Posts written by Kirstie Ross

‘Bravest and best of scouts': Colin Warden 1890-1915

giants with rachael-39

This is the third blog in our series about the real people behind the eight Weta Workshop-crafted models featured in Gallipoli: The scale of our war. The previous two blogs have been about Spencer Westmacott and Percival Fenwick. This one focuses on Colin ‘Col’ Warden, shown in this pre-war photograph, which I think would have… Read more »

Amongst the many events happening this weekend during Wellington’s 150th birthday is the official unveiling of a plaque (below). The plaque commemorates 150 years since the founding of Te Papa’s predecessor, the Colonial Museum, and the role of James Hector in setting up and running the museum, amongst many other things. (Hector was an amazing scientific… Read more »

History curator Michael Fitzgerald introduces Lieutenant Colonel Percival Fenwick, the second, larger-than-life figure encountered in Gallipoli: The scale of our war. The 45-year-old surgeon’s despair is palpable, as leans over Jack Aitken on May 4th 1915, knowing that he has been unable to save the fatally wounded Canterbury infantryman. Fenwick (1870–1958) was born in London where he qualified as… Read more »

You can’t sink a rainbow

GH011827; Badge, 'If it's safe'; 1980s; Unknown; Plastic wrapped printed paper and metal badge; metal; printing; New Zealand

History curator Stephanie Gibson looks back to the 1980s, and an explosive event that shook New Zealand. Thirty years ago, on 10 July 1985, French government agents attached bombs to the hull of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior and sank it in Auckland Harbour. The French government had feared that the ship would draw attention to… Read more »

WWI case studies of courage and despair

Thirteen unidentified WWI soldiers mending boots at Oatlands Park England,1918

In May this year, Road to Recovery: Disabled Soldiers of World War I closed, after its ten-month-long display at Te Papa. This exhibition, which explored how New Zealand soldiers disabled by World War I were supported to regain their economic independence, included 8 sepia photographs of limbless soldiers demonstrating new work skills they were taught while… Read more »

End of the road

Untitled [portrait of a WWI soldier (Allan McMillan) with an amputated arm sitting at a desk at Oatlands Park, Surrey, England], 1918, England, maker unknown. Te Papa (O.031468)

Before or after visiting Gallipoli: The scale of our war, take some time to head up to level 4 to see The Road to Recovery: Disabled Soldiers of World War I. This small-scale exhibition contains sobering content showing the long-term impact of the Great War on individuals, families and communities. In the exhibition, eight large sepia photographs taken… Read more »

NZ’s WWI hospital ship and Annie’s autographs

Maheno signature embroidery, 1915. Te Papa

This embroidered cloth was created on the New Zealand hospital ship Maheno as it steamed its way north to Egypt in July and August 1915. The words stitched on it are actually the signatures of the ship’s staff and crew. Two weeks ago this Te Papa object was placed into its display case in Gallipoli:… Read more »

Wonderful days of holiday happiness

A rosebud for Fido , 26 December 1914, Hastings, by Leslie Adkin. Gift of G. L. Adkin family estate, 1964. Te Papa (B.022231)

Summer holidays are over. Some schools have re-opened and offices have filled up with workers returning to their routines. As for Christmas – well that feels like ancient history now. But you can relive past holiday happiness by reading these joy-filled diary entries written by Horowhenua farmer, Leslie Adkin, describing his Christmas break in Hastings… Read more »

A Princess’s present for Chrismas

Princess Mary's gift box 1914

The war that erupted in Europe in August 1914 was supposed to over by Christmas that year. This confident view did not stop Princess Mary, the only daughter of King George V (he appears on the poster below) and Queen Mary, from initiating a scheme to distribute Christmas gifts to the British forces fighting far from… Read more »