The formation of Auckland Museum’s first collections began in 1852, when the Museum was first established, and they have been growing ever since.
These collections were initially designed to preserve and display the 'exotic' flora and fauna of the new country, and the arts, crafts and relics of its people, as well as to reflect the original cultures of the newly arrived settlers.
During the second half of the 19th Century, Auckland Museums collections grew rapidly. Impressive New Zealand natural history collections, and profoundly important archaeological and ethnographic Maori collections were assembled.
Nearly one hundred and fifty years later, we protect and care for the world´s leading collection of Maori taonga (treasures). This includes three entire buildings and a waka taua (war canoe) from the 1830s, as well as vast and much treasured collections of carvings from throughout New Zealand.
The Museum’s permanent storehouse includes superb collections from throughout Polynesia and the Pacific, the countries leading collection of European, Asian and New Zealand applied arts, botanical, marine vertebrate and invertebrate, and land vertebrate and invertebrate specimens, a photographic collection of over 1.2 million images, important pictorial and music instrument collections and a major research and heritage library.
All of these collections and artefacts tell the story of ourselves, and our collective histories to future generations. The Museum provides a direct touchstone to these histories, and will continue to provide this link to our past as a guide to the future.