Now On


Bugs may have a reputation for being small, scaly and scary but creepy crawlies are actually superheroes in disguise!

This family-friendly, hands-on educational experience brings visitors face-to-face with some real live mini-monsters - ‘Eugene’, the giant poisonous centipede, and his friends the tree wētā, stick insects, locusts, crickets, cockroaches and Avondale spiders.

Explore the secret world of bugs and the vital role they play in our lives without us even realising it! Learn about the different native species of bugs in New Zealand and the sometimes precarious position they hold in the ecosystem due to threats from imported pests and environmental threats.

There are plenty of hands-on activities for youngsters to get involved in, including dress-ups, creating their own superpower bug, a huge picture puzzle and activity exercises to do from home. (download these cards below)

They can also learn how to become a citizen scientist and how bugs inspire those on the frontline of technology.

Come and discover how bugs really and truly are Our Backyard Heroes!


bug hotel


flowers for bees

ground weta

monarch butterfly

spotted snake millipede

start your own worm farm

stick insect

take a backyard bug census

make a weta hotel

who lives in your backyard


halo web.jpg

Interactive art installation The Halo Project will create a flurry at the top end of Trafalgar Street with the sights and sounds of native birdlife from 11 – 23 October, during the Nelson Arts Festival and coinciding with the last weekend of the school holidays.

Presented by the Nelson Provincial Museum in partnership with the Arts Festival, with proceeds going to the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, The Halo Project will see Wellington visual artist/painter Paul Forrest engage with the public as he creates artworks featuring photographs of native birds outside the Museum.

The installation is a collaboration with Auckland bird photographer Derek Tearne, and soundscape artist/birdman Matu Booth. Paul Forrest says the trio aim to celebrate the dynamic beauty of New Zealand’s native birdlife through contemporary visual art and sound. 

“This work celebrates not only New Zealand’s beautiful birdlife and the importance of our native birds, but also the halo effect created by sanctuaries like Zealandia in Wellington or in Nelson’s case The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. When native birds start migrating and breeding outside sanctuaries and nature reserves that is known as the ‘halo effect’,” he says.

Forrest has first-hand experience of the benefits of living close to a native bird sanctuary at his home in Newtown. “Zealandia Ecosanctuary has been predator free now for 17 years and in the last five years we have seen a dramatic shift. In my backyard I see grey warblers, tui, kereru, and even kaka flying overhead. I have birdsong all day. Wellington has become a city of the birds. The idea is to spread the message about the halo effect and how critical these predator free sanctuaries are for restoring native birdlife.”

Nelson Museum Chief Executive Lucinda Blackley-Jimson says Paul’s residency at the museum gives the community of Nelson an opportunity to engage with a working artist and to respond to the artworks message as it unfolds.

“As a museum we have many examples of extinct birds in our collection and we want to celebrate the importance of continuing to protect native birdlife in our city,” she says. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for our visitors, young and old, to learn about Nelson Tasman’s native species and the importance of protecting them for future generations. Taken together with our current exhibition ‘Bugs! Our Backyard Heroes’, visitors can really experience and celebrate our local biological diversity”.

Sanctuary Trustee Derek Shaw says, “We’re thrilled to be supporting this art installation that will bring native birds to Nelson’s CBD in a unique way. Paul Forrest’s work is very much in line with the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust’s aim to re-create an untouched piece of New Zealand where resident birds, reptiles and invertebrates will flourish.”

All proceeds from the sale of Paul Forrest’s posters and postcards will be donated to the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary to support its re-introduction programme for rare native birds. A second large art work featuring a rifleman by Nelson photographer Grant Stirling will also be gifted to the Sanctuary. An exhibition of Forrest’s artworks will remain on display in the public spaces of the museum until February 2018.

Nelson City Council is supporting the project through its Nelson Nature programme, by providing 200 native seedlings to give away to children. These seedlings are for children to plant in their backyard, enhancing habitat to help native wildlife thrive within the Nelson Halo.

In keeping with the native bird theme, actor Elisabeth Easther is reading from her new play Birds of a Feather about Nelson bird and environmental activist Perrine Moncrieff at the Museum on Saturday 21 October at 11am, koha entry. She is also taking part in Page & Blackmore Readers and Writers, part of the Nelson Arts Festival, on Sunday 22 October, which bird lovers may also be keen to support.