October 17, 2015 posted by Unity Wellington

Launch | Real Modern by Bronwyn Labrum | Thursday 29th October 6pm

Launch | Real Modern by Bronwyn Labrum | Thursday 29th October 6pm

Unity Books Wellington and Te Papa Press
warmly invite you to celebrate the launch of

Real Modern

Everyday New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s

by Bronwyn Labrum


Thursday 29th October 6.00-7.30pm
Unity Books
57 Willis St, Wellington


The decades of the 1950s and ’60s continue to exert a powerful fascination, as seen in the lasting popularity of Mad Men, Crown Lynn collectibles and mid-century design. In New Zealand, these years have been remembered in popular culture as a ‘golden age’ of God, Queen and Country, full employment, the baby boom, Sir Edmund Hillary and ‘Ladies, a plate!’ – as well as the birth of the teenager and the seedbed of later change. But what was life really like?

Real Modern tells a vibrant and varied story of real life in this compelling era through images and, above all, objects. It is a rich compendium of the things that New Zealanders acquired and desired, that they used at school, work or play, and that they wore and saw around the country. Accompanied by lively and expert text by author Bronwyn Labrum, these objects evoke everyday life and offer insight into the social, political and cultural history of postwar New Zealand.

Featuring hundreds of stunning new photographs from Te Papa, New Zealand’s national museum, and collections nationwide, Real Modern is a celebration of the things of the 1950s and ’60s and the people who used them. It is a fresh and nuanced view of these familiar yet surprising times.


‘Delicious, disturbing, surprising. Real Modern takes us to the world of things we once loved and dreams we could believe. On every page a discovery and rediscovery of a uniquely New Zealand era, when luxury came by way of the consolette tv, bikini chair, island bench and Loxene shampoo. A book where history unfolds in the glorious panorama of everyday life.’
– Professor Charlotte Macdonald


Bronwyn Labrum is an associate professor in the School of Design at Massey University and was formerly curator of history and textiles at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. She is the author of Women’s History (1993), and co-editor of Fragments: New Zealand Social and Cultural History (2000) and Looking Flash: Clothing in Aotearoa New Zealand (2007). She has also written widely about New Zealand’s cultural and social history, welfare and medical history, museums and material culture. She has a long-standing interest in the mid-twentieth century and its objects.


All welcome.

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