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Solander, Sparrman, and the Anthropocene

Monday 25 November 2019, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

$15.00 – $25.00

Can we save the Environment, on a planet made unstable by humans?

Have you ever wondered why Te Papa came to hold an exceptional collection of botanical specimens and why their containers are known as Solander boxes?

In 1768 Joseph Banks invited a young Swedish naturalist, Daniel Solander, and botanical artist Sydney Parkinson to join his south seas expedition with James Cook. The party collected over 30,000 specimens of plants and animals, with Solander, a pupil of Carl Linnaeus, identifying and describing some 1300 species previously unknown in western science. In 1772 fellow Swedish naturalist Anders Sparrman, also a pupil of Linnaeus, accompanied Cook on his second voyage to New Zealand. Many of the specimens collected on these epic voyages are held in Te Papa’s botany collection, and others in Auckland Museum.

Two hundred years after Cook’s voyages, Parkinson’s exquisite coloured engravings of the plant specimens collected by Banks and Solander were printed and issued as Banks’ Florilegium.

What would Daniel Solander have said, confronted with the world of 2019? More than we might think! Come and hear Professor Sörlin explain how our understandings of the natural environment and the impacts of human activity have changed over time as new ideas and concepts have emerged.

Professor Sörlin is a member of the official Swedish Climate Policy Council, and long-term government advisor on issues of environment and research policy, and regular contributor to Swedish and international media. He is author, co-author or co-editor of numerous books, including The Future of Nature, The Environment – a History of the Idea, and Grounding Urban Natures.

Monday evening’s event is part of the Tuia Encounters 250 commemorations, celebrating Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pacific voyaging heritage and acknowledging the first onshore encounters between Māori and Pākehā in 1769-70. It is part of a week of special events being run in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden and the Taxonomy for Plant Conservation – Ruia mai i Rangiātea Conference, being held at Te Papa, 24–28 November 2019.

On 28 November there will be a panel discussion at Te Papa ‘The Politics of Collecting – from Banks and Solander to Today’. Check out the full programme here, including the panel discussion, workshop and wiki editathon:

Includes refreshments and free parking


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Monday 25 November 2019
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
$15.00 – $25.00
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Rangimarie, L3, Te Papa
Te Papa, 55 Cable Street, Te Aro
Wellington, Wellington 6011 New Zealand
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Friends of Te Papa
(04) 381 7051