Day 8

Object 8 Enid Blyton Comic(14742.2)

Object: Enid Blyton Magazine

Acc #: 14712/2

Donor: Mrs Monica Robertson

Age of Object: 60 years

Description: The eighth object of Christmas is a copy of Enid Blyton’s Magazine from Christmas 1954. The cover shows three children on a sled and a robin singing over a banner saying “A Merry Christmas”.

Enid Blyton was a well-known children’s author who published many successful series including The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and Noddy.

Our magazine contains 8 stories by Enid Blyton including “One Christmas Morning”, “Secret Seven Win Through!” and “It’s Christmas-Time!”.

This magazine was published after her popular Sunny Stories, which were published by Newnes. Enid Blyton wrote the magazine and wanted to advertise all her works, but Newnes would only advertise what they published. The publishing company and Ms Blyton parted in 1953.

Enid Blyton’s Magazine, the series our magazine is from was published by the Evans Brothers. It was a marketing tool for Ms Blyton, where she could advertise her books, jigsaws, toys and games. In total there were 162 issues and it was published between 1953-1959. The magazines contain stories that were never published in her other books, and the advantage of the magazine format was that there could be more illustrations.

For more information about Enid Blyton’s works, check out

Day 7

Object 7 Uenuku Card(ARC3793)

Object: Uenuku Christmas Card

Acc #: ARC3793

Donor: Mr Jim Mandeno

Age of Object: Unknown

On the seventh day of Christmas we have a very special Christmas card! It was given to Mr Jim Mandeno (Te Awamutu Museum Director 1980-1987) by Dame Te Atairangikaahu. It is not dated so we don’t know what year, but the image inside was taken by Brian Blake for the National Geographic Society. It is the same image used in the catalogue for the Te Maori Exhibition that travelled to the United States in 1984.

The front of the card is embossed with the crest of Dame Te Atarangikaahu. Printed on the inside left is a karakia, which is written below. On the inside right is a glossy photo of Uenuku.

This Christmas card is special to Te Awamutu Museum for many reasons. Because of who it is from, who it was sent to and the image it contains. Maybe there are old Christmas cards in your family that are special for similar reasons.

Ko te pua kareti te kaihere I nga hihi o t era,

Ko Te Reme te tuturutanga o te tau,

Ko Uenuku te kaipupuri I a Uruao:

Kua huri tenei kit e wa e tatari atu ai tatou

Ki te Ra o to tatou Ariki, e huri atu ai ki roto

I nga manaakitanga o Te Tau Hou.

The ensnaring blossoms of the Kareti control the rays of the sun,

Each year is a Gift of the Lamb,

And Uenuku, the rainbow symbol of the Covenant,

Upholds Uruao, Dispenser of the Dew of Heaven from above:

And now is the time we look forward to the Day of our Lord,

And to the blessings of the coming New Year.

Day 6

Object 6 Mackintosh Tin(14673.8)

Object: Makintosh Toffee Tin

Acc #: 14673.8

Donor: Mr John Dudley

Age of Object: Unkown

Description:  On the 6th day of Christmas the Te Awamutu Museum has in its collection a Mackintosh Royal De Luxe Assortment tin with detachable lid. These tins are well-known vintage items these days but were once ideal for special occasions and great gifts. The Mackintosh Toffee started in 1890 when John Mackintosh opened a shop in Halifax, Yorkshire mixing hard toffee with runny caramel. Up until the 1930’s only wealthy could afford boxed chocolates, as they were often made with exotic ingredients and a lot of labour went into creating a chocolate box. The Mackintosh family wanted to create boxes of chocolates that the working class family could afford. They did this by covering toffee in chocolate, wrapping each toffee individually and putting them in low-cost yet attractive boxes. They eventually decided to use a tin instead of cardboard box as this would ensure the aroma burst out as soon as opened, making the experience exciting and delightful. The toffee tins became very popular and almost every household in New Zealand would have had one of these tins in it at one point or another. At Christmas time you still see the increase in boxed chocolates for sale and likely some houses in Te Awamutu may get some boxed chocolates or tins of toffee this year!

Day 5

Object 5 AMR Card(15090.3) Object 5 Inside AMR Card(15090.3)

Object: Auckland Mounted Rifles Christmas & New Year’s Card

Acc #: 15090.3

Age: 96years

Donor: Mrs Barbara Lukas

Description: On the 5th day of Christmas at the Te Awamutu Museum we have in our collection an Auckland Mounted Rifles Christmas & New Year’s card from Harmond Neill Berry. This card was for the 1918 Christmas period and 1919 New Year sent from a Mounted Rifle, Harmond Berry to a friend named Bernice. Harmond was from Te Awamutu and joined other Te Awamutu men in the various campaigns that the Rifles participated in. The Mounted Rifles Regiment were broken into four groups(Otago, Canterbury, Wellington and Auckland) developed to serve the overseas NZ Expeditionary Force during WW1. These men participated in campaigns at Sinai, Gallipoli, Egypt and Palestine eventually returning home in 1919. The Mounted Rifles men were expected to ride on horseback to the scene of the battle and dismount before going into action. During the 1918 Christmas Period all the Mounted Rifle Regiments had specific Christmas Cards made for them, in which many families across New Zealand, including Te Awamutu would have received similar cards. This Christmas Card is in very good condition showing how detailed the design was – it must have been exciting and comforting for the recipients to receive such a card from their loved ones who were so far away!

Day 4

Object 4 Record(12372.11)Object 4 Close Record(12372.11)

Object: Record “Christmas in Camp”

Acc #: 12372/11

Donor: Tuffy Burchell

Age: c.100 years

Object Description: Little is known about our fourth object, a record of a “Christmas in Camp”. It was written by Harrington and Scott and released in December 1914 by Regal Records. It contains both comedy sketches and music . This type of product is known as a dramatization. These were used to boost morale of the general public during the war as a form of propaganda. Record companies produced other dramatizations during the First World War, many of them commenting on what was happening at the time, especially concerning security at home in England. As the war went on, more were produced including “The Charge of the London-Scottish” and “Nobby Clark, V.C.” about the Western Front and “Jerry Jinks, Scallywag: The Unwilling Recruit”, which encouraged men to enlist and not avoid serving their country. Check out this link to hear an audio recording of the same dramatization as our record here in Te Awamutu.

Day 3

Object 3 Ham Bag(15207.7)

Object: Calico Christmas Ham Bag

Ac #: 15207/7

Donor: Mrs Joan Hunt

Age of object: Unknown

Object Description: Calico Ham Bags have been used for many years to store Christmas hams. The bag must be kept damp, but it helps keep the meat fresh for meals even after the big Christmas feast! Calico material is made from unbleached cotton. It was originally created and woven in southern India in the 11th Century and has many practical uses. Once the British East India Company arrived in India in the 1700s, prints on calico and dyed calico material became popular in England as they were considered exotic. The importation of cotton and calico material began to overtake the market for locally produced goods, and the material was outlawed in two different Acts of Parliament during the 1700s. The material is popular due to its versatility, which made it popular in colonial New Zealand as it was used for clothes, food storage and even tents.   Our ham bag is screen printed with a Christmas image, and it is unknown how many Christmas hams this bag has held. There are probably ham bags similar to this one in homes throughout Te Awamutu, all getting ready to be used for another Christmas.


Day 2

Object 2 Embroidered Card(10170)

Object: Tuck Postcard

Acc #: 10170

Donor: Mr G.Swan

Age of object: Unknown

Description: Tuck’s postcard with “Happy Christmas” embroidered on front. Part of Broderie D’Art series.

 On the second day of Christmas at Te Awamutu Museum we have in our collection a Tuck Christmas Postcard. This lovely little card is part of the Broderie D’Art series of cards made by the Tuck company. The term Broderie D’Art means embroidery that has techniques used to add beautiful light to a design, which you can see in the colourful silk embroidery on this Christmas Card. It is believed that this card is from the World War 1 time period, was printed in England and was only for sale in Great Britain. With that we can conclude that the card was sent to New Zealand during the Christmas season from the UK between 1914 and 1918, unfortunately we have no other information surrounding it. We do know though that  these Cards are highly collectable and have quite a story behind them. Raphael Tuck an emigrant to England from Prussia started a company creating cards once himself and his wife settled in their new home. In 1871 Tuck supervised the design of Christmas Cards featuring religious aspects of the season as well as traditional images. In 1880, the first contest ran, offering 5,000 Pounds for the best Christmas card design.  Over 2,500 pounds was spent buying entries and launching the Christmas card industry as an annual custom throughout the world.

It is believed that the President of the Royal Academy stated “Mr. Tuck’s graphic productions were likely more effective than all of the art galleries in the world.” These postcards became iconic to postal world being sent around the globe for all occasions. Unfortunately, on December 29th, 1940 the Tuck publishing house was bombed and over 40,000 originals were lost. However, due to the large amount of printing and the popularity of the cards almost all designs have been recorded – now available to see  online at It is likely that many people throughout New Zealand and Te Awamutu have one of these postcards in their family treasures, perhaps even one that is part of the series that ours belongs to?

Day 1

12 Objects of Christmas


Object: Princess Mary’s Gift Box

Acc #: 2847

Donor: Mrs Eileen Beal

Age of object: 100yrs

Description: A small brass tin that was sent to all the British, Colonial and Indian Armed Forces for Christmas 1914 from Princess Mary. The tin contained various items for the soldiers.

On the first day of Christmas at Te Awamutu Museum we have in our collection two Princess Mary Gift Boxes. These unique objects date back to the first Christmas of World War One. The gift boxes were developed from Princess Mary’s public appeal to raise funds for all those in service so they could receive a Christmas present. The appeal was first launched on October 14, 1914 after Princess Mary originally intended to pay for these gifts out of her private allowance. Seeing that this was not practical, a committee was formed to ensure her idea would come to fruition. As the public appeal continued with overwhelming support the development of what the gift would actually be was formed. The committee decided that there would be a small brass tin sent to all the soldiers, with varying items inside. The tins now famous design was created by Messrs Adshead and Ramsay. On initial development all gifts were going to include; an embossed brass box containing one ounce of pipe tobacco, twenty cigarettes, a pipe, a tinder lighter, a Christmas Card signed by the royal family and a picture of the Princess. However, the committee felt that the gift needed to relate more to the recipient so a non-smoking option became available, including in it a packet of acid tablets, a khaki writing case the Christmas card and photograph. There were options for the Indian troops which contained a tin filled with sugar-candy, a tin of spices, the card and photograph and nurses at the front received a tin with chocolate and a card. Unfortunately, the mass quantities of items needed for each tin were not available and substitutions were made as needed to include one or some of the following; bullet pencil cases, tobacco pouches, shaving brushes, combs, pencil cases with packets of postcards, knives, scissors, cigarette cases and purses. Sailors who were to receive a lighter were substituted with a bullet pencil in a silver cartridge case. With the public appeal being so successful the total amount of money raised was $162,591 12s 5d(British Pounds) allowing for over 42,600 tins being distributed on Christmas day and eventually 2,620,019 gifts in total. The time in which gifts were received were broken into 3 classes(A,B & C) with gifts going out after New Year including a New Year card and a pencil in the embossed tin. These two iconic tins that we hold in our collection show that Princess Mary, truly meant that all those partaking in the War would receive a gift. Any of the men from Te Awamutu fighting in 1914 would have received these Christmas Gifts, hopefully bringing them a bit of Christmas cheer at the time. We now have the privilege to allow the public to see what men and women on the front lines around the world in 1914 received from the British Monarchy to reward their efforts and remind them they were not alone.

Join the artists from Reimaginings in the Gavin Gifford Gallery for a discussion of their work and creative processes!

Saturday 13 December from 11.30am

We are always looking for local artists to showcase in our galleries.

If you are interested, please download and complete a Call for Proposals Form and return it to the Museum.