Te Papa holds New Zealand’s national reference collection of fishes: the National Fish Collection. It is the largest and most comprehensive collection in the country, and it is also the largest collection of New Zealand fishes anywhere in the world.
There are over 2000 marine mammal specimens in Te Papa's collection. They consist of skeletal material (articulated and non-articulated), preserved animals or parts thereof, skins, casts and mounts of individual animals.
Lots of us care about saving the whales, but not many get as hands-on as technician Stephanie Ho. She’s spent the last nine months caring for whale bones in Te Papa’s collections. It’s a messy, smelly and painstaking job, but it’s protecting these important specimens for the future.
Reassembling bones: How to build a Hector’s dolphin
Navigating brittle bones and teeth the size of rice, Thomas Schultz, Collection Manager Science, reflects on putting a Hector’s dolphin back together for an exhibition that would tour North America for ten years.
Crabeater seals and their mysterious attraction to the Hutt River (the sequel)
About three years ago, vertebrate curator Colin Miskelly made the ‘rash’ claim that the best bet for seeing a crabeater seal in New Zealand was to visit the mouth of the Hutt River in Wellington Harbour – and wait approximately 25 years.