Conflict and Identity

Research programme 

Conflict and Identity is Te Papa’s four-year, multi-disciplinary programme of research, discussion, and reflection on the dynamics of conflict and its impact on our identity in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The programme includes thought-provoking exhibitions, events, publications (print and online), blogs, forums, community activities, and collecting strategies. It explores four key themes:

The programme involves staff from across the museum, led by Te Papa’s History Team.

Conflict and Identity events

New Zealand at War

WW100 Logo

New Zealand and World War I

Te Papa is primarily focused on the exploration of the First World War through the study of material culture. The museum’s collections relating to the war period tend to be personal rather than military in nature. They shed light on people’s everyday experiences of the war, particularly on the home front. 

Gallipoli: The scale of our war

Te Papa is working closely with Weta Workshop on a large-scale exhibition that explores New Zealanders’ experiences of Gallipoli. The exhibition opens in April 2015 and is generously supported by the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.

New Zealand Lottern Grants Board logo

Māori at Gallipoli

The Maori Pioneer Battalion is well known, but little has been published on the Māori soldiers who fought at Gallipoli. Curator Puawai Cairns is currently undertaking biographical research on those who served and making connections with living descendants.

Wedding portrait of John Frederick Taylor and  Maud Florence MacLeod (nee des Forges) 15 February 1917, Berry & Co (1901–1931), Wellington. Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa
Wedding portrait of John Frederick Taylor and Maud Florence MacLeod (nee des Forges) 15 February 1917, Berry & Co (1901–1931), Wellington. Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa

Berry & Co project – identifying mystery soldiers

The Berry & Co project set out to identify and research soldiers featured in almost 200 portraits taken at Wellington’s Berry & Co Photographic Studio between 1914 and 1919.

Can you identify the unknown Berry Boys?

The project has resulted in the following:

Book: Berry Boys: Portraits of First World War Soldiers and Families
This Te Papa Press book features an introductory essay on the Berry & Co studio by curator Claire Regnault and biographies of the identified soldiers by curator Michael Fitzgerald.

Exhibition: The Berry Boys: Naming the Kiwi faces of World War I  
This intimate exhibition highlights the last group of unidentified soldiers from the Berry & Co portrait collection. It ran until October 2014.

Documentary: The Berry Boys
Inspired by the Berry & Co project, ProductionShed TV produced a documentary for TVNZ in collaboration with TV One’s Sunday and Te Papa, with funding from NZ on Air. The documentary screened on Sunday 3 August 2014 on TV One. 

Lest We Forget

Te Papa is pleased to be working with Wellington City Council on their project Lest We Forget, which takes place in early October 2014 around the Wellington region. Lest We Forget is a multimedia, site-specific commemoration of Wellington’s experiences of World War I.

On the nights of 16 to 19 October, photographs of the Berry Boys will be projected onto the Cuba Street building where they were originally taken, before the soldiers departed.
Lest We Forget

Holding onto Home cover image Te Papa Press

Holding on to Home: New Zealand Stories and Objects of the First World War

This beautiful book, launched in August 2014, draws on 28 collections from around the country to tell the stories of New Zealanders at war, from the battlefront to the home front, through the objects they held dear. It was written by Kirstie Ross, Te Papa’s Curator of Modern New Zealand, and Kate Hunter, Associate Professor and Head of the History Programme at Victoria University, Wellington (also a Te Papa Research Associate).
Holding on to Home: New Zealand Stories and Objects of the First World War – find out more
Images from Holding on to Home – Te Papa Channel

Untitled [portrait of Allan McMillan in the grounds of Oatlands Park, Surrey, England] 1918, Maker unknown, England. Te Papa
Untitled [portrait of Allan McMillan in the grounds of Oatlands Park, Surrey, England] 1918, Maker unknown, England. Te Papa

The Road to Recovery: Disabled soldiers of World War I

In this small but powerful exhibition, explore how New Zealand soldiers disabled by the hostilities of the First World War were supported to regain their personal and economic independence.
Road to Recovery: Disabled soldiers of World War I

Poster, 'Step Into Your Place' May 1915, Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, David Allen & Sons Ltd. United Kingdom. Found in collection, 2011. Te Papa
Poster, 'Step Into Your Place' May 1915, Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, David Allen & Sons Ltd. United Kingdom. Found in collection, 2011. Te Papa

First World War posters at Te Papa

Curator Stephanie Gibson has catalogued and researched Te Papa’s significant collection of posters from World Wars I and II. She has assessed their significance, in national and international terms, and published her findings in Tuhinga, Te Papa’s journal.

Postcard, 'German War Flag captured at Samoa by New Zealand Expeditionary Force' 1914-1916, Wilson, William Thompson (1882–1917), New Zealand. Purchased 2011. Te Papa
Postcard, 'German War Flag captured at Samoa by New Zealand Expeditionary Force' 1914-1916, Wilson, William Thompson (1882–1917), New Zealand. Purchased 2011. Te Papa
 

New Zealand troops in Sāmoa during the Great War

Te Papa curator Sean Mallon and Safua Akeli, from the University of Queensland, have been documenting and analysing accounts of the interactions between New Zealand military forces and Samoans during World War I. The records of this period offer fascinating insights into daily life and patriotic activity in this most northern territory of New Zealand’s ‘homefront’.

Life 100 Years Ago

Life 100 Years Ago helps New Zealanders understand what life was like during World War I by sharing excerpts from personal diaries, newspapers, and letters in ‘real time’ via Twitter.

Te Papa is contributing extracts from the 100-year-old diaries of George Leslie Adkin (1888–1964), a farmer and active photographer from the Horowhenua who provides a home-front perspective on the war.
Life 100 Years Ago – Twitter

All That Remains: WWI objects from New Zealand museum collections

All That Remains is a project to identify World War I objects in New Zealand museums, historical societies, art galleries, and Returned and Services’ Associations. It aims to bring these together into a moving exhibition that will inform current generations of the experiences of their ancestors. The project is produced by Te Papa’s National Services Te Paerangi.
All That Remains

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'Nuclear-Free Quilt' 1994, Bains, Joanne (1957– ), Pacific Island women, Auckland. Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa
'Nuclear-Free Quilt' 1994, Bains, Joanne (1957– ), Pacific Island women, Auckland. Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa

Protest and Reform

In the Protest and Reform programme, we explore conflict as an agent of social change in Aotearoa New Zealand, drawing on Te Papa’s extensive collections: art works, banners, badges, posters, photographs, and more.

Since colonial times, New Zealanders have taken to the streets to protest – for human rights, land rights, and environmental rights. Curator Stephanie Gibson is currently doing research towards a book on the material culture of protest in this country. Senior Curator Claire Regnault is researching and documenting the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt, which was gifted to Te Papa in 2011.

New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt – Collections Online

‘Walking together has been a rite, tool, and reinforcement of civil society that can stand up to violence, to fear, and to repression’. (Rachael Solnit)

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Negotiation and Reconciliation 

Te Papa’s Negotiation and Reconciliation programme focuses primarily on the outcome of Treaty of Waitangi claims, and the role that museums have to play in this redress.

Te Papa is currently supporting the claims process in 32 cases, and this number is expected to rise to 48 over the next few years. The process involves active engagement with Māori iwi (tribes), hapū (subtribes), and whānau (families). Research is a vital component, as is reconnection of taonga (cultural treasures) with their descendant communities.

Te Papa is committed to supporting tribal development initiatives. The museum’s vision of changing hearts, minds, and lives is strongly aligned with the process.

This programme is led by Arapata Hakiwai, Te Papa’s Kaihautū (Māori Leader) and Acting Chief Executive, along with the Mātauranga Māori team.

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Military manoeuvres  19.11.1920, Adkin, Leslie (1888–1964). Gift of G. L. Adkin family estate, 1964. Te Papa
Military manoeuvres 19.11.1920, Adkin, Leslie (1888–1964). Gift of G. L. Adkin family estate, 1964. Te Papa

Conflict and the Everyday

In this part of the programme, we explore the dynamics of conflict in our everyday lives, from the playground to politics.

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