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Parts Of Colossal Squid On Show At NPDC’s Puke Ariki Museum

Te Papa’s popular exhibition, Colossal Squid Ngu Tipua, opens at NPDC’s Puke Ariki Museum on Saturay (3 December) with parts of the rare sea creature on display.

Scientists from Auckland University of Technology examine the beak of a colossal squid, 2014. Photo by Norm Heke Te Papa (27225)

The Colossal Squid is so rarely seen that only eight adult colossal squid have ever been scientifically reported.

Now Puke Ariki Museum in co-operation with Te Papa, is set to reveal some of the fascinating science and wonderful secrets of one of New Zealand’s most significant natural history specimens.

Te Papa's Head of Natural History, Phil Edgar said, “in learning about this weird and mysterious creature we hope visitors will have a greater appreciation for life in the deep sea, much of which remains undiscovered”.

The Colossal Squid is one of the most iconic specimens at Te Papa, and while touring the complete specimen is impossible, some of the important parts of the squid has found its way to Puke Ariki.

Te Papa’s Curator of Invertebrates Dr Rodrigo Salvador explains how important the Colossal Squid has been for the science community, and how popular it has been among the public.

“Te Papa’s Colossal Squid has been a major source of information for scientists and the museum’s most popular exhibit since its debut. They live in the deep Antarctic waters and despite being one of the largest invertebrate species in existence, they are very rarely captured.”

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Colossal Squid Ngu Tipua centres around an interactive table displaying many different objects including the lens from an eye of the Colossal Squid, part of a tentacle, and a complete tiny squid; the miniature of its colossal relative. Touchable rotating models of a squid’s tentacle hook and the Colossal Squid's beak are also on display.

The exhibition also displays two documentaries which show life in the depths of the Southern Ocean, and how the most complete Colossal Squid ever found ended up at Te Papa.

Puke Ariki Museum Manager Colleen Mullin says visitors to the exhibition are in for a rare treat this summer.

“How freaky and fun to be able to get up close to some features of a colossal squid.

“This is not your average calamari ring! We are delighted to host this Te Papa touring exhibition which highlights such a rare and important species as colossal squid. We think our museum visitors will really enjoy the fun and interactive nature of the show this summer.”

The public are also able to continue the experience and learn beyond the exhibition with a new Te Papa press book for children, Whiti: Colossal Squid of the Deep, and online Te Papa resources including a free downloadable Colossal Squid Activity Book.

Colossal Squid Ngu Tipua is developed and toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and on at Puke Ariki through to 19 March.

More information and details on the exhibition what else is on at Puke Ariki go to our website pukeariki.com

Fast Facts

  • Puke Ariki first opened on 15 June 2003 and is the world’s first purpose-built, fully integrated museum, library, and visitor information centre
  • It has three long-term galleries.

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