Topp Twins colourful history goes on display

For the last 40 years Jools and Lynda Topp have given New Zealand some of its most iconic characters - and now they have being given their own exhibition.

The Topp Twins: An Exhibition for New Zealand honours the twins' role in Kiwi society - and their many colourful moments.

"Usually people have passed away when they get something like this! But it's really nice to be here and be part of it," Lynda Topp told Newshub.

Costumes, archive footage and documents are all on display, showcasing their unique contribution to New Zealand's social, cultural  and political landscape.

"We've always loved Kiwiana, we've collected things over the years, we're in that mould now, they're calling us Kiwiana. We're up there with the bumblebee, it's brilliant!" says Jools Topp.

The exhibition was originally shown last year at Te Manawa museum in Palmerston North - an eight-year passion project of chief executive Andy Lowe.

"We think they need to be celebrated. These are people who are constantly out in the world doing what they do, making music, making people laugh, making comments around things that need to be changed or are changing," says Lowe.

Now it's been taken on the road to the National Library in Wellington.

"There is a magnetism about their personalities that's just wonderful to behold," says national librarian Bill Macnaught.

The exhibition puts the Topp twins' music, acting, and political activism all in the same space.

"We're not just singer-songwriters, we're not just comedians, we're not just character people, we're not just political activists. That's who we are, it's all that, you get the whole package," says Lynda. "We're really still quite political."

"But in the meantime you can come in here and put Camp Mother's outfit on and have a bit of fun with your mates," adds Jools.

The twins say it's an honour people want to check out their lives on display.

"In years to come there'll be young people going around 'who were these people? God, look what they did! Look how they dressed! How frightening!'" says Jools.

"It makes you kind of choke up a little bit that people actually want to come and see this kind of stuff," says Lynda.

One long-time fan is Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern - who has her own piece of Topp Twins memorabilia from a TradeMe bidding war in 2011.

"I was looking for a caravan and I stumbled across one that was looking pretty rough. It turned out to be the old Camp Leader/Camp Mother skit caravan, which I bought from the Topp Twins, and lovingly restored and have to this day," she says.

Turning 60 this year, the Untouchable Girls have no intention of slowing down - a movie featuring all the Topp Twins' characters is in the works.

"It's been a good life. We've had a great life. And s**t, we've had a lot of fun along the way and people have come with us, you know?" says Jools.

The exhibition will be at the National Library until September.


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