Donating objects to our collection



Since 1852, Auckland Museum has been amassing a world-class, encyclopaedic collection. We have always depended upon the generosity and support of everyday New Zealanders: in the 1920s, financial subscriptions raised by Aucklanders in remembrance of their war dead enabled the construction of what is considered one of the country's finest heritage buildings—our current home atop Pukekawa in the Auckland Domain.

The Museum's collection now comprises some three million objects and counting, each telling a story that helps interpret, understand, and illuminate the history of Aotearoa and its people. We welcome donation proposals that would fit within our current Collection Development Plan and enhance our existing collections.

Please note that, for a variety of reasons, we cannot accept all proposed donations. When considering a donation, we must take into account existing holdings, and the object's relevance to our collection development plans. Storage space and staff resourcing are also kept in mind: sometimes, after careful consideration by our curatorial experts, we will decline an offer—particularly if we already hold a good example of a particular kind of object, as we are unlikely to require duplicates.

Importantly, we cannot accept unsolicited donations. Instead of bringing or sending items directly to the Museum, please first make an enquiry using the below form. Please only send objects to us once instructed to do so; objects sent without prior consultation may be disposed of. Due to the large number of donations we receive every year, there can be delays in the process, although we aim to deal with enquiries in as timely a manner as possible.

In order to donate objects, you must have legal ownership of them—or, if you are not the legal owner, you must have the owner's documented permission to donate to us on their behalf. Please note that legal ownership is separate from copyright, which is covered in more detail below.


Donate to the Human History collections

Auckland Museum protects and cares for nearly 200,000 human history objects in a collection that has been developed and cared for over more than 150 years. The collections cover Māori taonga, Pacific objects, military and social history, applied arts and design, and archaeology.

The focus is predominantly on Auckland, however the collections also contain significant materials from the rest of New Zealand and the Pacific, and around the world. We welcome donations which fit within our collecting plans and enhance our existing collections.

Donate to the Natural Sciences collections

Auckland Museum’s natural sciences collections date back to the earliest days of the Museum and now contain almost 1.5. million specimens. The collections cover botany, entomology, geology, land vertebrates, marine life, and palaeontology. There is a focus on northern New Zealand, but they also contain material from the rest of the country, the south-west Pacific and other parts of the world.

We welcome donations which fit within our collecting plans; however natural science specimens must come with robust data, such as where the specimen was collected, when it was collected, and who collected it. We cannot consider specimens lacking such data.

Donate to the Documentary Heritage collections

Our Documentary Heritage collections comprise manuscripts, ephemera, maps, charts and plans, newspapers and periodicals, rare and contemporary books and pamphlets, photographs, and works of art in the form of paintings, bookplates, and sketches and drawings. We welcome donations which fit within our collecting plans and enhance our existing collections.

Items we are interested in collecting:

  • Original photographs (prints, albums, negatives, slides, cased and all other formats from daguerreotypes to born digital). As one of the largest photography collections in New Zealand we collect the history of photography, most genres of photography from photojournalism to nature, military history and regional history through photographs.

  • Original artworks (paintings, drawings, bookplates) that relate to Tāmaki Makaurau's social history and natural history, or people and places. We collect for content/context and not artistic merit.

  • Original/unique manuscripts (unpublished documentation, produced by individuals, groups, organisations - e.g. letters, diaries, company records etc), ephemera (mass or hand produced - e.g. posters, flyers, protest placards, tickets etc.) and oral histories related to Tāmaki Makaurau's changing and diverse communities, with particular focus on individuals, groups, stories and events that illustrate the city’s social, cultural, economic and military past and present

  • Newspapers published in Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands

  • Books, newsletters, magazines and other serials and publications reflecting the changing and diverse communities of Tāmaki Makaurau

  • Local & provincial maps and plans depicting land ownership and subdivision

  • Military information, images and documents relating to those who served for Aotearoa New Zealand in international conflicts. Digitised copies may be uploaded directly into the relevant Online Cenotaph record.

  • Modern material in te reo Māori and Pacific languages

What we are generally not collecting at the present time:

  • Modern copies of original photographs; motion picture film; commercially produced films or television series

  • Reference books; old newspapers; text books; works published outside Aotearoa New Zealand

  • Newspapers and magazines published outside Aotearoa New Zealand or the Pacific Islands

  • Further copies of published material already held in our collections or those which are already available online

  • Marine charts

  • Copies of original manuscript material, unless it is the only copy of significant/rare material that exists and is relevant to our collections

  • Items in poor condition—unless it is exceptionally rare and relevant to our collections

Copyright and licensing

For objects in which copyright exists, copyright licensing will be discussed as part of the donation process, in accordance with the New Zealand Copyright Act 1994.