Princess Mary's gift box 1914

The war that erupted in Europe in August 1914 was supposed to over by Christmas that year. This confident view did not stop Princess Mary, the only daughter of King George V (he appears on the poster below) and Queen Mary, from initiating a scheme to distribute Christmas gifts to theRead more

Not everyone loves traditional Christmas cake, but what’s not to love about these cute Christmas cake decorations? These miniature Santas are part of a collection of cake decorations associated with the Wellington bakery and coffee house Konditorei Aida. They would be more at home on a white iced, firm richRead more

Put those moustache cups away for another year, and splash on some bracing aftershave. Here are some shaving related items in Te Papa’s collections to inspire you Movember-ites to lather up and remove the moustaches you have tended over the last month. What about this shaving mug for the politically-minded moustache-remover, below. ItRead more

Pokerwork, or ‘pyrography’ if you want to be fancy, was one of the craft activities encouraged by doctors who supervised the recuperation of soldiers wounded during World War One. Generally, medical experts recognised the benefits of gentle, repetitive actions for damaged muscles. Squeezing the bulb of a pokerwork machine –Read more

Berry Boys exhibition on level 4 April-October 2014

Four of Te Papa’s ‘Berry Boys’ were amongst the 8500 men who left with the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 16 October 1914. These men, in their fresh uniforms, were draper George Hornig (above, in a photo taken in 1912), cabinetmaker Roy Houchen, and Frank Barber, fromRead more

Te Papa holds 28 sepia-toned photographs taken of New Zealand servicemen who were wounded during World War I. None of the men in these photographs are identified. However, thanks to Julie Gemmell of Waikouaiti, we now know that one of the men in two of these photos is William Clement Gemmell, Julie’sRead more

 Gerald Gower (left) and Alfred Featherston Gower (right) are the two brothers who grace rather strikingly the cover of Berry Boys: Portraits of First World War Soldiers and Families by Michael Fitzgerald and Claire Regnault. The studio paraphernalia you see in the image above would have been cropped out inRead more

  ‘Limbie’ is a word you don’t hear today. It seems a bit blunt to us now but, during and after World War I, it was an acceptable, informal term used to describe a limbless soldier – an ex-serviceman who lost a limb in the conflict. (Over 1000 New ZealandRead more

Early enlister John Jessen (above) was the first of the soldiers photographed by Berry & Co to enlist for service. The 23-year-old signed up on 8 August 1914, just two days after the Defence Department invited single men between the ages of 20 and 35, weighing not more than 12Read more

New Zealand’s Governor, Lord Liverpool, announced the state of war with Germany under the central arch on the steps of Parliament (see above) on 5 August 1914. People assembled there to hear the news responded with ‘a cheer that displayed the tense emotions of the crowd…Hats and hands were raisedRead more