Posts categorized as History

Buongiorno! Ecco l’arte italiano! Italian Art at Te Papa

Marco Ricci

Ciao a tutti! Dr Mark Stocker, Curator Historical International Art, takes a look at some of the fascinating and beautiful Italian art that’s in Te Papa’s collection. Marco’s journey takes us from Venice to Naples, and through 300 years of history. Andiamo – let’s go! I need zero excuses to explore and celebrate historical Italian art… Read more »

Old new money: New Zealand’s decimal currency turns 50

Practice money, $1 note, 1967, New Zealand, by Decimal Currency Board. Te Papa (GH023090/8)

History curator Kirstie Ross looks back 50 years to July 1967 when the contents of New Zealanders’ pockets and purses changed radically after the country shifted from pounds, shillings, and pence – to dollars and cents. Going decimal In 1963, the government decided that the country would decimalise its currency. James Berry designed the new notes… Read more »

Award-winning garments from the rag pile

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  • 1780s-style dress pieced together from an unpicked 1730s dress. Te Papa (PC002687)
  • Opera cape made in the 1920s from a 1910s skirt. Te Papa  (PC003668)

Before you throw out your tired bits of clothing, consider giving them new life through upcycling. Senior history curator Claire Regnault highlights a collection of garments acquired by Te Papa in 2015 that are made from material originally destined for landfill. Recently I attended an illustrated talk by Beth Brown-Reinsel, an American practitioner and writer who… Read more »

The heaviest, smallest, oldest, and smelliest books in our library

small-book-parrot-2017-te-papa-2000

Our Research Librarian Martin Lewis, aka @RareBookGuy, takes a look at some of the more unusual questions he has received on tours of the Te Papa library collection. Part of my role at Te Papa includes giving tours, working with school groups, and hosting visiting researchers. You can never predict what visitors will ask on a tour,… Read more »

Xena’s costume goes on display in Christchurch

Claire Regnault, Senior Curator New Zealand Culture and History, talks about the legacy of Xena: Warrior Princess and a new exhibition in Christchurch, We Could Be Heroes: The gods and heroes of the ancient Greeks and Romans, where her costume is currently starring until Oct 2017. The history of Xena In 1995 a new heroine, tormented… Read more »

Brian Brake’s life story told through his passports

New Zealand Passport of Brian Brake

Archivist Jennifer Twist looks at photographer Brian Brake’s passports and discovers how much of one’s life can be revealed through them. A life few can imagine Brian Brake was a Magnum photographer, a cameraman, and director with the National Film Unit (1949–1955). Brake worked as a freelance photographer in Europe, the United States, the Middle East,… Read more »

Peace and symbolism: Nuclear-free New Zealand, 30 years on

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament symbol - black on white

Thirty years ago today the ground-breaking New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987 became law. New Zealand became the first Western-allied country to officially ban nuclear-armed and powered warships from its territory. History curator Stephanie Gibson looks at iconic symbols from the time. It took decades of activism to get to this point…. Read more »

The missing Military Cross from the Battle of Messines

  • Ruins of a building, Messines, during World War I. Photograph taken 1917 by Henry Armytage Sanders. Ref: 1/2-012778-G, Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association New Zealand official negatives, World War 1914-1918: H Series negatives, PAColl-5311-3, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington
  • Uniform sleeve (partial), cap badge and hat pins, 1914-1918, New Zealand, maker unknown. Gift of Marianne Abraham, 2010. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (GH016805)
  • Doll, Soldier, 1914-1916, New Zealand, by Dorothy Broad. Purchased 2009. © Te Papa. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (GH016389)
  • Officer’s medal stripes, 1914-1918, New Zealand, maker unknown. Gift of Marianne Abraham, 2010. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (GH016807)

Wyville Rutherford’s ‘conspicuous gallantry’ during the Battle of Messines won him a Military Cross. But the medal, like Wyville, didn’t make it back to New Zealand. History curator Kirstie Ross shares details of Wyvillle’s WWI experiences and a unique group of mementos that survived him instead. Wyville Rutherfurd (sometimes spelled Rutherford) was awarded a Military… Read more »