26 years ago the Homosexual Law Reform Bill is signed into law by the Governor General (11 July 1986) This historic piece of legislation, introduced by Labour MP, Fran Wilde in March 1985, decriminalised sexual relations between men aged 16 years and over. This was after a close vote inRead more

25 years ago the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act is passed (8 June 1987). This legislation was a flash point in the history of New Zealand’s international relations. It derailed New Zealand’s defence alliance with the USA and Australia known as Anzus. The Anzus Treaty,Read more

47 years ago  Keith Holyoake announced that New Zealand would send a combat unit to Vietnam to support the US-led coalition fighting there (24 May 1965). This is a portrait of the National party Prime Minister Keith Holyoake who, at the end of May 1965, announced that a combat unitRead more

Thirty years ago, Wellington is voted nuclear weapons-free by the city council (14 April 1982). In 1981, New Zealand peace groups began campaigning for sites around the country to become nuclear weapons-free. This initiative was supposed to highlight the dangers of nuclear weapons and to change national policies related toRead more

72 years ago, Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage (1872-1940) dies from cancer (27 March 1940) Michael Joseph Savage was New Zealand’s first Labour Prime Minister. He was born in Victoria, Australia, and arrived in New Zealand in 1907. Savage was active as a trade unionist and socialist, and first stood for parliament inRead more

Twenty-four years ago, New Zealand Post announces that 432 post offices are to be closed (8 February 1988) The first post office was provided by the government in 1840. By 1900 there were 1700 branches servicing a population of around 800,000. They were sources of information, places where you could sendRead more

One hundred and eleven years ago, Queen Victoria dies aged 81 (22 January 1901). A profound sense of grief followed in the wake of the Queen’s death. This black-edged silk portrait was issued by a woman’s magazine so that readers had their own, personal memorial of the late monarch. Victoria’s deathRead more

Thirty-nine years ago, the last New Zealand forces withdraw from Vietnam (22 December 1972) New Zealand combat troops were in Vietnam from 1965 until 1972. This military support was underpinned by New Zealand’s defence obligations to the USA, an ANZUS treaty partner from 1951. Fewer than 4000 New Zealanders were in Vietnam over thisRead more

Seventy-two years ago, the Centennial Exhibition opens in Wellington (9 November 1939) The 1940 Centennial exhibition was one of the many ways in which New Zealanders marked 100 years of British government. The exhibition, which was located in Rongotai, attracted over 2.6 million visitors over a period of six months. Below is a colourisedRead more

Forty-four years ago pubs were no longer legally required to close at 6pm (9 October 1967)   From December 1917, hotels had to close at 6pm. This was supposed to be a temporary war-time measure. Opening hours were reduced to encourage workers’ efficiency.   This restriction partly effected the aims of temperanceRead more

Richard Seddon's levee uniform trousers on a padded form

Slice of Heaven has been on open for a year now. This means that some of the light-sensitive paper and textile exhibition items have had their full quota of light exposure and have to come off display. This includes this majestic coatee, pictured above, that Premier Richard Seddon wore toRead more

57 years ago the Mazengarb report is released (20 September 1954) In 1954, several shocking events occurred that fuelled a simmering panic about the activities and morals of New Zealand teenagers. These included revelations that some Hutt Valley teens were having sex. Over 50 local teenagers were observed congregating at elbe’s milkRead more