Wētā and spiders and snails, oh my!
Te Manawa's summer science exhibition has opened and it's brought all its friends with it.
In their hundreds, they've come to show visitors the secret world outside in the garden.
BUGS! Our Backyard Heroes will introduce some of New Zealand's unsung ecological champions, the creatures who do the hard work of making the environment run smoothly.
Many are preserved, gathered from collections around New Zealand – but many more are live exhibits.
Cockroaches, noshing on whatever they can find.
Wētā, safe in their tree-trunk hideouts.
The Avondale spider, still famous after her big Hollywood break 30 years ago.
Exhibition developer Gary Collins describes BUGS! as bringing the scale down to earth, to examine the things living there.
"We're looking at the beauty of these small creatures and the multifarious shapes, sizes and colours that they are," he says.
"We've got some stunning beetles and butterflies, alongside world record-holders like the giraffe weevil."
Gary wanted to go broad with the show's themes.
Next to information about insect lives and habitats, visitors can dress up as exotic creatures, design their own from lots of different parts, or discover how in the future insects may be our food.
Tasty snacks made from insects will be available in the Te Manawa shop for the adventurous.
The exhibition is on until May 2021; keep an eye on the Te Manawa website and Facebook page for all the cool bug-themed events and learning programmes that will appear.
BUGS! Our Backyard Heroes puts some of the smallest New Zealanders under the microscope and demonstrates how, behind the scenes, they make life as we know it possible.
It combines a wealth of fascinating information with fun activities and will repay repeated visits.
· BUGS! Our Backyard Heroes, October 17-May 2 2021, open daily 10am to 5pm. Entry by donation.