As unique as kiwis are to this land, so are the girls who have grown up here.
Aotearoa New Zealand has a rich history of experiences for girls and young women to be proud of, such as being the first country in the world where women successfully fought for the right to vote. There are also traditions of being fearless, confident pioneers and warrior princesses.
This history has been collected and preserved, mostly in a haphazard way, in the museums, libraries, schools, archives, and historical societies throughout the country. Not to mention the family treasures passed down still inhabiting sitting rooms, on mantel pieces, or tucked away in cupboards.
As the head girl of Girl Museum, the world’s first and only museum dedicated to celebrating girlhood, I am always looking for interesting, relevant topics and information platforms to deliver exhibitions on the web. I also ponder the question of how to create an exciting exhibition that informs and inspires girls of today with the stories, achievements and struggles of yesterday’s girls? And how can we maximise the number of participants in a project to look at the history of girlhood and girl material culture in New Zealand?
The answer is ‘Kiwi Chicks’.
This collaboration between Girl Museum and National Services Te Paerangi gave birth to ‘Kiwi Chicks: New Zealand Girl History/Ngā Kōhine Kiwi: He Hītori Taitamāhine o Aotearoa’; a collections-driven exhibition project that explores girlhood in New Zealand during the 18th-20th centuries.
We plan to grow this collaborative online exhibition into a resource for girls, schools, museums, and the general public to learn about and contribute to over the next five years.
Ashley E. Remer