Posts written by Kirstie Ross

Berry Boys: First in, first served

Early enlister John Jessen (above) was the first of the soldiers photographed by Berry & Co to enlist for service. The 23-year-old signed up on 8 August 1914, just two days after the Defence Department invited single men between the ages of 20 and 35, weighing not more than 12 stone (76kg), to volunteer for… Read more »

Haere Ra Royals

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and George left New Zealand this afternoon for Sydney, Australia. The Cambridge’s departure was less scenic than the Duke’s grandparents’ at the end of January 1954. On that occasion, just over 60 years ago, the royal yacht, the SS Gothic, made an unscheduled visit to Milford Sound in Fiordland, on the… Read more »

A right royal board game

Here is the perfect indoors game for a rainy day during a royal visit. Produced in the 1800s, its playing instructions are long gone. But you can still test yourself to see how many British sovereigns you can name, from William the Conqueror to Queen Victoria.    

Where have all the royal souvenirs gone?

Stephanie Gibson, Te Papa’s Curator of Contemporary Life & Culture writes: It was with great sadness last week that I read about the demise of royal visit souvenirs (‘No royal knick-knacks thanks, we’re Kiwis’, The Dominion Post, 1 April 2014). According to the journalist ‘tacky royal collectibles are becoming relics of a bygone age’. There… Read more »

The ‘Berry Boys’ WWI soldier identification project: the story so far

The Berry Boys soldier identification project has progressed leaps and bounds since 2008, when a group of portraits of unidentified World War I soldiers first featured on Te Papa’s website to mark the 90th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice. Getting the ball rolling We were able to inaugurate the detective work required to… Read more »

June 1953: Last month last century

Sixty years ago, Queen Elizabeth II is crowned (2 June 1953) Only selected officials were invited into Westminster Abbey to witness the formal coronation ceremony, so thousands of people lined the route of the coronation porcession in order to see the Queen. Robert Buhler’s lithograph (above) depicts part of the crowd that watched the historic… Read more »

This month last century: May 1953

Sixty years ago, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain (29 May 1953) The two men’s mountaineering triumph came just a few days before Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. Their feat boosted the rejoicing that was already taking place throughout the British Commonwealth… Read more »