Anton van Helden is the collection manager of marine mammals at Te Papa where he has been studying whales and seals for the past 22 years. Anton’s primary interest
is in beaked whales, for which Te Papa houses the world’s largest collection. He was involved in reinstating the extremely rare species Mesoplodon traversii, the
spade-toothed whale, and in the original description of a new species of beaked whale, Mesoplodon perrini, Perrin’s beaked whale in 2002. Anton has managed the
New Zealand Whale Stranding Database on behalf of New Zealand’s Department of Conservation and provides biological information to them to assist with decision making
during stranding events.
Anton was the subject expert for Te Papa’s internationally touring exhibition Whales Tohorä.
Apart from his day job, he has been a corporate entertainer for 23 years, primarily as a sleight of hand magician and improv comedian. Anton is also an illustrator,
cartoonist and musician.
Anton worked in the sub-antarctic for the summer of 1995 on the Department of Conservation Sealion project.
Here are some ways to get involved and stay up to date.