Te Papa: natural history hall

Location: Te Papa
Gallery: Natural History Hall

trying to get rid of these maori flax baskets for ms. rhonwyn i spent a whole afternoon wandering the labyrinth that is new zealand's national museum te papa. due to the "new" age interior design i have no clue where i hit in what order. so here i present one of my favourite galleries in the museum.

the natural history hall. this gallery was right in the middle of the museum, and has a nice HUGE entrance letting you know it's there (as you'll see in later posts not all the galleries are this easy to find!). this pic gives you an idea of what you'd see from the museum's secondary lobby.

in addition to the giant fake novelty fern tree there visible is one of the prime specimens of this hall...

the skeleton of a "pygmy" blue whale. now i'd heard of a blue whale before. in fact it's kinda hard not to have heard of one. especially given that we dinosaurs get compared to them all the time...

i just never knew that A. there was more than one type of blue whale and B. that one type would be smaller. i figured that would make it a type of fin whale. turns out that some blue whales are the same size as fin whales... not that, that makes them small or anything. this guy is still bigger than your typical sauropod (okay in length there's a competition, if it were in weight most whales are way bigger than sauropods).

it was nice seeing a skeleton this big again. i hadn't seen on this big since leaving canada (where most of the museums have a sauropod or two on display). of course there was much more to see in the place.

there's all sorts of other cool marine critters in the gallery. a new zealand swordfish (which is not overly different than a normal swordfish).

making this intro section all the cooler is the comparison of the swordfish to the whale. i can so see why swordfish aren't used to compare sauropods too.

though the other displays are pretty awesome, their not right next to a whale skeleton for comparison. so i didn't appreciate them as much as i should have at the time. looking back on the photos, and comparing to the other museums of new zealand i realize they were top notch.

the seas of new zealand diorama in particular was something...

well okay, the way undersized great white lost something with his downscaling. the other new zealand sea critters were impressive though (and if you think of the white pointer as a juvenile than he's impressive i guess... i mean a great white has to be small at some point... oh no! come to think of it i just pulled what everybody does to me there!!! oh no OH NO!!! okay he's really impressive! no matter HOW small he is!!!).

the model hector's dolphin in the ocean is about the same size as the great white shark model. only in this case the hector's is the right size. these poor guys are the rarest oceanic dolphin in the world, and are only found around new zealand...

as you move further into the back of the natural history you hit more free floating mariner critters who aren't in dioramas or overly connected displays.

the giant manta ray statue gets us back to the proper sizing of models (its funny how much a small version of the apex predator can throw you off a museum display... no wonder the tyrrell didn't want me in the main dinosaur hall...)

okay the thrasher shark they had in the middle of the open area of the hall made up for the disappointing great white. i had a bit of fun with this not real shark, and posed for this funny me eating a shark pic... like it?

towards the far end was the deep sea critter wall (which sadly didn't photograph well at ALL), and these nice statues of common dolphins... though i was both saddened and annoyed to learn they are anything but common in new zealand! that's both false advertising, and frankly kind of sad. their such pretty mammals.

the creepiest, but yet on some levels ubber cool, display in this hall and possibly the whole museum was the toothed whale case.

now it wasn't exactly a case. more like a glass walled room where dozens of toothed whale skeletons were mounted in very dim lighting (though these pictures make it look non lite at all). it as spooky, and yet neat. i felt bad that so many whales died to have their skeletons put on display (but i managed to cheer up finding out many of the beaked whales on display were found as dead bodies).

reaching the end of this gallery it was on to the next.

i realized that though it technically is was a natural history hall this one is more of an ocean hall than anything. as i'd find out throughout the rest of the museum it was because the majority of new zealand's well off animal forms live in the sea.

sadly the ones on land were in other galleries due to their being extinct, introduced, or worse endangered...

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