Issue 24 of Tuhinga showcases high quality scholarship at Te Papa, including articles on controversial installation art, East Polynesian artefacts and the smiling face of public health.
The issue opens with an obituary for John (Jock) Moreland, a marine biologist with a long career at the Dominion and later National Museum, known for his enthusiasm for popularising science and passing on his knowledge on to young naturalists.
The second article reports on excavations of the pa at Station Bay on Motutapu Island, near Auckland, a site of considerable archaeological research for more than 50 years due to its largely intact pre-European cultural landscape.
Don Driver’s artwork Ritual has been the subject of intrigue, anger and confusion for New Zealand audiences since it was produced in 1982. The third article looks at public responses to the work over time and its continuing iconic status.
A collaborative exhibition project, in which Te Papa invited young New Zealand refugees to co-create content for Mixing Room, is the subject of the fourth article, which discusses the project’s methodologies, aims, challenges and outcomes.
In the fifth paper, five ngatu (Tongan barkcloths) are discussed in terms of their material qualities, cultural and curatorial narratives, and how the terms now used to describe and differentiate between varieties of ngatu offer insights into how they are valued or conceptualised.
The sixth article surveys significant artefacts in Te Papa’s collection from the islands of East Polynesia, including historical associations with the eighteenth-century voyages of James Cook and the collecting of William Oldman. It outlines some instances of their display and Te Papa’s outreach and engagement with the communities from this region.
A pair of New Zealand stamps featuring a ‘Smiling Boy’ raised funds for public health camps in the 1930s. The seventh article considers the stamps’ design, aesthetics and iconography, as well as the political and cultural contexts of economic depression.
In the final article, a review of data for Puffinus shearwaters that nest in the New Zealand region reveals some trends and total population sizes. The authors also note a lack of robust information and make recommendations for future monitoring.
View the full journal here (PDF, 6.7MB)
Obituary: John Munne Moreland (1921–2012): Tuhinga 24, Alan Baker, Jack Garrick, 2013
John (Jock) Moreland was born in Wanganui in 1921, where he grew up and attended school. In 1950, after serving with the 3rd New Zealand Division in the Pacific and the 2nd Division in Italy during the Second World War, Jock joined the staff of the Dominion Museum (now the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa).
View the full article here (PDF, 130 KB)
Archaeological excavations at the Station Bay pā, Motutapu Island, inner Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand: Tuhinga 24, Janet Davidson, 2013
Excavations at the Station Bay pā on Motutapu in 1970–71 revealed a complex sequence, from a relatively extensive open settlement to a more compact fortification between about AD 1500 and 1800. Charcoal analysis portrays a largely scrub-covered landscape with only a few trees. Food-storage pits and faunal remains reflect a subsistence economy based on kūmara (sweet potato) cultivation and the harvesting of marine resources: shellfish from the adjacent rocky shore and both protected and exposed sandy beaches, and fish, predominantly snapper, from fishing grounds nearby. The few items of material culture are typical of Māori assemblages of the time.
View the full article here (PDF, 2.8MB)
Rites of passage: public response to Don Driver’s Ritual (1982) and its institutional history: Tuhinga 24, Sarah Farrar, 2013
For 30 years Don Driver's artwork Ritual (1982), from Te Papa's collection, has intrigued, angered and confused audiences. This text analyses documentation of the public response to the work and its institutional history from 1982 to 2012, and considers the impact of this chequered history upon Ritual's iconic status within New Zealand art.
Read the full article here (PDF, 1.6 MB)
The Mixing Room project at Te Papa: co-creating the museum with refugee background youth in Aotearoa/New Zealand: Tuhinga 24, Stephanie Gibson, Sara Kindon, 2013
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) represents the diverse cultures of New Zealand through community exhibitions. The Mixing Room: stories from young refugees in New Zealand is the museum's sixth community exhibition and focuses on young people from refugee backgrounds and their stories of resettlement.
Read the full article here (PDF, 1.7MB)
Polyvocal Tongan barkcloths: contemporary ngatu and nomenclature at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa: Tuhinga 24, Billie Lythberg, 2013
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) collects and exhibits Tongan barkcloth (ngatu) to illustrate curatorial narratives about Pacific peoples in New Zealand. I discuss the materiality and provenances of five ngatu at Te Papa, their trajectories into the museum’s Pacific Cultures collection and, where relevant, how they have been exhibited. I consider the role of Tongan curators and communities in determining how, when and which ngatu will enter the collection, and how Tongan identity will be imaged by the objects. The paper concludes with a close examination of contemporary descriptive and evaluative nomenclature for ngatu made with synthetic materials, including examples at Te Papa.
Read the full PDF here (1.3MB)
Collecting, exhibiting and engaging with East Polynesia at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa: Tuhinga 24, Sean Mallon, Grace Hutton, 2013
The Pacific Cultures collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) holds significant artefacts from the islands of East Polynesia, including the Austral Islands, Society Islands, Marquesas Islands, Tuamotu Archipelago, Pitcairn Island and Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
Read the full PDF here (3.2MB)
The 'Smiling Boy' Health stamps of 1931: Tuhinga 24, Mark Stocker, 2013
The 'Smiling Boy' pair of New Zealand stamps, named after the youth depicted on each value, was issued in 1931. The stamps carried a 1d (one penny) premium on their postage to raise funds for the burgeoning health camp movement. They bridge the gap between their charity stamp predecessors and the Health stamps of the future. The article considers their design, aesthetics and iconography, locating the stamps within their political and cultural contexts at a time of economic depression. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa has significant holdings of 'Smiling Boys' material, including Royal Mint die proofs and official correspondence, as well as specimens of the stamps and the promotional poster. These are among the sources utilised in this paper.
Read the full article here (PDF, 4.5MB)
Population sizes of shearwaters (Puffinus spp.) breeding in New Zealand, with recommendations for monitoring: Tuhinga 24, Susan Waugh, Alan Tennyson, Graeme Taylor, Kerry-Jayne Wilson, 2013
We reviewed population data for the nine taxa of shearwaters Puffinus spp. that nest in the New Zealand region. Data for about 350 current breeding colonies were found, and each taxon nested at between three and about 180 localities. We reviewed the information to assess time-series of information for each population and, where possible, to determine trend and total population size. However, few of the species had robust enough information to allow those assessments to be made. We recommend high-priority sites for future monitoring, and encourage other researchers to publish or make available findings from previous work to assist in building a comprehensive picture of the status of shearwater populations.
Read the full article here (PDF, 247KB)