Posts categorized as History

Le vaiaso o le gagana Sāmoa (Sāmoan language week): Inspired inscriptions – mama (rings)

To celebrate le vaiaso o le gagana Samoa (Sāmoan language week) 26-31 May 2013, the Pacific Cultures curators are highlighting stories related to cultural treasures from Sämoa. European style rings, bracelets and brooches are popular forms of personal adornment made in Sāmoa from at least the 1920’s to the present day. They were typically constructed… 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 »

April 1913: This month last century

100 years ago HMS New Zealand arrives in New Zealand (12 April 1913) In March 1909, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Sir Joseph Ward announced that ‘the Dominion’ (New Zealand) was offering ‘the Motherland’ (Britain) the ‘free gift of … a first-class battleship’. The Prime Minister thought that his offer to pay for a ship would… Read more »

Kiwi Faces of World War I – Anzac Day update. We have reached over 60 identifications!

To mark Anzac Day tomorrow, here is an update on our ‘Kiwi Faces of World War I’ soldier identficiation project. We now identified more than 60 men out of the 110 World War One soldiers who were photographed by the Wellington photography studio Berry & Co. Most of these identifications have been based on detective… Read more »

March 1940 – This month last century

73 years ago Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage dies (27 March 1940) Mickey Savage, as many New Zealanders fondly referred to him, was the country’s first Labour Prime Minister. Australian-born Savage had arrived in New Zealand in 1907. He became the Labour MP for Auckland Central electorate in 1919. Labour’s win 16 years later was… Read more »

Sweden and modernism in New Zealand: identifying connections

  • Webbing provided comfort for the sitter within the bentwood laminated structure
  • The ‘jon jansen’ stamp appears on the inside of the back rail
  • Impressed marks show the signature of Mathsson and the manufacturer DUX
  • Work Chair by Bruno Mathsson

When Te Papa purchased Easy Chair two years ago, we acquired it for its associations with modernism and with the Auckland store jon jansen. But we wanted to verify the designer. Detailed research – surveying design publications, comparing similar chairs, identifying woods – finally led me to the original Swedish designer. Jon jansen made and… Read more »

February 1943: This month last century

70 years ago, 48 Japanese prisoners of war are killed during a riot at the Featherston prisoner of war camp (25 February 1943) From 1942, Japanese prisoners of war were brought to New Zealand and interned at the camp at Featherston, in the Wairarapa. This camp had previously been used as a military training camp during WWI. The… Read more »

The Canterbury earthquakes: a small act of kindness

  • This Too Will Pass by Sarah Read, 2012. Te Papa.
  • this-too-pc2
  • this-too-pc2
  • This Too Will Pass ny Sarah Read

12.51pm today marks the second anniversary of the 6.3 earthquake that caused severe damage and resulted in the loss of 185 lives in Christchurch and its suburbs, with many more injured and displaced. Two years on the citizens of Canterbury are still struggling to rebuild their city and lives. While stories of frustrations with bureaucracy… Read more »

January 1900 – This month last century

St Joseph’s Home for Incurable opens 113 years ago (29 January 1900) This home for so-called ‘incurables’, in Buckle Street, Wellington, was an initiative set up by Reverend Mother Mary Joseph Aubert, with the help of Catholic nuns, the Daughters of Our Lady of Compassion. Mother Aubert was the founder of this religious congregation, in… Read more »

Hunting henriettas on Ruapuke Island – on the tail of New Zealand’s first mice

Henrietta Bay on the south coast of Ruapuke Island. The cannon is claimed to have come from the Elizabeth Henrietta. Photo: Colin Miskelly

Few people are aware of Ruapuke Island. Guarding the eastern approaches to Foveaux Strait, the 1600 ha island is large enough to appear as a smudge of colour at the very bottom of TV3’s weather map. Yet the island’s low relief means that passengers on the Stewart Island ferry 20 km to the west barely… Read more »