Christine Fernyhough knew she had moved from being an interior decorator to a collector when she ran out of shelf space.

Speaking to a large group of Friends of Te Papa recently she explained how her passion for Mid-Century New Zealand collectables started when she was decorating her holiday bach, The Butterfly House.

Looking for furniture, objects, design and art in happy colours, her collection, admiration for quality items and knowledge just continued to grow.

Sourced mainly from road trips to antique and collectable shops, friendships with dealers, local auction houses, garage and car boot sales, Christine was energised but not a hoarder. It is a passion which has resulted in new friendships, much research and a recently published book Mid-Century Living, The Butterfly House Collection.

Many attending the lecture seemed to share her nostalgia as therapy philosophy which saw her brandish a wire woven soap saver as one of her most treasured objects. Such items as ceramic swan vases, home made hessian peg bags, paua shell clocks, old food cans all tell important stories of social history. They embody the way of life of those who made them and those who use them.

Te Papa’s Bronwyn Labrum as the able interviewer obviously shared Christine’s enthusiasm for these mainly Mid-Century, often hand crafted and deeply indigenous pieces of Kiwiana from our recent past. Some people recalled the popular Golden Days exhibition which Te Papa hosted for several years. Keen to delve deeper into Christine’s collection many took the opportunity to purchase the book and share tales of their own treasured items.

Anabright Hay