For our final Artefact Unpacked for 2021, it seems fitting to make it festive! This make-shift flag featuring Santa Claus, was hand painted onto an old white sheet by several members of the crew of HMNZS Wellington, during Christmas of 1995. It was flown from the main mast on Christmas day, whilst Wellington was deployed to the Persian Gulf. Wellington was patrolling the waters of the Arabian Gulf, as part of the United Nations Multinational Interception Force, which was enforcing the United Nations sanctioned general trade embargo against Iraq, after their invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Wellington successfully detained a number of vessels transporting prohibited goods during her time there. Although very far away from home, the flag shows the kiwi sailors’ Christmas spirit. The ship returned to Auckland in February 1996. The flag was kept and eventually made its way to the museum in 2011.
By Collections Assistant Hannah Pym