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Jewelled: Adornments from across the Pacific
On Location with New Zealand Geographic
Body Odyssey offered families the opportunity to explore the science of the human body in a fun, hands-on way. It was designed to stimulate children and families to have a sense of awe and admiration for their bodies.
Visitors to Body Odyssey learned hundreds of weird and wonderful facts. They found out important life-saving stuff about eating well, staying healthy, and keeping bugs at bay, with lots of interactive games along the way.
Although Body Odyssey encompassed the whole body, it focused on key areas such as the digestive, respiratory, and blood transport systems, and looked at how they work together to accomplish amazing tasks.
The exhibition addressed health issues of immediate concern in many countries today, such as asthma, childhood obesity, and the relationship between emotional well-being and physical health. Research has indicated that children misunderstand many of these fundamental health issues. Body Odyssey aimed to increase their understanding in an enjoyable and interactive way.
Body Odyssey was generously funded by Merck & Co Inc, a world pioneer in medical research and education.
Jewelled: Adornments from across the Pacific was a journey through the richness and diversity of Pacific adornment – from Papua New Guinea to the Marquesas Islands, from Hawai`i to New Zealand, from traditions of craft thousands of years old to designs of the 21st century.
The precious materials of the Pacific come mostly from living things rather than being metals or gems. Plants and animals are the sources of wood, fibres, shell, feathers, bone, and ivory. Pacific peoples have been making adornments from these materials for several thousand years.
The exhibition contained adornments for the head, neck, waist, hips, arms, wrists, knees, and ankles, as well as ear and nose ornaments. The latter are found throughout the Pacific – piercing has been a Pacific practice for centuries. Men, women, and children all wear jewellery, but in the past it was usually men who dressed up in special finery, including elaborate headdresses, on ceremonial occasions.
However, Pacific jewellery is much more than simple adornment. It can show the status of the wearer. Some ornaments can be worn only by an important person. Others can be worn by anyone, including children. They can also serve as currency of known value.
Jewellery cements bonds between family members or communities. Much of its value lies in its association with those who made it and those who have cared for it. Adornments are cherished as heirlooms – sometimes they are buried with the dead.
Te Papa and New Zealand Geographic formed a partnership to create On Location with New Zealand Geographic – a stunning exhibition celebrating a decade of the magazine. The exhibition contained startling and iconic images that enabled visitors to see New Zealand’s natural environment and its people, as well as those of the South Pacific, close up and in living colour.
The images encompassed a marvellous array of themes, creatures, and activities, and covered an enormous area – from the frozen Ross Sea in Antarctica to the tropical Tokelau Islands in the South Pacific.
Large, striking photographs depicted the grandeur of New Zealand’s landscape, the diversity of our natural environment, and the incredible personality of our people. Images were juxtaposed in original and humorous ways that enabled visitors to the exhibition to see the country with fresh eyes.
An in-depth information area allowed exploration of New Zealand Geographic in more detail. An audio-visual display allowed viewers to meet the people behind the magazine and hear some of the amazing ‘stories behind the stories’.