Posts categorized as Textiles

Very rare indeed: a Malawian dance garment

  • Hair fibers from each respective sampled area, GH024606; shown at 200x magnification. Image copyright Te Papa.
  • GH024606, detail of skins used to make the garment. Image copyright Te Papa.
  • Images of hair fibers removed from GH024606 showing exterior scale patterning and the structure of the interior. Images by A. Peranteau, copyright Te Papa.

Witchy tale In 1936, the Dominion Museum was given a gift so rare and strange that it made the news.  Described in the Auckland Star and in museum records as a “witch doctor’s outfit”, the garment was subsequently displayed for many years in the Buckle St building that opened that same year.   During an… Read more »

Lecture by visiting fashion historian Alexandra Palmer

Alexandra Palmer

On Tuesday 9 February, 2016 at 6pm Dr Alexandra Palmer of the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada will present a lecture at Massey University, Wellington on ‘Frock coats, redingotes and Dior: Fashion in the Royal Ontario Museum 1909-2016’. The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is similar to Te Papa in that its collections span the intertwined worlds of natural history and… Read more »

Call for papers: Costume & Textile Association of NZ symposium

Nature Now The Costume & Textile Association of New Zealand is calling for papers for their 2016 symposium, the theme of which is Nature Now. The symposium will take place 7-8 July 2016 at Massey University, Wellington. The natural world has long been a source of raw materials for textiles and clothing, from dyes to… Read more »

Poster Balls: a new ‘species of fancy dress’

In September 1900, a new type of fund-raising ball caused a sensation in Australia, and made headlines across New Zealand – it was called a ‘Poster Ball’. While one reporter described it as a new ‘species of fancy dress’, another accurately called it ‘a new phase of advertising’. It was a novel combination both. In October 1900 this image from a Poster… Read more »

  Last week a small dazzling selection of headdresses belonging to Carmen Rupe (1936 – 2011), went on display at Te Papa. Carmen was a legendary transgender performer and brothel owner – the headwear represents her more flamboyant side.   Each headdress is part of an ensemble, specially selected by Carmen for Te Papa’s history collection…. Read more »

Te Papa’s international textiles – Nigeria to New Zealand

East & West Missionary Exhibition label attached to one of the curios displayed there

East & West Missionary Exhibition A survey of the costume and textiles Te Papa’s International History collections now underway has shown that many of our collections from Africa and Asia retain links with an exhibition held almost 90 years ago.  In most instances, they have not been exhibited since then.  I’ve become fascinated by these… Read more »

Captain Cook’s inspirational waistcoats

Alison Larkin's replica of Captain Cook's waistcoat on display at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby, 2015. Photo courtesy of Alison Larkin.

Te Papa’s Captain Cook waistcoat During Te Papa’s recent ‘Open House’ weekend many visitors on the Costume & Textile Store tour were captivated by Captain Cook’s waistcoat, or at least a waistcoat reputed to have been worn by the great explorer. The beautifully embroidered waistcoat is said to have come from a house where James Cook once stayed.  The… Read more »

One out of the glory box – An itsy bitsy teenie weenie….

Betty Curnow's bikini as worn on Shoal Bay during the 1950s. 
Photograph courtesy of Anna Miles.

Well not quite yellow polka dot but a bikini made from a shirt worn in one of New Zealand’s most iconic portraits. This treasured textile was shared by Auckland art dealer, Anna Miles, and is one of many images shared on Instagram and Twitter using our hashtags #Tivaevae #Textiletreasures   This bikini top belonged to… Read more »

The Lethbridge Sisters – inspiring designers a century on

Students from Massey Univesities

The industrious Lethbridge sisters Earlier this year Te Papa was approached by Red Strand Design. Based in Cork and London, the company specialises in design-based cultural and education projects. They invited us to take part in Passion & Legacy, a project inspired by the incredible stitch work of the ‘Lethbridge Sisters’, Julia Baroness Carew (1863-1922) and Lady Jane Cory (1865-1947)…. Read more »

AIDS Memorial Quilt and Candlelight Service – an invitation

This coming Sunday, 17 May, Te Papa is hosting the Wellington AIDS Candlelight Memorial Service. The Candlelight Service is an international event that takes place globally each May to honour those who have departed, and to raise awareness of issues facing those living with HIV world-wide. The service has been taking place every year since 1983, led… Read more »