Posts categorized as History

How Rita Angus landscapes inspired a Starfish collection

  • Text from Laurie Foon notebook
  • Heirloom workbook featuring fabric scraps and a postcard of a painting by RIta Angus
  • Text from Laurie Foon notebook
  • starfish-notes-1-1000wide

It’s not every day that you get to delve into the nitty-gritty details of a fashion label. Te Papa’s assistant archivist Gareth Watkins is going through Starfish’s archive, recently gifted to Te Papa. Read his first blog here. “It’s my product. It’s my vision. It’s my dream. It’s my life,” writes Laurie Foon, founder of the Starfish… Read more »

Cinematic Renaissance animation starring Ursula the bear

Bears Plate 3

Dr Mark Stocker, Curator Historical International Art, explores a highly unusual set of etchings which depicts a day in the life of a huge, shaggy, brown bear.  Meet Ursula… In a pioneering set of prints, the Flemish artist Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder (c. 1520–1590) chronicled a day in the life of a huge, shaggy brown bear… Read more »

An action-packed Anzac week: WWI, live performances, arts and craft, and fashion

S. Rosamond Praeger working on the decoration of the 
façade of the Thomas Andrews/Titanic Memorial Hall. Photo courtesy of Joseph McBrinn.

The forthcoming ‘Anzac week’ is going to be an action packed one for Te Papa, with a wide range of events on offer for both adult and family audiences that explores aspects of the First World War and beyond. Family theatre – An Awfully Big Adventure If you are looking for a family outing over Anzac Weekend, you might… Read more »

Meeting John Clarke, and cleaning Fred Dagg’s gumboots for customs

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Comedian John Clarke has died, aged 68, but he lives on through our collections. Curator Stephanie Gibson recounts the story of how Te Papa acquired beloved Kiwi everyman Fred Dagg’s iconic outfit. Te Papa mourns the passing of John Clarke. To many New Zealanders he is Fred Dagg. Fred Dagg appeared on New Zealand television in 1973. Only three… Read more »

America’s First World War posters

Poster featuring Uncle Sam pointing a finger the viewer. Text says 'I Want You For U.S. Army'

One hundred years ago the United States of America declared war on Germany and its allies on 6 April 1917. History curator Stephanie Gibson looks at American propaganda posters from the time, some of which were on display in New Zealand. In the months that followed the declaration, millions of dramatic, emotional and persuasive American… Read more »

Smokin’! When cigarettes and fashion went hand in hand

Before cigarette advertising was banned in New Zealand, Benson & Hedges enjoyed a close relationship with the fashion industry. Senior history curator Claire Regnault looks at the role tobacco played in the Fashion Design Awards. Turning dreams into gold Last weekend I travelled to Dunedin to attend iD Fashion Week’s famous railway fashion show and to see the exhibition When Dreams Turn to… Read more »

Makeshift money: Tokens in the Te Papa collection

  • A busy trading centre: Auckland in the 1850s. Hogan, Patrick Joseph, 1804-1878. [Hogan, Patrick Joseph], 1804-1878 :Auckland (Nouvelle-Zelande). Vue du nouveau quai - page 210 [Paris, l'Univers illustre, 1860]. Ref: A-438-012. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22371053
  • Coombes as depicted in Observer, Volume 5, Issue 130, 3 March 1883. He is holding a hose, as he was well known for hosing down the path outside his store to prevent dust.
  • Obverse of token issued by Samuel Coombes, New Zealand, minted by Thomas Stokes of Melbourne. Te Papa (NU002330)
  • Reverse of token issued by Samuel Coombes, New Zealand, minted by Thomas Stokes of Melbourne. Te Papa (NU002330)

Prompted by an enquiry from an independent scholar, history curator Katie Cooper has been researching a series of 19th century tradesmen’s tokens in Te Papa’s numismatics collection. Here she provides a brief history of this fascinating colonial currency. A shortage of change In the early 19th century a variety of foreign coins were circulating in New… Read more »

Elephants on your dinner table – looking at an old trade catalogue

Elephant (detail) from catalogue

Librarian Christine Kiddey browses for jelly moulds and other assorted household items in a trade catalogue from 1850. What do you do with all those trade catalogues and advertisements that come through your letterbox? You probably glance through them and throw them out. But imagine someone looking at those same catalogues a century and a half from… Read more »

In memory of Andrew Pfeiffer – Royal New Zealand Ballet’s ‘Master of the Wardrobe’

Andrew Pfeiffer - Wardrobe Master of the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Credit Susana Lei’ataua  Courtesy of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Senior history curator Claire Regnault pays tribute to New Zealand costumier and ‘Master of the Wardrobe’ at the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Andrew Pfeiffer. On Friday 3 March, Andrew Pfeiffer passed away at the age of 69 at Mary Potter Hospice in Wellington, surrounded by friends. Andrew, who was also known as Drew, or simply… Read more »

The global hunt for the original wandering albatross

"Chocolate albatross" in Vienna

Vertebrate Curator Alan Tennyson explores the history of the name of the wandering albatross and the hunt for the original specimens. The wandering albatross is one of the world’s greatest ocean wanderers, with individuals circumnavigating the Southern Ocean and travelling 120,000 km in a year. These albatrosses have been among the most high-profile of seabirds ever since… Read more »