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New Children’s Book Dives Into The Mysterious World Of The Colossal Squid At Te Papa

The colossal squid is Te Papa’s most popular natural history exhibit. Now this mysterious deep sea creature is the subject of a beautifully illustrated new children’s book, launched with a full day of events at the museum last week.

Through engaging text and glorious illustrations – with rich design and three double gate folds – it tells the story of a colossal squid’s life, from hatching out of a tiny egg to escaping the jaws of a sperm whale and becoming the world’s biggest invertebrate. Side topics range from Te Papa’s colossal squid specimen to Māori exploration of the sub Antarctic.

Readers will discover how the squid survives in the deep waters of Antarctica, and will meet other strange creatures that are uniquely adapted to this hostile environment.

Like Te Papa’s Nature | Te Taiao exhibition zone, Whiti: Colossal Squid of the Deep weaves together scientific inquiry, mātauranga Māori and plenty of humour. It shows how all living things are connected – and how we too are part of the natural world.


Victoria Cleal has been a writer and editor at Te Papa for nearly five years, most recently working on the Nature | Te Taiao exhibition and several stories for the children’s TV series He Paki Taonga and its associated book.

Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Ngāti Kahungungu ki te Wairoa, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Irakehu) is a graphic artist with a diploma in Visual Arts (UCOL) and a Bachelor of Design (Hons) majoring in illustration from Massey University She illustrated several of the stories for the children’s TV series He Paki Taonga and its associated book.

Whiti: Colossal Squid of the Deep, written by Victoria Cleal and illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White. Published by Te Papa Press.

ISBN: 978-0-9951338-0-8, $29.99, hardback

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