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Auckland Museum opens new commemorative gallery - Pou Maumahara Memorial Discovery Centre

Thu, 10 Nov 2016
Open daily, Next to WWI Hall of Memories, Level 2

On the eve of Armistice Day, the doors have opened to Pou Maumahara Memorial Discovery Centre, a stunning new war memorial gallery furthering the preservation of Auckland’s history and creating a legacy for the First World War Centenary.

Piki Kotuku Te Kuru's whānau exploring the interactive on Piki's military service.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira.

Pou Maumahara is a new space to remember our service people and discover their individual stories. It is a research space where visitors can contribute personal knowledge and information onsite to create a legacy for future generations.

The gallery encourages you to delve into the stories of New Zealanders through digital interactives, photographs, diaries, military equipment and hundreds of precious military medals laid out in visible storage.

This gallery has been repaired and its original heritage features restored. The original neo-classical design has been revealed featuring marble skirting, columns and an engraved timber stage.

Auckland Museum Director Roy Clare says that this new gallery is something unique and meaningful to Auckland.

“In our role as kaitiaki caretaker of this historic building and its precious taonga, we have made every effort to keep to the integrity of the original design as it was established in 1929.

“The gallery is something quite breathtaking for our visitors to experience, and is the first gallery project to be completed under Future Museum – our 20 year strategic vision,” he said. 

The gallery is home to Auckland Museum’s Online Cenotaph – a central point for the personal and official memory of people who served for New Zealand Aotearoa.  

Gallery Curator Georgina White explains that while Online Cenotaph can be accessed anywhere, the Museum experience will be unique and enriched.

“Only in Pou Maumahara will visitors be able to talk with and ask questions of our expert staff, access subject-specific books and connect the Online Cenotaph records to physical objects from our collections," she said.

"I hope that visitors to Pou Maumahara feel excited about the potential for discovering stories in the hidden detail of objects, so much so that they want to rush home and re-examine the treasures they've stored in shoeboxes in their attics," says curator Georgina White.

The development of Pou Maumahara has been a collaborative process, involving contributions from many individuals.  Beautiful flax panels were created by weavers from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and students from Birkenhead College helped to write profiles on servicemen for a digital interactive, where you can click through a map of Birkenhead to discover letters, photos and stories about those who served.

The Museum acknowledges particular funding from a NZ Lotteries Grant which has enabled the restoration of the Museum’s heritage features and redevelopment of this gallery space.

Be one of the first to walk through this beautiful new gallery space, explore the digital displays or sit down with a book, plug in a laptop and soak up the rich history around you. 

POU MAUMAHARA MEMORIAL DISCOVERY CENTRE

Open daily
Next to WWI Hall of Memories, Level 2
Free with Museum Entry