paula Chan-CheukRiria Hotere & Safua Akeli, Curator & Jakki Leota-Ete
39Vita DressNew Zealand2000Women's handcrafts and fashion combine in a stunning dress by Marilyn Sainty and Vita Cochran.'Vita' dress by Marilyn Sainty and Vita Cochran and 'Zip Bag' by Vita CochranSimon Morton & Angela Lassig, Senior Curator
40Mary-Annette HayNew Zealand1960s Mary-Annette Hay – Queen of WoolItems in Te Papa's collection associated with Mary-Annette HaySimon Morton & Angela Lassig, Senior Curator
41Extended Depth of Field PhotographyNew Zealand2009High Tech photography known as Focus stacking of tiny natural history specimensPhotographs of spiders taken using extended depth of field photography techniqueSimon Morton & Jean-Claude Stahl, Researcher
42Deep sea fishesNew Zealand Territorial Waters20th CenturyBizarre Deep Sea FishesTe Papa's Fish CollectionSimon Morton & Andrew Stewart, Collection Manager
43Conservation of Samurai ArmourJapan1735Conservation Treatment of Samurai Armour – A two-year jobSamurai armour (Sendai-do no Gusoku) made by Muneyoshi of the House of MyouchinSimon Morton & Rose Evans, Conservator
44Ceramics by Ann VerdcourtNew Zealand1991Ceramics by Ann Verdcourt inspired by the voyage of Christopher Columbus and commissioned for Expo 92 Series one: Columbus plans his first voyage, sailing against the wind and Series two: The trials and tribulations of the first voyage and Series three: A new land, its perils, its wonderRiria Hotere & Justine Olsen, Curator
45TatuaNew Zealand2007-08 Tatua (Maori belts) made by Matthew McIntyre-Wilson Tatua (Maori belts)Riria Hotere & Dr Huhana Smith, Senior Curator
46Child's WrapWairarapacirca 1875Child's Cloak made by Eterina Hokokakahu AperahamaNot Found in Collections OnlineRiria Hotere & Matiu Baker, Curator & Warren Wright, Descendant
47A Loss, Again – a temporary sculpture installation at Te PapaNew Zealand2009Temporary sculpture by artist Ronnie van Hout Other works by Ronnie van Hout in Te Papa's collectionRiria Hotere & Charlotte Huddleston, Curator
48Tuvalu ClothesTuvalucirca 1900Missionary style clothes made from local materials in TuvaluMan's Jacket and Man's Hat and Woman's DressRiria Hotere & Sean Mallon, Senior Curator
49Harata Rewiri TarapataNew Zealand1903-04 C.F.Goldie's paintings of Harata Rewiri Tarapata Items related to Harata Rewiri Tarapata in Te Papa's collectionRiria Hotere & Scott Pothan, Whangarei Art Museum
50Von TempskyNew Zealand1860s Gustavus Ferdinand Von Tempsky – adventurer, artist and soldierItems related to Von Tempsky in Te Papa's collectionSimon Morton & Crystal Mann, Waikato Museum

Series 2010 Episodes 51 – 100

Episode NumberTitle & Link to Episode on YouTubeOriginDateDescriptionTe Papa's Collections Online linkHost & Additional contributors
51The Feathered Face of WarHawai'i1779-1790sA representation of the Hawaiian war god Kuka `aumakua hulu manu Kuka`ilimoku (feathered image)Simon Morton & Herman Pi'ikea Clark, Hawaiian Specialist
52A Captain's Chiefly GiftHawai'i1779Gifts of Hawaiians to Captain James Cook in 1779`ahu `ula (Feathered cloak) and MahioleSimon Morton & Herman Pi'ikea Clark, Hawaiian Specialist
53Beaded BeautiesNew Zealand1920sBeaded flapper dressesGold and black flapper dress Others not found in Collections OnlineSimon Morton & Angela Lassig, Senior Curator
54Whale's TreasureNew Zealand2009Ambergris from Sperm whaleNot found in Collections OnlineSimon Morton & Anton Van Helden, Collection Manager
55Designer WallsNew Zealand1920-1970sHistoric wallpaper samplesWallpaper samplesSimon Morton & Anna Greaves, Wallpaper expert & Phillipa Durkin, Conservator
56Nature's HitchhikersNew Zealand2009All warm blooded animals have lice – Te Papa collects Bird liceLiceSimon Morton & Ricardo Palma, Curator
57The Art of Fish IllustrationNew Zealand2009The Art of Fish Illustration for scientific journalsNot found in Collections OnlineRiria Hotere & Michelle Freeborn, Scientific Illustrator
58Lavender – Nice Smell, Bad IdeaNew Zealand2009Lavender bags and the Oddy test Not found in Collections OnlineRiria Hotere & Tony Clarke, Conservator
59Waddling Mice & Kiwi CrocsNew Zealand20 million BCIntriguing fossils from St Bathans in Otago, New ZealandSpecimens of fossilised boneRiria Hotere & Alan Tennyson, Curator
60- The CleanersNew Zealand2009Dermestid beetles – flesh eaters and bone specimen cleanersTuatara skull preparationRiria Hotere & Catherine Tate, Natural Environment Technician
61A Soldier's DollNew Zealand1914–1918Keeping her soldier boyfriend close to her heartDorothy Broad's dolls and workSimon Morton & Kirstie Ross, Curator
62Musket – Flash in the PanNew Zealand1840sThe New Zealand Wars and musketsFlintlock MusketsSimon Morton & Michael Fitzgerald, Curator
63Cox's Diary from the FrontGallipoli1915A Gallipoli Diary from a New Zealand soldierThe DiarySimon Morton & Jennifer Twist, Archivist
64Painter's NightmareNew Zealand2009What do paintings conservators do?Northland panels, 1958 by Colin McCahon Riria Hotere & Melanie Carlisle, Conservator & Katherine Campbell, Conservator
65Crayfish – Crazy Life CycleNew ZealandCurrentThe life cycle of the Rock lobsterNot found in Collections OnlineRiria Hotere & Rick Webber, Curator
66A Portrait for All TimesUnited States of America1771A memory of a mother in a paintingMrs Humphrey Devereux by John Singleton Copley Riria Hotere & Tony Mackle, Collection Manager
67One Coast – Two ViewsCook Strait, New Zealand1884An insight into Nicholas Chevalier's painting of Cook Strait.Cook Strait, New Zealand by Nicholas Chevalier, Near Paekakariki, Cook Strait by Nicholas Chevalier, Kapiti by Nicholas ChevalierSimon Morton & Tony Mackle, Collection Manager
68Frame Detective – A case of woodwormNew Zealand2009Researching and reuniting a picture frame with its artworkDeath of a peasant by Henry LambRiria Hotere & Matthew O'Reilly, Framer
69Seaweed – More than Meets the EyeNew ZealandCurrentSeaweed in your chocolate milkSeaweeds by taxa and Botanical drawings of seaweed by Nancy AdamsSimon Morton & Jennifer Dalen, Collection Manager
70Nuclear Nic-NacsJapan1945Keepsakes from Ground Zero at HiroshimaMoney box and related objectsRiria Hotere & Stephanie Gibson, Curator
71Cloak of ProtectionNew Zealand1840How a cloak saved the life of a young boy in colonial New ZealandNot found in Collections OnlineSimon Morton & Awhina Tamarapa, Curator
72Burn My Head in Heaven, by John Pule New Zealand1998Artwork by John Pule Burn My Head In Heaven, 1998 by John Pule Simon Morton & Megan Tamati-Quennell, Curator
73Cool PhotosNew Zealand2009How a Museum looks after negativesAutochromes by Robert Walrond Cliffs near Green Island by Burton Bros Riria Hotere & Lissa Mitchell, Collection Manager
74Sacred MasksPapua New Guinea1900s Eharo dance masks from Papua New GuineaImages of Eharo dance masksRiria Hotere & Safua Akeli, Curator
75Ancient Island CarvingsChatham IslandsUnknown Chatham Islands carvings by the Moriori Not found in Collections Online.Riria Hotere & Arapata Hakiwai, Curator & Mana Cracknell, Artist and Elder
76Coming of Age TreasuresNew Zealand1935 & 1942Turning 21 and coming of age partiesChocolate BoxRiria Hotere & Stephanie Gibson, Curator
77A Cape of StarsNew Zealand2006A cape of celebrationMatariki Caper by Kohai Grace Riria Hotere & Kohai Grace, artist & Awhina Tamarapa, Curator
78The Ocean's Tight FiveNew Zealandmodern Echinoderm – Marine AnimalsNot found in Collections OnlineSimon Morton & Rick Webber, Curator
79Ruby's RoomNew Zealand2000Photographs by Ann Noble Works from the series Ruby's Room by Ann NobleRiria Hotere & Athol McCredie, Curator
80Picture Perfect DollsNew Zealand1920s-1930sDolls made by Bessie MurrayDolls by Bessie Murray Darby and Joan (Ina Te Papatahi, Nga Puhi) by C. F. Goldie Riria Hotere & Stephanie Gibson, Curator
81Stories Sewn in QuiltsCook Islandscirca 1990Tivaevae – Pacific quiltsTivaevae called Ina and the shark and other TivaevaeRiria Hotere & Grace Hutton, Collection Manager
82A Soldier's ChristmasNorth Africa1941A Kiwi soldier in World War IIImage of Sig (Cyril) Hurne-Miller, the artist’s batman by Peter McIntyre. Christmas Card not found in Collections Online.Riria Hotere & Michael Fitzgerald, Curator
83A Chiefly SwordNew Zealand1848 Te Rauparaha's Sword – A symbol of peaceSword not found in Collections Online. Painting of Te Rauparaha in naval uniform Image of Rangiatea ChurchRiria Hotere & Te Waari Carkeek, Ngati Toa, Ngati Raukawa
84Carved in SkinNew Zealand1840The significance of Ta Moko (Maori facial tattooing) todayLife Mask Image of Moko being createdSimon Morton & Mark Kopua, Ta Moko Artist
85A Powerful PeacemakerNew Zealand1819The peacemaking Taiaha named Te Rongotaketake from the early colonial periodNot found in Collections OnlineRiria Hotere & Matiu Baker, Curator
86Carving Family HistoryNew ZealandModernLearning to make Tokelauan Toki (Adzes)The set of TokiRiria Hotere & Kupa Kupa, Adze maker & Jack Kirifi, Adze Maker
87Tatau – Samoan TattooingSamoaCurrentTatau in New ZealandTatau implements and imagesRiria Hotere & Sean Mallon, Senior Curator
88Sister's Secret StashWellington, New Zealand1870sWhat childhood treasures were hidden in the walls of Randall Cottage?Items from Randall CottageRiria Hotere & Lynette Townsend, Curator
89Punch & Judy Kiwi StyleNew Zealand1970sPunch and Judy in 1970s New ZealandPuppets by Garth FrostRiria Hotere & Lynette Townsend, Curator
90New Zealand1995What caught the imagination of Xenites about Xena: Warrior PrincessXena's OutfitRiria Hotere & Anna Greaves, Xenite
91Recycled Plastic ArtNew ZealandCurrent Recycling plastic as art – Good for the environment but not good for conservatorsItems made from plastic in the Pacific CollectionsRiria Hotere & Nirmala Balram, Conservator
92The Art of HakaNew Zealand1962A colourful version of the haka Ka Mate, Ka Mate on canvasWhiti te ra, 1962 by Paratene Matchitt Riria Hotere & Megan Tamati-Quennell, Curator
933D PhotographyNew ZealandCurrent3D photography at Te PapaNot found in Collections OnlineRiria Hotere & Norm Heke, Photographer
94New Zealand1867–1946George Hudson's insect collectionGeorge Vernon HudsonSimon Morton & George Gibbs, George Hudson's grandson
95Letter No. 1.New Zealand1831Earliest surviving letter addressed to New ZealandNot found in Collections OnlineSimon Morton & Dr Patrick Brownsey, Senior Curator
96Who Killed the Huia?New Zealand1904Was Walter Buller a prime suspect?Huia specimens Portrait of Walter Buller by Ethel Mortlock and Three Huia by J. G. KeulemansRiria Hotere & Dr Sandy Bartle, Former Curator & Alan Tennyson, Curator
97Caravan of LoveNew Zealand1930sA DIY love shack.CaravanSimon Morton & Kirstie Ross, Curator
98Sea floor discoveriesNew Zealand2009Cameras are sent a kilometre underwater to see what's lurking down there.Not found in Collections OnlineRiria Hotere & Vincent Zintzen, Researcher
99Pigeon PostiesNew Zealand1899–1903The original airmail posties.Pigeon Post stamps, covers, postcards and lettersSimon Morton & Dr Patrick Brownsey, Senior Curator
100A Seaweed PantryTiti IslandsCurrentThe hunting and storing of muttonbirds – a Maori delicacyPoha titi (muttonbird container) and Puffinus griseus The muttonbird or titiSimon Morton & Dougal Austin, Curator

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