Russell Museum is presently preparing itself for the gala opening of a prestigious gallery exhibition which is transferring from Wellington direct to Russell Museum, opening on April 6th.

The exhibition is called “Paradise Lost, Daniel Solander’s Legacy” and references the Swedish scientist Daniel Solander (1732 – 1782), who sailed into the Bay of Islands with Captain James Cook on the Endeavour 250 years ago. Solander is most famous as a botanist, but he was a man of many parts. Paradise Lost is a collection of stunning graphic images, each capturing a different part of the scientist and explorer’s complex character and many achievements. They range from Jenna Packer’s mystical and magical landscape of huge palms dwarfing tiny figures below, and Michael Tuffery’s wildly-colourful, swirling depiction of Cook’s visit to Opoutama (Cook’s Cove), to Jo Ogier’s ever so delicate rendering of tiny Black Beech flowers and leaves.

“It’s not every day a top gallery from the capital transfers its exhibition to Russelll Museum.” says Russell Museum Board Chairman Terry Greening,”I’ve had a sneak preview and it’s fantastic, we are very proud to have it on show here.”

The exhibition is part of Russell’s contribution to Tuia 250, a series of events around the country each marking in their own different way their responses today to the visit of Captain Cook and the Endeavour two and a half centuries ago. The Swedish Embassy is also supporting the exhibition, which will tour other parts of New Zealand after Russell, then go on to Australia and finally to Sweden.

A pōwhiri at Kororāreka Marae next door to the museum, will be held to welcome the Swedish Deputy Head of Mission, Henrik Grudemo, and invited guests on April 5th. Daniel Solander is one of Sweden’s most famous sons; an internationally respected botanist he was famous for the invention of the specimen preservation method known as the Solander Box, it is still used today in museums and galleries; he was an explorer; an early conservationist and unusually for the time had a deep cross-cultural awareness.

As part of the official ceremony Herr Grudemo will make reference to the shooting that took place at Motuarohia (Roberton Island) on the 29th of November 1879, Cook, Joseph Banks and Solander were among those who fired their weapons on that day. There was no further bloodshed during the Endeavour’s visit to the Bay area.

The small Swedish community in Russell will be attending the pōwhiri and exhibition opening along with local iwi leaders and representatives. Children from Te Kura Kaupapa o Waikare and Russell School will be there in support.

Guests will gather on the waterfront outside Haratu, the Kororāreka Marae building,

for the pōwhiri which starts at 5.30pm.  

The exhibition will be open from 10 till 4pm every day until May 16th.