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Sunday, 5 March 2017

Te Papa Museum, Wellington

Officially, The National Museum of New Zealand -
Te Papa Tongarewa

I love museums, particularly museums that deal with people and civilisations. The Te Papa museum in Wellington looked as though it would be great to visit and I wasn't disappointed. In particular I was thrilled to see that the Gallipoli exhibition was still there, it had been highly recommended to me but there was some doubt as to how long the exhibition was going to be at the museum. Luckily for me it was still there and still hugely popular going by the amount of people entering the exhibition area.



This is the scene as you enter the exhibition, throughout there are large 'mannequins?' 'models?' of battle scenes from Gallipoli. They're more than just life size and the detail on them is stunning. Each model is based on a real person, this was a soldier who had been shot in the arm and there's a information on who the person was, and what the scene depicted.

It was quite confronting to see this as soon as you entered, it was interesting seeing people's reaction! There was lots of posing with the model and photography, you had to be quick to get a photo without others next to the model!


The doctor, it turns out I took notes on this one! This was Dr Percival Fenwick who treated the injured at Gallipoli, he was shipped out after 2 months suffering  from exhaustion due to the number of casualties he treated.


A section of the New Zealand camp at Gallipoli. Gives a really good perspective on the steep terrain that they found themselves in.


The exhibition showed not only the fighting aspect of Gallipoli but the awful conditions the soldiers had to endure. The can of food this soldier is holding has maggots, it's hard to see in the photo but up close they could easily be seen! The model is based on Private Jack Dunn, it's so lifelike that the hairs on his legs appeared real.


The machine gunner, if the soldier who fed in the cartridges was killed another one took his place.


This model is Staff nurse Charlotte Le Gallas, she volunteered to go Gallipoli as she wanted to meet up with her brother Leddie who was there. She received the letter informing her of his death 4 months after he died.



When the order was finally made to evacuate Gallipoli, it had to be done in such a way that the Turks on the top of the mountains would continue to think the ANZACs were below. This was one of the ways they did it, water slowing dripped from the top pan into the pan below when it was heavy enough it would pull down on the trigger and the rifle would go off. With these sporadic rifle shots going off, it appeared that the ANZACs were still in the camps below the Turks when infact they were being evacuated. The evacuation was a success with no loss of life.

The museum is huge and there are a variety of exhibitions, some permanent and some temporary. I tend to be most interested in exhibitions relating to people rather than natural history. (There was a Bug's Life exhibition on, it didn't appeal!) So I concentrated on 'people' galleries and kind of skipped the natural history ones!



The sign on the right above the canoe has the quote from the Polynesian chief's wife who said "I see a cloud, a long white cloud' when spotting the North Island of what is now New Zealand. The Maori name for New Zealand, Aotearoa, means 'land of the long white cloud'. The Maori exhibition at the museum was excellent, unfortunately as you enter it there's a sign saying 'No Photography' so I enjoyed it but didn't photograph it!


With the arrival of Europeans in the 1800s, they brought with them their touches of home including their musical instruments. The piano in this picture is the oldest piano in New Zealand, it came on board a sailing ship and then carried off by sailors who waded through the water to bring it to shore.


New Zealand had been a British colony and it celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 with great enthusiasm it seems. The museum name reflects the European history of New Zealand, originally it had been the Colonial Museum (NZ colony era) then the Dominion Museum (in 1907 NZ became a dominion of Britain) and then it became the National Museum and a Maori name included in its title.


A parlour scene from World War II, with descriptions of what life was like for each of the characters depicted.


Loved this case as it showed that history can be quite recent! And it made me feel ancient since I can very clearly remember everything in this case!


An Australian connection, this cannon is from the ship the Endeavour, Captain James Cook sailed on her when he mapped the north and south islands of what became known as New Zealand. As the Endeavour sailed up the east coast of Australia, it hit a coral reef and needed repairs, this cannon was thrown overboard to lighten the ship. It was found many, many years later and brought to the surface. To commemorated an anniversary of Cook's voyage the Australian government gifted the cannon to New Zealand. 

Te Papa is perfect for a wet and/or windy Wellington day, the museum is huge with lots to see depending on your interests. There are cafes and it even offers free wifi!




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