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Mini exhibition showcases ‘insects of the sea’

Natasha Hill

Clever Crustaceans I Mawhiti Tino Rawe exhibition, explores the bizarre and diverse world of crustaceans.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

An exhibition called Clever Crustaceans I Mawhiti Tino Rawe explores the bizarre and diverse world of land and sea crustaceans, including a deep dive into the lives of five unique marine species.

Presented by Taihoro Nukurangi | NIWA and Te Papa, the collaboration is now at Te Whare Taonga o Waikato until December 3.

Dr Kareen Schnabel from NIWA helped deliver this exhibition to showcase the importance and special capabilities of these creatures of the sea which can change their shape, circle the globe, and maybe even cure cancer.

Schnabel says crustaceans have segmented bodies and exoskeletons just like insects.

“Crustaceans are arthropods… so I love describing them as the ‘insects of the sea’.”

She says the showcasing of an Ao Māori worldview compared to the Western view is interesting to see.

“There is a really interesting traditional Māori way of collecting and trapping freshwater koura juveniles, which is much more effective than our Western way of trapping them with other tools.”

Climate change adaptation

Te Papa Tongarewa Māori writer Tamahou McGarvey says scientists and indigenous cultures have their own unique perspectives.

“We should not solely rely on the translations of the words but rather examine the essence of these creatures according to indigenous perspectives.”

He says the ocean and air temperatures are rising, and that’s why lobsters’ exoskeletons have become more heat resistant.

“Their exoskeletons have also taken on a more resilient appearance.”

The exhibition will also tour a number of regional galleries around the country.

Hero image: The King Crab. Photo / R.Stewart/R.Stewart / NIWA

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