“Toys are the products of the society that makes them,” writes David Veart. “The traditional toys of my childhood—trains, trucks, cars and soldiers, dolls, dolls’ houses and play kitchens reflected a time when gender roles were more rigid and facilitated the acting out of the grown-up worlds of motherhood, work and warfare. Today… the worlds of play are infinite.”
Hello Girls and Boys traces the greatest hits of New Zealand playthings, from early Māori kites, stilts, knucklebones and bullroarers through to toys made in local factories or imported in bulk. Running alongside this tour of childhoods past is the question of what each of these objects revealed about the people who made and played with them.