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  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 »

Healing Te Papa’s Achilles Heel: George Dawe Redefined!

Dawe 1

Posh ignorance vs. best practice Art historians and curators can be obstinately wrong and obtuse even about great masterpieces. A notorious example is Leonardo da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine (c. 1490) which should really be called Lady with a Ferret, but posh ignorance prevails. The best practitioners in the field are never afraid to… Read more »

Long she reigned over us: Queen Victoria at Te Papa

  • Victoria 13
  • Victoria 12
  • Victoria 10
  • Victoria 9a

With Queen Elizabeth II’s lengthy reign (my entire lifetime, and more!) now overtaking that of Queen Victoria, it makes sense to look at some of Te Papa’s fascinating and diverse objects that relate to the earlier monarch and empress. I can’t hope to summarise what Queen Victoria was like – that requires not a blog… Read more »

“Carry on, boys” – The stories of Friday Hawkins and Rikihana Carkeek. Part Two: Rikihana Carkeek

Rikihana Carkeek. Taken from the supplement to the Auckland Weekly News 30 September 1915 p045

As part of a series of blog publications about the giants that feature in the exhibition, ’Gallipoli: the scale of our war’, and to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Chunuk Bair, I have been asked to write about the two Māori soldiers who are found in the Machine Gunners tableau in Segment Four:… Read more »

“Carry on, boys” – The stories of Friday Hawkins and Rikihana Carkeek. Part One: Friday Hawkins.

Friday

As part of a series of blogs about the giants that feature in the exhibition, Gallipoli: The scale of our war, and to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Chunuk Bair, I have been asked to write about the two Māori soldiers who are found in the Machine Gunners tableau in Segment Four: Chunuk… Read more »

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap! part two

  • detail Nayti The Saturday Magazine 1837
  • Two unidentified moko from the Blenkinsop Indenture. Deed of sale for Cloudy Bay from Te Rauparaha, Te Rangihaeata, et al to John Blenkinsopp October 1832. Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga (NZC133 24/1)
  • Deed of sale for Cloudy Bay from Te Rauparaha, Te Rangihaeata, et al to John Blenkinsopp October 1832. Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga (NZC133 24/1)
  • Deed of sale for Cloudy Bay from Te Rauparaha, Te Rangihaeata, et al to John Blenkinsopp October 1832. Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga (NZC133 24/1)

Stories from He iti whetū : Ngāti Toa portraits Ngā Toi Arts Te Papa: Kanohi Kitea Māori & Pacific Encounters THE BLENKINSOP INDENTURE The 1832 deed for the purchase of the Wairau valley from Ngāti Toa by Captain John William Dundas Blenkinsop. part two http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22396639 At the heart of the tragic 1843 Wairau Incident, mentioned… Read more »

Collecting childhood: Objects and stories from kiwi kids

Maya Shaw, one of the children in Te Papa’s Collecting childhood project, 2012. Maya donated her favourite dress and an amber bead necklace, shown in the picture. Photograph by Ken Downie. Te Papa

  One thing we all have in common is we’ve all been kids. Some of us still are. But have you ever wondered how your childhood experiences might provide insights into wider society? Studies into childhood provide information about changing ideologies around parenting, social welfare, education, health and wellbeing, as well as more general trends… Read more »