56 years ago New Zealanders celebrate victory over Japan (15 August 1945) The photo below shows people celebrating VJ (Victory over Japan) Day in Wellington. It was taken by John Pascoe, who was employed by the government to photograph life in New Zealand during World War Two. The day markedRead more

30 years ago the South African rugby team is welcomed to New Zealand at the Poho-o-Rawiri marae, Gisborne, at the start of its tour of the country (17 July 1981).   Rugby Union has long had a prominent, if not undisputed place in New Zealand culture.  However, the game caused bitter disputesRead more

110 years ago the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York visit New Zealand (10-27 June 1901) A royal tour of New Zealand was mooted by arch-imperialist Premier Richard Seddon in 1897, during the Diamond (60th) anniversary of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne. By 1900, such a visit had assumed greater importance. ByRead more

    Model Tooth (Human), 1900s, Maker unknown. Gift of the Wellington School Dental Service Training School, Department of Health, 1994. Te Papa  90 years ago: the first intake of School Dental Service nurses began their training (4 April 1921).   The School Dental Service was a response to theRead more

102 years ago: Prime Minister Sir Joseph Ward announces that New Zealand will gift a ‘first-class battleship’ to the Royal Navy (22 March 1909). Prime Minister Ward was positioning New Zealand as a loyal and active participant in the defence of the British Empire. This was a time of increasing navalRead more

1950 Empire Games commemorative cup, 1950, Crown Lynn Potteries Ltd (1948–1991), Shufflebotham, Ernest (1908–1984), Auckland. Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa

Empire Games are held in Auckland, 4-11 February 1950 The cup above was produced by Crown Lynn as a souvenir of the Auckland games, which 590 athletes from 12 nations attended.   New Zealand came third in the medal tally with 54 medals: 10 gold, 22 silver and 22 bronze. GoldsRead more

53 years ago – Sir Edmund Hillary reaches the South Pole (4 January 1958) 54 years ago – Scott Base opens in Antarctica (20 January 1957) Having reached the summit of Everest with Tenzing Sherpa in 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary completed another extreme feat in January 1958. Early in theRead more

57 years ago – Queen Elizabeth arrives in Auckland, becoming the country’s first reigning monarch to visit New Zealand (23 December 1953) The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, arrived in New Zealand just before Christmas in 1953 for a 39-day tour. In the past, only sons or brothers ofRead more

92 years ago – an armistice (truce) between Germany and the Allies was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest in France (11 November 1918). The armistice marked the end of fighting in World War One on the Western Front in France and Belgium. This occurred on the eleventhRead more

This is the first in an ongoing series of blogs about New Zealand history. These blogs are going to focus on 20th century events and objects as well as topics in Te Papa’s history exhibition Slice of Heaven: 20th Century Aotearoa. Following from the recent blog about the diarama in the exhibtionRead more