A person looking at the 'An Illustrated History, Parliament' exhibition.

An Illustrated History

Parliament has a collection of 4,500 items. ‘An Illustrated History’ showcases the collection in the context of New Zealand’s parliamentary history. Objects and art ranging from 1840 to the present day are exhibited chronologically to reflect important happenings.

The 60-plus items in the exhibition act as touchstones to New Zealand’s fascinating legislative past. Among the art, relics, and on display is a facsimile of the Treaty of Waitangi, a portrait of Georgina Beyer (the world’s first transgender Member of Parliament), and the Korowai used to wrap the petition presented to parliament after the 1975 land march. One of the more curious items is a port corking machine used to seal bottles of alcohol. It’s in the exhibition to represent the Licensing Amendment Act of 1854. Known as the ‘Bellamy’s Bill’, it permitted the sale of alcohol within parliament’s grounds to members.

The gallery is on level two of the Beehive, open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday. Head to the visitor centre in the foyer and you’ll be directed where to go from there.