Steve Braunias: Secret Diary of Peter Snell's singlet

Rick Ellis. Photo / NZPA
Rick Ellis. Photo / NZPA

Rick Ellis
As the CEO of Te Papa, I am often approached by dealers of cultural artefacts which may be of profound interest to New Zealanders, and so it was that I conversed with a gentleman who came up to me on the street and said: "Psst!"

I followed him into a dark alley, and he unrolled a canvas. "A rare McCahon," he said. "Interested?"

"Not really my cup of tea," I said. "Perhaps you should approach an art gallery."

He took a book out of his pocket, and said, "Katherine Mansfield. Six stories no one's ever seen before. Keen?"

"Te Papa doesn't really go in for publishing." I made to go, but he put his hand on my arm.

"Here," he said. "I think you'll like this." He handed me something in his closed fist. It was the black singlet Peter Snell wore when he won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics.

"Here's a cheque," I said in a rough voice. I could barely speak.

This was precious taonga, something all New Zealanders would want to see in their national museum - an old singlet.

John Key
At the end of the day, just as I was about to go to bed, Rick Ellis called.

"I need to come over," he said. "I've got something to show you. Something beautiful."

I let him in, and we went into the kitchen. I poured a couple of glasses.

He handed me something in his closed fist. It was the black singlet Peter Snell wore when he won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics.

"Oh my God," I said. "This is beautiful. Let's get Mark over."

Mark Weldon
JK handed me something in his closed fist. It was the black singlet Peter Snell wore when he won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics.

"Oh my God," I said. "This is the most beautiful thing I've seen since the last series of The Bachelor."

We all sat around and stared at it.

"Anyway," said Rick. "What have you been up to since you left TV3?"

"Not much," I said. Then we all sat around and stared at it a bit more.

Rick Ellis
A report from one of Te Papa's so-called experts raises questions about the black singlet Peter Snell wore when he won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics.

I was furious. I got on the phone and spoke to an underling.

"Now look here," I said. "I thought we'd got rid of all of our experts."

Kate Camp
As the PR trout at Te Papa, I would like to address rumours that we might not have bought the actual black singlet Peter Snell wore when he won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics, but we hesitate to use the word "fake". Our experts have looked at it, and although they discovered a label which reads MADE IN CHINA 2016, we hesitate to use the term "oh shit".

Mark Weldon
I phoned Rick, and said, "I'm not doing much today. Is it all right if I come over and stare at the black singlet Peter Snell wore when he won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics?"

John Key
Mark phoned, and said, "Rick just hung up on me."

I said, "There seems to be a bit of a problem with the black singlet Peter Snell wore when he won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics. Come over later and I'll tell you all about it."

He said, "When?"

"Oh," I said, "at the end of the day."

Rick Ellis
I threw the worthless rag at the dealer, and said, "How dare you play me for a fool!"

"Sorry, guv," he said. "How was I to know? But look. These are the real article." He handed me something in his closed fist. It was the pair of socks Peter Snell wore when he won the gold medal at the 1964 Olympics.

"Oh my God," I said, and got out the chequebook.

It was only later that I did a Google image search and realised that Snell wasn't wearing socks.

- NZ Herald

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