About our Pacific Cultures research

We seek to understand the local and global histories of Pacific peoples, and to document these stories through our collection.

Publications and digital media

Research areas

Documenting and interpreting Te Papa’s collections

We are undertaking a long-term project that involves surveying Te Papa’s Pacific Cultures Collection by island group to verify what is held. We seek to expand and share our knowledge about key artefacts, collectors, and histories associated with the collection.

A core part of our work is to increase accessibility to our research and collections. To make information accessible to the public, we:

  • upgrade records on Te Papa’s public collections database: Collections Online

  • publish our research in popular and academic publications

  • display objects from the Pacific Cultures Collection in new exhibitions.

Developing Te Papa’s collections

Since the early 1990s, collection development has increasingly aimed to represent the visual culture and history of Pacific peoples in New Zealand. The scope is broad and ranges from contemporary art and fashion through to new forms of weaving, tīvaevae, and tapa that migrants have brought with them to New Zealand.

As Te Papa develops its understanding of the global connections Pacific peoples are making with each other and the wider world, its collections will continue to grow to record these stories.

Our team

Meet our Pacific cultures team