Exhibition showcasing Nelson Mandela's life arrives in Auckland

An exhibition exploring the life of Nelson Mandela has just arrived in Auckland.

Hundreds of photographs, documents and voice recordings have been collated for Mandela My Life: The Official Exhibition,the biggest ever display celebrating the anti-apartheid hero.

But project manager Adrian Caddaye says the journey is more than just Mandela's life from beginning to end.

"It's the people he was along the way, so each section is broken up into a different name that was given to Mandela."

From when a schoolteacher first called him Nelson, to evading police as 'The Black Pimpernel', and finally becoming 'Madiba' as South Africa's President.

Personal objects from Mandela's 95 years now cover the walls of Eden Park, a venue that was handpicked for its rich history.

"It was a game played in 1981 which has been labelled the 'flour bomb test'. It was a game between the All Blacks and the Springboks, but it was something that turned into a protest against racial oppression."

A protest that was a product of Mandela's fight against racism and apartheid - one which landed him in prison for 27 years, where he spent time handwriting letters to his family. 

"Those sort of things really touch on a nerve when it comes to your own emotion, when you're learning about what this man went through when he was imprisoned in an eight by seven-foot box."

At every turn there's hand written documents, diary entries and manuscripts - his writing so distinctive it even adorns the exhibition's walls in his own quotations.

"We even had a font made in his hand writing so that he could sort of write new messages as you travel through the exhibit."

The display has been years in the making and has 350 pieces of memorabilia, including the pen with which Mandela signed away apartheid.

New Zealand is the second stop on the exhibition's five-year journey, and will be on display at Eden Park until August.

For more info, visit https://www.mandelamylifeexhibition.com