Red lollipop in plastic wrap

Special Collections Twenty at 20: The sweetest item

To mark this year’s 20th anniversary of Special Collections, the curators have selected some intriguing items for the Twenty at 20 series. Here is number six.

Labour Party lollipop

A Labour-red lollipop, housed in the election ephemera collection, is the only piece of confectionary in Special Collections. It was part of a student pack distributed on campus by the Princes Street branch of the Labour Party in the run up to the 2002 General Election.1

The 2002 Princes Street Labour Party student pack.

The 2002 Princes Street Labour Party student pack.

The collection mostly contains thousands of leaflets put into household mailboxes by New Zealand political parties over the last 100 years. But it also contains other ephemera such car bumper stickers, posters, pens and lapel badges.

These are stored typically in acid-free folders to preserve printed and hand-written paper materials. In this instance, however, the lollipop is housed in a conservation-grade plastic sleeve to prevent leakage.

Why go to this effort to keep this lollipop? This student pack, kept in its entirety, gives future researchers a snapshot of what promotional items the Princes Street branch thought would engage university students, many of whom would be voting for the first time in 2002: the lollipop, a ‘Vote [Michael] Wood for Labour’ ball-point pen, a leaflet, and a ‘Be safe with Labour’ condom. What researchers make of the pack’s contents remains to be seen.

Discover more

To view the election ephemera collection, including the student pack, contact Special Collections.

Ian Brailsford, Special Collections


1 Election Ephemera Collection. MSS & Archives 2015/22 1/25/1. Most material has been donated by library staff and is added to each General Election.