Travel with Edwina: Te Papa Tongarewa/ Our Place Museum of NZ at Wellington

Above, clockwise from top left: “The Beehive”, Parliament of New Zealand; One of the exhibits at Eyekonic; Lieutenant Spencer exhibit; Entry to Gallipoli, The Scale of War. PHOTOS BY EDWINA KEELAN

By Edwina Keelan

Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand. The centre of government ‘the Beehive’ is opposite Victoria University Law faculty in immaculately clean and green grounds. The air is so pure and full of oxygen!  There’s no shortage of café dessert bars and Kiwi fashion houses in the clean streets. 

Wellington is very laid back and creeps at a slow, quiet orderly pace. Wellingtonians are ultra-friendly, from the locals to the sales assistants. The service is a very high calibre. 

Wellington is the cultural hub for Arts/Design and performance. For instance hosting the Annual Wearable Arts Show which includes a section on found objects i.e. recycling plastics paper or reusing what would turfed into the rubbish and end up in land fill.

The star attraction to many visitors is TePaPa Tongarewa a Museum translated as Our Place which is built right on the water, like Hong Kong!

The museum has free admission to all throughout and has access to persons with a disability (including high speed neon door elevators lifts and ramps with electronic boards) but it is closed on public holidays.

The smoke free rooftop level showcases the harbour of Wellington. Here you can relax in the sun and take photos.

There are a lot of activities for the children to do and café which caters to vegans.

When I visited, the current show was called Gallipoli The Scale Of War. From a design perspective it works mainly with scale. For example, the very impressive signage at the front entrance stands three stories high. Red, black and white probably suggests blood being spilt on mother earth. There was a tribute to ‘Kiwi’ soldiers as well as the Aussies who fought alongside them at Gallipoli in World War I.

There was a goliath sized statue of Lieutenant Spencer who lost his arm. Laying on the ground he taking aim ready to fire his pistol.

Te Maori (The Maori) collection greets you with an ornately carved dug out canoe the length of two 747 aircraft wings glued together, decorated in feathers and in ochre brown and paua (abalone) shell.  

There is an impressively carved meeting house which comes from the East Cape of New Zealand in respect to Maori culture and protocol all shoes are left out the door neatly and tidily. And enjoy the beautiful golds browns and autumn colours and ochres finely detailed carvings. A fine piece of Maori traditional Architecture and design dating back to the early 18th century.

The Maori Renaissance in the Paris Fashion Houses in the early 2000’s saw Maori designs showcased on the catwalks in Europe. 

Pacific Sisters is a celebration of cultural diversity. Pacific sisters fashion activism is a presentation of finished foundation garments, loose handwritten notes, storyboards and finished garments. There are structured, unstructured and deconstructed styles from street wear to  evening wear. There are performances embracing beauty and sexuality through music song and dance. And crazy youthful colourful photographic ‘expozays.’  

It embraces not only Polynesian Maori but all people it screams we are all people and being part of the community in a welcoming and peaceful loving method of giving sharing receiving something noting in New Zealand’s culture and heritage.

Listen to the soundtrack to Pacific Sisters on TePaPa on Spotify it is fabulon (fabulous) you will be blown away. 

zBy line picture by Nicole Eggers by Edwina

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