Wow! The new Tohora – Whales exhibition at Te Papa is FANTASTIC! We went last week with Marrisa and Bethany, and then went back at the weekend with Daddy. There are some HUGE full skeletons and great cinematography. Charlotte was happy to stay for a couple of hours, whilst Sophie went in and out for food at the nearby cafe! A favourite with the girls was the model of a blue whale’s heart that they could actually crawl through the arteries and into! It was like a small cave! Charlotte also liked the touch-screen computer activities. One of them was learning how a dolphin’s body-shape and fluke size (tail) ables it to swim through the water. By changing the shape of the dolphin’s body, it’s fluke size and position of fins she could make it swim through the water and jump up above the surface of the sea. Another great interactive game was matching the head, body and tail of various dolphins, whales and porpoises and then learning about that particular species.
Charlotte recognised the Hector’s dolphin (Maui) as being the world’s smallest species and found only in New Zealand. This beautiful, little dolphin, with a rounded-dorsal fin is under-threat – particularly the North Island species. WWF-New Zealand, that I worked for in my pre-parent days, are very active in campaigning to seek better protection. We have ‘sponsored’ a Hector’s dolphin with WWF and so Charlotte is particularly interested in this species and proudly said, ‘Mummy, that’s like the dolphin we’ve ‘rescued’ and we called it Charli!’.
It’s a shame this exhibit isn’t free, as we’ll probably be going a lot! At least it’s free for children and at $8 per adult it is quite affordable – just not every day!