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Pātītī: a Fusion of Cultures

The pātītī, a single-handed weapon, represents a fusion of Māori and European cultures.

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Stoddart Cottage

The original cottage built by early Canterbury settler Mark Stoddart (1819-1885) at Diamond Harbour has recently been restored. It's been open at weekends between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm in May, so there's still a chance to see it.

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Natural History

Coast New Zealand

If you’re a fan of katipo spiders, watch out for Museum Curator Natural History Cor Vink in Coast New Zealand on TV One at 8.00 pm Monday night. The segment was filmed at a local stronghold for katipo spiders, Kaitorete Spit, the long finger of land that separates Lake Ellesmere from the Pacific Ocean. 


Selling the Dream

Selling the Dream is a collection of world-class tourism posters promoting New Zealand’s unique attractions in an age before television and the Internet. Created by some of the country’s finest commercial artists, the themes promoted through the posters reveal New Zealand’s developing national identity in the early twentieth century.

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Drum Beats of the Past

This drum, adorned with dancing figures, would have been used to set the rhythm for hula chants and dances. For Hawai’ians hula is more than just entertainment – it is a sacred experience originally developed as a way to honour the gods.

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Dead as a Dodo?

The Dodo was a flightless pigeon endemic to Mauritius in the western Indian Ocean. It became extinct within 100 years of the island's discovery, hunted by sailors and invasive animal species. The last widely accepted sighting of a Dodo was in 1662.

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Handmade in Papua New Guinea

Visit any marketplace in Papua New Guinea and your eye will immediately be drawn to brightly-coloured string bags, locally referred to as bilums.

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Māori at Tuahiwi

Check out the He Waka Eke Noa exhibition at Christchurch Art Gallery which includes objects on loan from Canterbury Museum.

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Fishy Tale

In 1926 the Canterbury Club on Oxford Terrace had a visitor turn up who was definitely not on the members list. 

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Musical Instrument?

We're trying find out more about this plosive aerophone, or slap tube, which was picked up in Central Africa during the 1869 expedition to find British explorer Livingstone who'd disappeared while searching for the source of the Nile. Can you help?

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1970s Chic

This colourful coat was worn by Mrs Felicity Aitken at a garden party in Christchurch in 1970. The garden party was in honour of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. The royal visitors were in New Zealand to mark the bicentenary of the discovery of New Zealand by Captain James Cook. 

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Polar Flag

Brown and threadbare, this fragment is from a flag erected at the South Pole on 17 January 1912. A poignant keepsake from Scott's ill-fated British Antarctic Expedition (1910–1913) it is part of the Museum’s world-renowned collection from the heroic age of Antarctic exploration and discovery. 

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Special Exhibition

Pioneering Aviator

Tourism and aviation pioneer Rodolph ('Wigs') Wigley wore a long leather flying coat with a fur-lined flying helmet to keep warm in unheated aircraft. Wigley, founder of Mt Cook Airlines, was a passenger on many pioneering flights including the first flight from Invercargill to Christchurch. 

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Fancy Dress?

This magnificent Elizabethan-style fancy dress was worn by Mrs Lucy Ellen Sykes Studholme to a ball at Government House in the 1870s. 

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Ed Hillary's sunhat

This simple cotton sunhat has quite a story. It has been to the top of the world’s highest mountain and is now cared for by Canterbury Museum.

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Back on top

The statue of William Rolleston (1831-1903) has been returned to its rightful place outside the Museum after falling off its plinth in the February 2011 earthquake.