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Associates III is pleased to welcome Jason to our design team! He enjoyed a wonderful vacation down under exploring the North Island of New Zealand before transitioning onto our busy project schedule. One of the highlights of his trip was a tour of the Te Papa Museum.

“I took both these photos at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand. I was astounded and intrigued by the beauty of the natural paua shell inlay in the floor used throughout the museum. The Te Papa museum is considered to be New Zealand’s best museum, and its collections celebrate the story of New Zealand from its geological formation, habitation, and development through to the present day.”

The following quote about the inlaid floor is from the Museum of New Zealand’s website:

Te Papa museum floor

“Throughout Te Papa, paua shell has been transformed into a distinctive design feature – a border strip that stretches over 650 metres of flooring. The shell originally came from the coast at Riverton in Southland. Through a clever (and secret) process, the shell was flattened, cut into strips, and embedded in a resin coating to make it suitable for use as a floor tile. The paua tiles were cut into strips, and then laid in a pattern designed by Robin Parkinson.”

detail of floor

Because paua are unique to New Zealand, paua jewelry in particular expresses a distinctive Aotearoa feeling and reflects the South Pacific spirit. The Maori word Aetearoa is often translated as “the land of the long white cloud”. At a deeper level, some jewelers use this material to symbolize connections between sea and land in their work, or make connections between ancient and modern cultures.

If you’d like to read more, visit the museum’s website.