Object: Iron helmet (known as the "Spanish" helmet)
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|Title||Iron helmet (known as the "Spanish" helmet)|
Unknown (metalworker), circa 1580, Europe
x 192mm (Width/Depth)
An iron helmet dated to 1580 and previously thought to be Spanish was found in Wellington Harbour some time before 1904. It has since been repeatedly cited as evidence of European contact with New Zealand prior to Abel Tasman in 1642. It is a ‘close helmet’. Though the style is European, it is not necessarily Spanish. It could have been made in England or northern Italy. Its state of preservation suggests it was immersed in seawater for only a short time. It shows no signs of marine encrustation, although it could have been cleaned. Archival material in the Museum shows that so little is known about the helmet that it cannot be used as evidence of European contact with New Zealand before Tasman.
The helmet may have been a souvenir or heirloom brought out by an immigrant. It may have also been given as a presentation piece or as trade to local Mäori in much the same way as armour was presented to Hongi Hika, Titore, and a sword to Te Rauparaha. The helmet was first recorded in the museum's collections in 1904 - 1905. It has been dated to approximately 1580 and is of a type known as a close helmet. Close helmets were used in the sixteenth century. There is no evidence to suggest Te Papa's helmet is actually of Spanish origin. It is not known when or how the museum acquired the helmet. It was recorded as "found in Wellington Harbour", with no date of the supposed finding specified.
Results from DigitalNZ
Searching 27 million digital objects from over 150 content partners across New Zealand
- VALUE OF STEEL HELMETS. (Colonist, 23 May 1916) - National Library of New Zealand
- Steel Helmets and Shields HOW IN THE TRENCHES. (Wanganui Chronicle, 08 March 1916) - National Library of New Zealand
- Fox' Photo: Iron nerves aresneeded for the crazy stunts with whichTonyÃŸering. and .his company of motor-cyclists..have- been thrilling} thousands of people throughout England in the last few months. Bering, clad only inâ– q. helmet and bathing suit, is seen crashing through 4t>. mound of barrels. ' . (Evening Post, 21 July 1939) - National Library of New Zealand
- The Garment of Iron. (Wanganui Herald, 02 November 1901) - National Library of New Zealand
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