Posts written by Kirstie Ross

February 1988: This month last century

Twenty-four years ago, New Zealand Post announces that 432 post offices are to be closed (8 February 1988) The first post office was provided by the government in 1840. By 1900 there were 1700 branches servicing a population of around 800,000. They were sources of information, places where you could send a telegram, post a parcel,… Read more »

January 1901: This month last century

One hundred and eleven years ago, Queen Victoria dies aged 81 (22 January 1901). A profound sense of grief followed in the wake of the Queen’s death. This black-edged silk portrait was issued by a woman’s magazine so that readers had their own, personal memorial of the late monarch. Victoria’s death was reported widely in New… Read more »

December 1972: This month last century

Thirty-nine years ago, the last New Zealand forces withdraw from Vietnam (22 December 1972) New Zealand combat troops were in Vietnam from 1965 until 1972. This military support was underpinned by New Zealand’s defence obligations to the USA, an ANZUS treaty partner from 1951. Fewer than 4000 New Zealanders were in Vietnam over this period of seven-and-a-half years. It… Read more »

Carmen – ahead of her time

  • Close up of stamps of Carmen. Photo by Kirstie Ross
  • Close up of stamps featuring Carmen Rupe. Photo by Kirstie Ross
  • Close up of stamps featuring Carmen Rupe. Photo by Kirstie Ross
  • Envelopes from Carmen. Photo by Kirstie Ross

Carmen Rupe (1936-2011), a New Zealand transgendered entrepreneur, entertainer, and role model, passed away in Sydney this morning. Carmen was a pioneer of greater sexual tolerance, who came to prominence through the entertainment and nightlife options she provided for Wellingtonians during the 1970s. Taumaranui-born, as Trevor, Carmen graced Auckland, Wellington, and Sydney with her fearlessness, style, and entrepreneurial spirit. During… Read more »

November 1939: This month last century

Seventy-two years ago, the Centennial Exhibition opens in Wellington (9 November 1939) The 1940 Centennial exhibition was one of the many ways in which New Zealanders marked 100 years of British government. The exhibition, which was located in Rongotai, attracted over 2.6 million visitors over a period of six months. Below is a colourised view of the exhibition, taken… Read more »

Moustache accessories for Movember

If you are giving a mo a go for the first time during Movember, then here’s something you may not have considered before: how do you avoid getting a droopy, wet moustache while having a cuppa? In the late 1800s, magnificently moustachioed men (like Captain Watt above) dodged this dilemna by drinking from specially designed cups. These cups had… Read more »

October 1967: This month last century

Forty-four years ago pubs were no longer legally required to close at 6pm (9 October 1967)   From December 1917, hotels had to close at 6pm. This was supposed to be a temporary war-time measure. Opening hours were reduced to encourage workers’ efficiency.   This restriction partly effected the aims of temperance movement, an international initiative that… Read more »

King Dick slips into something a little more comfortable

  • Richard Seddon's Levee Uniform on display in Slice of Heaven. Photograph: Kirstie Ross
  • Te Papa installers putting back exhibition objects. Photograph: Kirstie Ross
  • Display case with Seddon's Civil Uniform removed from it. Photograph: Kirstie Ross
  • Richard Seddon's levee uniform trousers on a padded form

Slice of Heaven has been on open for a year now. This means that some of the light-sensitive paper and textile exhibition items have had their full quota of light exposure and have to come off display. This includes this majestic coatee, pictured above, that Premier Richard Seddon wore to grand royal events. Seddon had… Read more »

September 1954: This month last century

57 years ago the Mazengarb report is released (20 September 1954) In 1954, several shocking events occurred that fuelled a simmering panic about the activities and morals of New Zealand teenagers. These included revelations that some Hutt Valley teens were having sex. Over 50 local teenagers were observed congregating at elbe’s milk bar in Lower Hutt. There… Read more »

August 1945 – This month last century

56 years ago New Zealanders celebrate victory over Japan (15 August 1945) The photo below shows people celebrating VJ (Victory over Japan) Day in Wellington. It was taken by John Pascoe, who was employed by the government to photograph life in New Zealand during World War Two. The day marked the official end of the… Read more »