In June 2023, three members of Tāmaki Paenga Hira’s Natural Science Team travelled to Fiji to work with the botanical collection housed at the South Pacific Regional Herbarium at the University of the South Pacific (USP).
This mahi was part of a Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) project, in which the Museum, the USP and the Ministries of Forestry and Agriculture of Fiji partnered to catalogue, curate and upload USP’s Natural Science collections to GBIF’s data aggregate platform. Our goal was to transcribe botanical specimen labels so it could be uploaded to GBIF.
We dreamed that we would be escaping Auckland’s endless cold and rain for a tropical Fiji work getaway; instead, we arrived to a windowless, enclosed, and air-conditioned collection area. Though it was warm outside, the collection room was colder than we expected (a pest and fungus control method), and it was raining outside the entire time we were there.
While we made steady progress with data entry for the botanical collections, we were yearning to see the rush of colourful tropical diversity, which was lacking in the dried, typically brown, botanical herbarium specimens. We finally got a taste of the real Fiji outside when we came out of the collection room briefly for breaks.
AK33918, Hypnea pannosa – Lumi- a cosmopolitan red algae that is used for gelling liquid.