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In Māori mythology, hue (or gourds) are personified by the deity Hinepūtēhue, the youngest daughter of Tāne and Hinerauāmoa. It is said after the separation of Ranginui and Papatuanuku there was terrific fighting amongst their children.
My mahi in the Museum is financial accounting. Each day as I walk through the Nature gallery to my office I pass familiar taonga – kekeno (New Zealand fur seal), paikea (humpback whale) remains and kōura (crayfish) – that connect me back home to Kaikōura. Before moving to Dunedin I never lived more than a kilometre from the ocean and could either see it, hear it, was on it or in it.
The moa was a flightless bird similar to the emu of Australia and the rhea of South America. They lived exclusively in New Zealand and became extinct about 600 years ago.
A Kinikini is an article of clothing that was used by Māori. English translations refer to a Kinikini as a waist mat or a kilt, although Herries Beattie refers to some of his informants stating that it could also be worn hung from the shoulder, as well as around the waist.
This is a Toki Pou Tāngata or ceremonial adze worked from pounamu that is lashed to a finely carved handle. Toki Pou Tāngata would be used by rangatira on ceremonial occasions, such as the felling of trees for a waka or the poutokomanawa of a Marae, and was a symbol of chiefly authority.
Āwheto refers to both caterpillars and the vegetable like state of a caterpillar that has been infected by a parasitic fungus used by early Māori as pigment for tā moko, traditional tattooing.
I recently had the pleasure and honour to publish a study that investigated the vestigial dentition of beaked whales in the New Zealand Journal of Zoology. My research area is on marine mammal teeth, as teeth can help us decipher the animal’s age, its diet, relationships and interactions with the environment.
We have a silver Irish groat in our coin collection with the crowned initials H and A on either side of a harp. The H stands for Henry VIII and the A stands for Anne Boleyn. The coin dates from 1534–35. Henry and Anne wed in 1533 and Anne was executed in May 1536.
Otago Museum has recently purchased equipment to take high resolution sharp photos of our entomology collection and Kane Fleury, Collection Officer, Natural Science, is currently working on developing a system for imaging the small specimens.
*Dear Shakespeare* Although there is a bit of debate over the exact day William Shakespeare (1564–1616) was born (apparently there is a baptism record but not a birth record), the event is normally celebrated on 23 April. He died on the same day 52 years later, 400 years ago. It is words that we usually associate with Shakespeare: the language of the plays and sonnets, new entrants to the English vocabulary and quotations used daily around the world. We seem to be nearly as enamoured of the characters he created as of the words he gave them to speak. His words have inspired countless works of arts, from paintings to films to...
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