Tales of Te Papa resource masthead


Phar Lap Skeleton

Episode:37Te Papa Collection:History

Suggested curriculum levels:3 – 6

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, Social Sciences: Identity, Culture, and Organisation

Description:In the 1930s a New Zealand horse became a racing legend in Australia. Since then we've been sharing his success, and what remains of his body. Simon Morton meets Phar Lap's skeleton.

Questions for students

  1. Phar Lap was 'half Kiwi, half Aussie'. Explain what that means. Based on what you saw and heard in the Tale, do you think he should be seen as a New Zealander or an Australian, or both? Why?
  2. Why is Phar Lap so famous? Find the key ideas in the Tale that tell you what made him famous, and why he is still famous today.
  3. Where are the other parts of Phar Lap? Do you think they should be in one place, and if so, where should they be? Why do you think that?
  4. Why do you think Australians and New Zealanders argue over the nationality of Phar Lap and other famous people or items, for example, the pavlova, Split Enz or Russell Crowe? Relate this to concepts such as nationalism, national pride or identity. How important is it for a country to have recognisable 'icons'? Use the 'Connections and conclusions' response template to record your thinking.
  5. Why does Te Papa have the skeleton of Phar Lap? What does this say about the importance of horse breeding and racing to New Zealanders?

Related templates:

Connections and conclusions