Royal fashion trend-setters

George III First Shirt, 1738. Linen. Gift of xxx,

When Prince George had his New Zealand playdate on 9 April his romper suit with sailboat smocked on the front, inspired parents to rush out and buy up the outfit by British designer Rachel Riley. Like many royals before his clothing both inspires and reflects the fashions of the time. A baby’s ‘first shirt’ in Te Papa’s collection,… Read more »

Royal highlights: bedrooms for the Duke and Duchess

In 1901 the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall & York, the future King George V and Queen Mary (for more on this royal couple see Mark Stocker’s post from last week), toured the Southern Hemisphere to thank commonwealth countries for sending troops to support Britain in the Boer War. As part of the New Zealand… Read more »

Homecrafted Royals

Out of all of the Royal memorabilia circulating in the world my favourite items tend to be home made. ‘Fanmade’ objects always resonate with me more than commercially produced souvenirs –infused as they often are with love and obsession. In 2012 the Merrick Girls gifted Te Papa a cushion,  intensely embroidered by their mother Nancy, who in… Read more »

Where have all the royal souvenirs gone?

Stephanie Gibson, Te Papa’s Curator of Contemporary Life & Culture writes: It was with great sadness last week that I read about the demise of royal visit souvenirs (‘No royal knick-knacks thanks, we’re Kiwis’, The Dominion Post, 1 April 2014). According to the journalist ‘tacky royal collectibles are becoming relics of a bygone age’. There… Read more »

Ivan Mercep (1930 – 2014)

Image of Te Papa from Wellington Harbour

It is with sadness that we farewell the distinguished architect Ivan Mercep who died this week.  As part of the original Jasmax concept group, he contributed extensively to the design of Te Papa that opened on Wellington’s waterfront in 1998. The new building, a major construction project,  was to house the new institution, Te Papa… Read more »

Granddad’s visit

The Duke of Edinburgh at Mt Victoria lookout, Wellington, 1975. Photograph by Brian Brake, 1956. Gift of Mr Raymond Wai-man Lau, 2001. E.4415. Te Papa.

Continuing our series of blogs to mark the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to New Zealand, I thought I would touch on one of the lesser known royal visits of the past, that of William’s grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, in December 1956. The relative obscurity of the visit was matched by… Read more »

Philatelic Princesses

  • Poster, 'The "Royal" Road To National Fitness!'; 1943; C. M. Banks Ltd.  Purchased 2001.  Te Papa
  • Princess Elizabeth, 1943.  Cecil Beaton.  Bertram Park Collection, The British Postal Museum & Archive, London
  • Two pence + one penny Health stamp, 1944.  Gift of the New Zealand Post Office, 1944.  Te Papa
  • One penny + halfpenny Health stamp, 1944.  Gift of the New Zealand Post Office, 1944.  Te Papa

Famous stamp collectors in history range from King George V to Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury. The 1943 New Zealand Health stamps feature prominently in the latter’s carefully arranged schoolboy album. Their triangular shapes carry novelty appeal, while their subject matter is charmingly distinctive: Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II (aged sixteen) and Princess Margaret (aged… Read more »

Royal Insights: The Royal School of Needlework

In celebration of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first Royal Tour of New Zealand, we have decided to dedicate a ‘Royal Tour’ length blog series to items in the collection which somehow relate to the Royal family and their relationship to New Zealand. I was going to start the week’s blog posts with a piece on… Read more »

Royal highlights: A portrait of Queen Mary

Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Mary, 1938. Elwes, Simon. Gift of the Women of New Zealand, 1939. Te Papa

  With the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to New Zealand, it’s the perfect moment to ask what some of Te Papa’s treasures tell us about our feelings towards royalty.  Lorde’s critical and irreverent take on the ‘Royals’ of her mega-hit song runs counter to the overwhelming royalty loyalty of our past… Read more »