Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


New display of specimens collected by Endeavour botanists

Plant samples gathered 250 years ago by the botanists on James Cook’s Endeavour expedition will be displayed in a new exhibition that opens Wednesday 30 October.

He Uru Hou: Our Native Plants brings together Māori and European ways of understanding Aotearoa New Zealand’s flora.

The plant specimens, on loan from the Allan Herbarium at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, were gathered in 1769 by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander. They are the oldest of the herbarium’s 620,000 specimens.

Banks and Solander pressed the samples to preserve them. After the expedition returned to England, the plants formed the basis of Banks’ Primitiae Florae Novae Zelandiae (beginnings of a New Zealand flora).

He Uru Hou displays the plant samples alongside tools, clothing, musical instruments and other objects made by Māori from native plants. These taonga illustrate the wide extent of Māori plant knowledge when the Endeavour arrived in 1769.

Exhibition Curator Cor Vink says that it is great that the 250-year-old plant samples were returned to New Zealand and that they still exist.

Banks and Solander were the first to analyse New Zealand plants using European scientific methods.

“Their samples are a reminder of a significant event in our history. We’re really grateful to Landcare Research for lending them to us,” he says.

Exhibition Curator Emma Brooks says He Uru Hou commemorates two cultures’ first encounters with the flora of Aotearoa New Zealand.

“The East Polynesian ancestors of Māori had faced similar challenges to Banks and Solander when they arrived here 500 years earlier and encountered many new plant species.

“By the time the Endeavour arrived, Māori had extensive knowledge of and a wide range of uses, many of them quite ingenious, for our native plants,” she says.

The coming together of Māori and European ways of interpreting our native plants is symbolised in the exhibition by Jo Torr’s 2006 artwork Pacific Crossings, an eighteenth-century European style coat and waistcoat made from tapa cloth and embroidered with native plant designs.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>

Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland