Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Te Papa gifted Jacinda Ardern’s iconic clothes

Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern smiling during her weekly post-Cabinet press conference at Parliament, Wellington in 2022. Photo: Mark Mitchell.

Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will donate clothing to Te Papa, NZ Herald, 5 April 2023

Jacinda Ardern will donate a selection of her wardrobe and some of her personal notes to Te Papa, becoming the latest politician to donate her belongings to the museum’s collection.

In an interview with Newshub’s Samantha Hayes last night Tuesday March 4, Ardern revealed she would be donating some of her more recognisable outfits to the Wellington institution, including the dress designed by New Zealander Juliette Hogan which Ardern wore while meeting Queen Elizabeth.

Ardern was heavily pregnant at the meeting in 2018 when she wore the floor-length gown with a korowai.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives to attend the Queen’s Dinner during The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Buckingham Palace in 2018. Photo/ REX, Shutterstock.

Also part of the collection is the blue and red floral dress designed by Kate Sylvester that she wore to be sworn in as Prime Minister in 2017, a maroon jumpsuit with an elasticated waist to accommodate her pregnant tummy while on an international trip, and the red blazer she wore when she became the leader of the Labour Party.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Kate Sylvester dress at her swearing-in ceremony. Photo / Mark Mitchell, Brett Phibbs.

Throughout her political career, Ardern showed a preference for local designers and sustainable brands, bringing Aotearoa’s fashion to the global stage.

Jacinda Ardern on the steps of Parliament after being named leader of the Labour Party in 2017. Photo / Mark Mitchell.

The clothing items will join another item donated by Ardern to the museum – the tiny green knitted hat which her daughter Neve wore when she was first shown to the world at just 3 days old.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with baby, Neve Te Aroha, and Clarke Gayford. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

The hat is one of a number of knitted beanies donated to the neonatal intensive care unit and maternity service by a knitting group.

The white jumper Ardern wore while cradling her capped baby will be donated too.

Also already in the collection is the Carolyn Barker dress Ardern wore while being sworn into Parliament in 2008.

Alongside the clothing items, Ardern will also donate the notes she made the afternoon of the March 15 terror attack directly after learning of the Christchurch shooting, and the pens she and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters used to sign the documents for the coalition Government.

Ardern is not the only political figure to have clothing in Te Papa – Dame Jenny Shipley also donated her Peter Homan purple skirt suit and silver and pearl brooch which she wore while being sworn in as Prime Minister in 1997.

Shipley was the first female Prime Minister of New Zealand and held the position for two years.

The Herald has contacted Te Papa for further comment.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
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