Colossal Squid: Freaky Features! Te Ngū Tipua: Ngā Wāhanga Weriweri!

Because they live at extreme depths in freezing water, us humans know very little about the colossal squid’s life, they are very rarely captured or seen. Find out about different parts of the colossal squid using Interactive objects and rotating models.

The first scientific report of a colossal squid only came in 1925, when parts were discovered in the stomach of a sperm whale. Since then, only a few adult colossal squid have been reported, and only four have been recovered complete. Many, many other specimens are only parts recovered from the stomachs of whales, sharks and scavenging birds like the albatross.

Colossal Squid: Freaky Features! Te Ngū Tipua: Ngā Wāhanga Weriweri! centres around an interactive table displaying many different objects including the lens from an eye of the colossal squid, part of a tentacle, and a complete tiny squid; the miniature of its colossal relative. Touchable rotating models of a squid’s tentacle hook and the Colossal Squid's beak are also on display. 

The exhibition also displays two documentaries which show life in the depths of the Southern Ocean, and how the most complete colossal squid ever found ended up at Te Papa.

The public will be able to continue the experience and learn beyond the exhibition with a new Te Papa Press book for children, Whiti: Colossal Squid of the Deep, and our online resources including a free downloadable colossal squid activity book.

Tour schedule

Puke Ariki, New Plymouth 03 December 2022 – 26 February 2023
South Canterbury Museum, Timaru 02 September – 20 November 2022
The Nelson Provincial Museum Pupuri Taonga o Te Tai Ao, Nelson   26 May 26 – 28 August 2022
Waikato Museum, Hamilton 26 November 2021 – 16 March 2022

Hosting enquiries

Pat Stodart, Touring Exhibition Manager
Phone: +64 (0)4 381 7255