The Topp Twins – an exhibition for New Zealand
Synonymous with small town, rural New Zealand and that Kiwi “can-do attitude”, Lynda and Jools Topp are among New Zealand’s best-loved entertainers. They’ve been cultural touchstones for more than 40 years, their playful, powerful and political creative work continuing to resonate with a broad audience across generational and political divides.
Developed in heartland New Zealand by the award-winning team at Te Manawa Museum in Palmerston North, The Topp Twins exhibition offers an exciting opportunity to celebrate the outstanding contribution these inspiring women make to our nation’s social, cultural and political landscape.
The Topp Twins are iconic Kiwi entertainers. They represent the best of Kiwi values – fairness, hard work, down-to-Earth.
Whether it’s as Camp Mother and Camp Leader, the Gingham Sisters, Westie girls Raylene and Brenda, posh socialites Prue and Dilly or the Kiwi bloke and townie combo of Ken and Ken, the Topp Twins continue to champion the communities and causes near and dear to us.
The Topp Twins have also cleverly brought a range of sensitive and important topics to our living rooms – including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) inclusion, feminism and gender equality, Bastion Point and Nuclear Free – all with a big dose of humour and an ethos of fairness.
The Topp Twins exhibition is an experience designed to tour the country with expressions of interest already received from additional venues following the inaugural Palmerston North season. Like the twins themselves, the exhibition will captivate thousands of people along the way featuring photography, memorabilia and costumes that tell an iconic story of New Zealand’s emergence as a confident nation with a strong sense of community at its very core.
Their Story is our Story
“Behind the taonga (treasures) institutions like ours care for is a wealth of storytelling that is just as important to protect and bring life to – stories that perhaps in the past have been marginalised or unheard through mainstream channels,” says Te Manawa Chief Executive Andy Lowe.
“Lynda and Jools have been champions of those voices through their warmth, humour and sheer hard work. They’ve bridged social and political divides by representing the best of us, and they’ve gained a broad following by doing so. It’s such a privilege for Te Manawa to be building an exhibition that, through their story, tells our story. This is a celebration of the things that have shaped us as a nation, and the spirit and values of the things that unite us rather than divide us.
“Beyond our challenges and our differences are Kiwi values that we share such as fairness, equality and respect. The Topp Twins are the greatest living examples of these values, having championed them for more than 40 years.”
This is a celebration of the things that have shaped us as a nation, and the spirit and values of the things that unite us rather than divide us.
Developing the experience
Development of The Topp Twins exhibition hit a hurdle when, following the 2016 earthquake that caused extensive damage to Kaikoura and Wellington, material from the National Archives, previously flagged for inclusion, suddenly became unavailable.
“Because we were already working very closely with the twins’ management at Diva Productions, they were able to loan us new items, original items we hadn’t anticipated,” Lowe says. “It has really enriched the show and we’re very grateful for their continued support.”
1 July, 2.30pm – Bastion Point documentary
19 July – Anniversary of Springbok Tour
20 July, 6pm – Public talk on twin development
12 August, 7pm – Kiwiana Quiz
17 August, 7pm – Public talk on women in the music industry.
Open from 20 May – 29 October 2017 in Palmerston North. Admission to The Topp Twins exhibition is free for under 18 year-olds, $5.00 for adults. (Please note all children under 14 require adult supervision within the Museum. Open daily from 10am-5pm (Thursday nights until 7.30pm).
For more information on visiting Te Manawa click here.
Touring and Media enquiries
For more information on The Topp Twins exhibition, or to request images for publication please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Touring interest from other New Zealand venues are also invited. Please email email@example.com for information on availability, fees and specifications.