Posts written by Kirstie Ross

Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, BA, DLitt, NZOM, 1925–2009

Alistair Te Ariki Campbell, Wellington based writer, 1979, courtesy of the New Zealand Herald Archive

Te Papa acknowledges the life and writing of poet, playwright, novelist, and memoirist Alistair Te Ariki Campbell. His work is noted for its attempts to reconcile the complexities and displacements he experienced as a result of his New Zealand/Cook Islands ancestry. Campbell was born in the Cook Islands and spent his first seven years there…. Read more »

New Zealand’s dinosaur expert passes away

  • Dinosaur toe bone found by Joan Wiffen
  • Dinosaur toe bone found by Joan Wiffen
  • Dinosaur toe bone found by Joan Wiffen
  • Dinosaur toe bone, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tonagarewa

Joan Wiffen, who found hard evidence that dinosaurs had inhabited New Zealand, died this month aged 87. I’m not a scientist, but I do have an interest in the history of science, and even I can see that Wiffen made historically significant and far-reaching contributions to scientific thinking. First findings In 1975, Wiffen found something remarkable in a remote stream… Read more »

1918 Influenza Pandemic

Influenza inhaler used during the 1918 pandemic

The spread of swine flu around the world has been dominating the media lately. Hopefully it won’t turn into a pandemic like the one that swept through New Zealand in late 1918. Originating in the northern hemisphere, this strain of the ‘flu killed an estimated 8251 New Zealanders over a period of about a month from mid-October… Read more »

War memorials for Anzac Day

  • St marys Church, February 2009
  • St Marys, Nelson, February 2009
  • St Marys, Nelson, February 2009
  • St Marys, Nelson, February 2009

To the left is a war memorial that I discovered in Nelson. It is on the grounds of St Marys Catholic Church in Manuka Street. I don’t know anything about this memorial and it’s not listed on the register of war memorials on NZHistory.net.nz. Any information about it would be gratefully recieved. It would also be great to… Read more »

Great War memorials

  • Collingwood memorial detail, February 2009
  • Memorial detail, February 2009
  • Memorial detail, February 2009
  • Detail of Collingwood memorial, February 2009

In February I was in Collingwood, a small town in Golden Bay at the top of the South Island. Like many towns and cities around New Zealand, Collingwood has war memorials dedicated to local men who died in both world wars.  My grandfather, who was born in Collingwood, was only eight years old when WWI started… Read more »

HMS New Zealand: ‘A grim and formidable fighting machine’

  • Postcard showing HMS New Zealand
  • Steeering wheel from HMS New Zealand
  • Steering wheel from HMS New Zealand, about 1910
  • Steering wheel from HMS New Zealand, about 1910.

One hundred years ago, Britain’s Royal Navy was threatened by the modern fleet being built by Germany. In March 1909, the New Zealand Premier, Sir Joseph Ward, responded to the defence crisis by promising that New Zealand would underwrite a ship for the Royal Navy. He declared: ‘We distant sons desire to stand in any… Read more »

Roses are red

Rose tile

Valentine’s Day and red roses are inextricably linked. Here is a bouquet of rose -inspired objects from our collections.

The End of World War I: 11 November 1918

Almost 250 objects and images related to World War I held by Te Papa can now be viewed on online. Curators have chosen items with sentimental value or connected to the home front and the war’s aftermath in New Zealand, as well as those associated directly with the conflict and overseas theatres of war. Find… Read more »

Trees as war memorials

Eastbourne Anzac Memorial Tree

Not all war memorials are monumental or made from marble. While I was reading Ann Beaglehole’s Eastbourne: A History of the Eastern Bays of Wellington Harbour, I discovered details of trees planted by the community to remember World War One (WWI) and those who lost their lives. In July 1916 two pohutukawa trees were planted… Read more »