Hero’s uniform

Uniformity: Cracking the dress code  has just opened on level 4 of  Te Papa in the Eyelights Gallery.  This time we’ve focused on uniforms, the influence of uniforms on fashion, and elements of uniformity in the way people dress.

Lance Corporal Willie Apiata on duty in Afghanistan, 2004. Photograph courtesy of the New Zealand Army

A highlight of the exhibition is Corporal Willie Apiata, VC’s combat uniform from Afghanistan. Corporal Apiata helped us dress the mannequin, and the New Zealand Special Air Service made sure we got every detail right, including the weaponry which we’ve borrowed from a private collector.

It’s a first for Te Papa – to show a completely authentic soldier in active service mode. And it’s a great privilege to be able to tell Corporal Apiata’s story, as he is the first recipient of the Victoria Cross for New Zealand, our highest honour for bravery under fire.

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