A large-scale model of a beautiful orchid mantis demonstrates her dazzling camouflage in the Display chamber.
Prepare to be mesmerized by the wonderful world of arthropods with Bugs, a fantastical bug-themed exhibition created by Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand and Weta Workshop.
Featuring ultra-detailed, larger-than-life models, hands-on activities, scientific specimens, and immersive experiences, Bugs encourages us to be curious about the insects among us—and appreciate the outsize role these tiny-but-mighty creatures play in the natural world.
Sensory advisory: This exhibition is a high-sensory environment containing significant lighting effects (including a strobe light located in the dragonfly chamber), sounds and music, and interactive media screens. View our interactive map for a sensory guide to all Academy exhibits and spaces.
You’re probably used to looking down at bugs. Get ready to look up! Bugs boasts an impressive array of extra-large insect models, including the enormous orchid mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) pictured here, a dragonfly (Procordulia smithii) in flight, and a venomous katipo spider (Lactrodectus katipo).
See dozens of fascinating insect specimens, including this wētāpunga (giant wētā), a colossal cricket native to New Zealand and the world’s heaviest insect, and learn about the cultural significance the giant wētā and pūriri moth have for New Zealand’s Indigenous Māori people.
Tap into the power of the swarm to defend a Japanese honey bee hive from invading hornets, and see how your speed and camouflage skills stack up against insect challengers in a variety of hands-on games and crafts.
Enter the Flight chamber, where a huge, hypnotic zoetrope uses 3-D printed models to show a dragonfly in flight pursuing its prey. After your aerobatic adventure, investigate cutting-edge technologies inspired by bugs, from nanostructures to robotics to swarm intelligence.
All photographs on this page by Mike O’Neill © Te Papa 2016
Bugs is open daily through January 22, 2023. Find it in the Forum Gallery on Level Two, directly above the Academy Café.