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Published: 07 May 2023

By Andy Ross

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Helen Clark's fashionable clothes

Helen Clark, Prime Minster of New Zealand from 1999 to 2008 and whose family has Shetland connections, presented some of the clothing that she wore on the world stage to the Auckland Museum.

Meetings of the world’s governments offer occasions for the host country to showcase national traditional dress. Each time world leaders meet for an official gathering, the host country has a chance to create a special costume, as these photographs show, and these remain with the wearer as a reminder of the event. Some of the pieces Helen Clark has donated are these outfits, while others come from significant occasions during the Prime Minister's tenure. It is unfortunate that some found time to criticise the PM on her fashion choices, but how useful to have important clothing in a collection where they are public reminders of the ways in which costume and fashion can help mark such events.