Posts categorized as History

Threading history through the Aloha shirt: From Hawai‘i to Aotearoa

Aloha shirt

The Aloha shirt is an iconic Hawaiian taonga (treasure) with a rich history and layers of meaning. Assistant Pacific Cultures curator Sonya Withers explores the stories in their designs. If there is any culture across the Pacific rim that can naturally produce clever combinations of colours and the romantic scenery of their islands through the wardrobe of fashion it… Read more »

A plastered pastoral for Christmas

  • Pan and Syrinx
*oil on panel
*40,3 x 61 cm
*ca 1617
  • Studies of nose mouth
  • José_Ribera
  • Ribera nativity

Dr Mark Stocker, Curator Historical International Art, looks at a remarkable print of drunken excess in the collection by 17th century Spanish artist Jusepe de Ribera. In my previous Christmas blogs, I have focused on art works that emphasise the spiritual: Madonna and Child and Adoration themes in Te Papa’s collection, New Zealand’s early ‘Old… Read more »

Collecting the spirit of Hawai‘i through aloha shirts

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  • Kealopiko's Pua Aloalo shirt. Te Papa.
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New Zealand and Pacific collections intern Sonya Withers and history curator Claire Regnault recently travelled to Hawai‘i where they collected 83 aloha shirts with a focus on indigenous Hawaiian designers. Claire Regnault reflects on the connection these designers have with their natural environment and how this inspires their designs. Why aloha shirts? In October, Sonya Withers… Read more »

How a museum mount maker secures the nation’s treasures

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Lots of works goes on behind the scenes to get objects ready for exhibition. Mount maker Callum Strong is tasked with creating mounts to display and protect the nation’s treasures. Here he explains the efforts that went into displaying the hīnaki, or eel trap, in our latest iwi exhibition, Ko Rongowhakaata: The Story of Light… Read more »

Five things you never knew about Rodin

Rodin walking dogs

Art curator Mark Stocker highlights five fascinating facts you probably didn’t know about the great French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) enjoyed a 20-year reign until the end of his life as the world’s most famous artist  – not just sculptor. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death, I am giving a public lecture on… Read more »

Fate of the Berry Boys and the ‘disastrous fiasco’ of Passchendaele

  • El Mariscal de Campo Sir Douglas Haig, circa 1918, Spain, by Francis Dodd. Te Papa (CA000316/001/0017/0001)
  • Three portraits each on one negative of William Horace James and Gertrude Miriam James., 1915, Wellington, by William Berry. Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (B.045525)
  • Portrait of Francis Edward Beaufort, 1917, Wellington, by William Berry. Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (B.045050)
  • Portrait of Harry Luckman with Ellen Luckman and baby Harry George Luckman, 1917, Wellington, by William Berry. Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (B.043586)

The death of over 840 troops over a single day during the Battle of Passchendaele, compounded by a further 1,860 wounded, was a low point in New Zealand’s military contribution to WWI, 100 years ago today. History curator Kirstie Ross outlines the impact of the battle on seven New Zealand soldiers, all of whom were photographed… Read more »

The Fall of Singapore: The story of the Pether family

Kathleen and Harold Pether standing on a neighbour’s balcony, 1947–1948. Their home on Bukit Timah Road is in the background. Photographer unknown. Reproduced courtesy of the Pether family.

On 23 September an exciting new exhibition opened at the National Museum of Singapore called Witness to War: Remembering 1942. Ten objects from Te Papa were sent to Singapore to be featured in the exhibition. In this blog history curator Katie Cooper shares the story of the Pether family, and explains how they witnessed the war…. Read more »