Tiny Statements: A social history of Aotearoa New Zealand in badges

The words and symbols we’ve worn.

By Stephanie Gibson and Claire Regnault

Publication date: April 2023
NZ RRP (incl. GST): $40
Extent: 212 pages
Format: Limpbound
ISBN: 978-1-99-115097-4

Buy Tiny Statements from Te Papa Store

The award-winning authors of this small book with a big heart delve into Te Papa’s collections of over 1600 badges to examine how New Zealanders have used badges to join, belong, resist, defy and celebrate. From protest groups and Girl Guides to sports clubs, animal breeds, tino rangitiratanga and suffrage – there has been a badge for almost every New Zealand cause and endeavour.

Look inside Tiny Statements

Review highlights

  • Creative Capital in The Post, extracts about New Zealand Music Month badge, 2010Margaret Mahy’s scarf, the power of pinkanimal-shaped badges as symbols of the work safe campaign, and “I will speak Māori” (all premium content).

  • Newsroom, reviewed by Steve Braunias. “What gorgeous works of art. I'd rather frame them than wear them … the badges float in the white pages of Tiny Statements, torn from the bodies of their wearers, left to exist as the bric-à-brac of the New Zealand way of life.” 

  • Ensemble magazineSunday Star-Times, reviewed by Tyson Beckett. “Like the objects in its pages, Tiny Statements is small but mighty.”

  • NZ Booklovers, reviewed by Lyn Potter. “I recommend this little book as a great conversation starter. It may surprise you … to discover what kind of badges your friends and relations once wore, what they fought for, achieved, or belonged to.”

  • New Zealand Listener, reviewed by Mark Broatch. “It’s a potted history of our protest but of celebration too … [they are] symbols of our principles, our aspirations, our pride.”

Author interviews

  • Stuff, How I write: Te Papa curator Stephanie Gibson.

  • Ensemble magazineSunday Star-Times, Stephanie Gibson interviewed by Tyson Beckett.

  • RNZ Nine to Noon, Stephanie Gibson interviewed by Katherine Ryan.

  • Watch author, curator and badge enthusiast Stephanie Gibson share one of her favourite objects in the collection, and explain the role badges played in our protest history.

About the authors

Stephanie Gibson is Curator New Zealand Histories and Cultures at Te Papa. She researches the material and visual culture of protest, conflict and reform, as well as everyday life in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her continuing museological research focuses on museums and community participation. With Puawai Cairns and Matariki Williams, she was the author of Protest Tautohetohe, winner of the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction.

Claire Regnault is Senior Curator New Zealand Histories and Cultures at Te Papa and has worked as in the art gallery and museum sector since 1994. Her curatorial practice is eclectic in nature and she is particularly passionate about New Zealand’s fashion history. She is an active member of the Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand, and regularly contributes to the association’s symposia and journal. She is the author of Dressed, winner of the 2022 Ockham New Zealand Book Award for Illustrated Non-Fiction.