Party time

Amos Pollock takes a swing at the piñata during his dinosaur-themed fifth birthday party (click for image credit)

Amos Pollock takes a swing at the piñata during his dinosaur-themed fifth birthday party (click for image credit)

The end-of-year party season is upon us, and this prompted me to see how well Te Ara does parties. I plugged ‘party’ into the search box and was greeted with an array of entries and images about political parties – not quite what I had in mind.

Super-stylish 1970s dinner party featuring matching outfits and wallpaper (click for image credit)

Super-stylish 1970s dinner party featuring matching outfits and wallpaper (click for image credit)

Luckily, the party-on variety soon cropped up in the image and media page. After party pills comes this fabulous 1970s dinner party where the guests’ attire merges with the floral wallpaper. Then there’s a 1956 film of a chimps’ tea party at the Wellington Zoo, a decorous garden party in 1900 and a 1930s-style outdoor dance party. Remember The Gathering? One big party at Tākaka to see in the new year. I went to the 2000 monsoon Gathering and was reminded why buying a cheap tent is never a good idea. Matariki heralds the Māori new year, and we are now seeing more mid-winter Matariki celebrations.

Pōhutukawa fairies party with native birds in this Avis Higgs illustration (click for image credit)

Pōhutukawa fairies party with native birds in this Avis Higgs illustration (click for image credit)

We’ve got writer/artist Avis Higgs’s cute pōhutukawa fairies party, public humiliation at a stag party and a 1955 cross-dressing party. These blokes in drag are not quite so elegant.

Cakes and keys: turning 21 in 1961 (click for image credit)

Cakes and keys: turning 21 in 1961 (click for image credit)

Our Birthdays and wedding anniversaries entry is party central. I love Jacqueline Fahey’s evocative painting ‘The birthday party’, with the exhausted nana staring glumly at the viewer, surrounded by party detritus. The adults are having much more fun at this birthday party (which happens to be my son’s fifth). This entry would not be complete without the ritual that is downing the yardie on your 21st. This 21st of 1961 is a tad more demure.

My favourite party entry is the Nightclubs one. From the glam to the seedy, it’s a fascinating history of public partying in New Zealand.

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