Title / object name
Costume design for Victory Queen Carnival, ’Queen of Hutt Valley’
|Maker ||Role ||Date |
|Rodie, Mollie ||artist ||1941 |
poster paint on paperMaterials
paper, poster colour, ink
|Overall ||380 (Height) x 266 (Width) mm|
drawings, design drawings, fashion illustrations
Gift of Marion F. Mackenzie (née Rodie), 2009
Mollie Rodie created this sketch for the grand finale of the Victory Queen Carnival held in Wellington Town Hall in June 1941. Queen carnivals were a popular way to raise money during World War II. Women dressed in fabulous outfits and competed for votes to raise money for patriotic causes. The winner was crowned Queen of Victory.
The Victory Queen Carnival finale was the triumphant end to a four-month fundraising effort. Hundreds of volunteers helped to raise over £100,000 towards a national appeal to support New Zealand troops, their dependants, and those suffering from bombing in Britain.
The fundraising was organised by six queen candidates and their princesses, who were elected and supported by industry, business, and women’s organisations. They used every possible fundraising ploy: garden parties, balls, concerts, competitions, baking – even a burlesque football match. The queen candidate who earned the most votes and money (the public had to pay to cast their votes), was crowned Queen of Victory at the end. Fundraising not beauty won the crown.
Queen of Hutt Valley
This particular sketch was for the Queen of Hutt Valley - Mrs E T W Rio Love. She was unusual amongst the queen candidates not only because she represented a district but because she was actually a queen in her own right. Her title was Makea Nui Takau Margaret Ariki of Rarotonga. She was well known as a leader of Maori and of patriotic activities, making her a popular voting choice.
The newspaper reported that she wore 'bud draperies and leis of yellow flowers' at the grand finale of the Victory Queen Carnival (Evening Post, 4 June 1941, p 4).
Backdrop of war
Regardless of pomp and glamour, the Carnival was a serious business set against the backdrop of the Second World War (1939-45). The loss of the Battle of Crete in May 1941 and evacuation of New Zealand troops would have weighed heavily on many during this period. Mollie recalled, ‘There was a great bond between women in those times, many with their men absent, great worries and concerns, not to mention much sorrow and loss’. She hoped her glamorous designs would lift people ‘out of this world of ours’.