Ours: Twenty Objects from Te Papa

A unique creative collaboration between RNZ and Te Papa will mark the museum’s 20th anniversary this week by showcasing an eclectic and surprisingly diverse collection of national treasures.

From PM Jacinda Ardern’s encounter with the sled of her Antarctic hero, to Lynda Topp meeting the knitted likeness of Camp Mother, RNZ’s new podcast series Ours brings New Zealanders face to face with objects from Te Papa collections.

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern sees Shackleton’s sled for the first time, accompanied by Te Papa Head of History and Pacific Cultures, Bronwyn Labrum, 2018. Photo by Maarten Holl. Te Papa

Presented by Noelle McCarthy, each episode features an object from the Te Papa collection, a chat with its museum curator, and a conversation with New Zealanders who have a personal, and sometimes passionate, connection to the object.

Original podcasts will be supported by online resources with videos, still images and additional information available to enhance the on air broadcasts.

From silver ferns and a suffragette medal, to a protest helmet and patu parāoa, the selected items, both large and small, reflect moments that united us and some that divided us. These surprising objects help tell our story.

Chief Executive of Te Papa, Geraint Martin, emphasised the importance of sharing those stories:

“Te Papa’s collections belong to all New Zealanders and we are always finding new ways of sharing them. We know many Kiwis have a particular object they are obsessed with, and Ours gives an insight into that passion, as well as revealing new stories about the objects themselves. There is always more to discover about the objects we care for, and new stories to tell.”

For series presenter, Noelle McCarthy, the project provided an opportunity to explore the depth and diversity of taonga at Te Papa:

“What a thrill to be introduced to this extraordinary collection of taonga by Te Papa's wonderful curators and then hear of the beautiful, unexpected connections people have with them. I can’t wait to share these stories with listeners, from the Prime Minister's first encounter with a sled belonging to her hero Ernest Shackleton, to a nine year old boy's passion for the colossal squid.”

Viewing and Listening

Live Listening

Twenty episodes of Ours, each between 5 and 7 minutes long, will be broadcast on RNZ National (101 FM) on Jesse Mulligan’s Afternoon show. The first episode will be on Tuesday 13th February at 3.35 pm – a day ahead of Te Papa’s 20th anniversary. Broadcasts continue each week for twenty weeks.

Viewing Online

Ours: Twenty Objects from Te Papa can be viewed online at www.rnz.co.nz and on Te Papa's website at tepapa.nz/ours



Editor Notes:

Images attached are copyright free with acknowledgement Te Papa.

Sample episode summaries:

  • Prime Minister, and Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage, Jacinda Ardern got her life-long love of Ernest Shackleton from her father. Seeing one of Shackleton’s weather-beaten Antarctic sleds, she considers Shackleton’s legacy, and why a man who failed at everything he attempted is still a model of inspiring leadership.

  • A Patu Parāoa or whalebone club takes us behind the labels of history, exploring the multiple stories of an emblem of rangatiratanga, and the voices of those intertwined in its history.

  • Actor Theresa Healy recalls her days propping up the rotund Humpty doll on the set of Play School, and some unwelcome advice about appealing to Play School’s “adult audience”.

  • Police Commissioner Mike Bush was a young cop on the front lines of the Springbok Tour protests in 1981. He considers the helmet worn by protest leader John Minto.

  • Kakapo fan Jeremy Wells knew that the species’ idiosyncratic sexual appetite was a threat to its survival, but hadn’t seen the ingenious solution known as the kakapo ejaculation helmet.

  • Sir Peter Snell’s right shoe, worn when he won gold in the Rome Olympics, was recently donated to Te Papa by the legendary runner. In this episode we meet the high school principal whose girls compete annually for the left shoe.

The project has been created in collaboration with Bird of Paradise, a media production company run by Noelle McCarthy and John Daniell.

Presenter Noelle McCarthy is available for interviews:


021 213 4193

For further information:

Kate Camp

Communications Manager, Te Papa


029 601 0180

John Barr

RNZ Communications


027 246 4459