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Kiwiana month at Canterbury Museum

Choice, bro – Kiwiana and all its Buzzy Bees, paua shells, and jandals will be celebrated at Canterbury Museum throughout November. Sparking the celebration is the 50th anniversary of Bluff couple, Fred and Myrtle Flutey, first opening their home to the public to showcase their incredible collection of paua shells and kitsch collectables.


In the decades following, the couple’s paua shell collection became an iconic kiwi attraction, and is now on display in a perfect recreation of their house at Canterbury Museum. To celebrate the anniversary next month, visitors will have an opportunity to have a guess at the number of paua shells in Fred & Mrytle’s Paua Shell House and go in the draw to win a great prize.

On 6 November at 6pm, University of Canterbury Associate Professor New Zealand History, Katie Pickles, will present a free public talk on Kiwiana in the Museum’s Bird Hall. Katie will explain what kiwiana is and what it reveals about New Zealand and its history. From the Buzzy Bee to the sausage sizzle, kiwiana is currently experiencing a revival that intrigues social researchers.

Later in the month (on Sunday 24 November from 1pm -2pm in the Bird Hall) author Richard Wolfe will talk about New Zealand! New Zealand! In Praise of Kiwiana – the book on Kiwiana, published in 1989, that he wrote with Stephen Barnett.

Richard will examine New Zealand ‘before’ Kiwiana, and how interest in New Zealand’s brand of popular culture has grown and developed in the last quarter-century. He will examine what Kiwiana says about New Zealanders, and how it might distinguish ‘kiwis’ from other nationalities. He will also reveal what he likes – and doesn’t like – about Kiwiana, and illustrate his talk with some classic examples of the genre.

Throughout the Kiwiana Month, the Museum Cafe will be offering classic kiwi treats for those craving some sweet-as tucker during their visit, and the Museum Store will also have a special display of cool, retro kiwiana gifts available to purchase.

For more information about Kiwiana Month and the public talks taking place at the Museum, head to


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Guest 22 January 2018