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About the pictorial collections


From daguerreotype to digital, the photograph collection has more than 1.2 million images and spans over 150 years of photographic history. The collection has early calotypes by William Henry Fox Talbot, the inventor of photography, and closer to home, an impressive set of albums compiled by the 19th century watercolourist and photographer John Kinder, containing remarkable examples of photography from the wet plate era.

Archdeacon Henry Williams.

Unknown photographer. (ca. 1854).Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tamaki Paenga Hira. PH-1964-2-1.

From the dry plate era another Auckland-based photographer, the prolific Henry Winkelmann, gave the Museum his entire collection of negatives, other than the documentary photographs of Auckland City which he had given to the Auckland Public Library.

Women photographers of note represented are Una Garlick and Margaret Matilda White. The latter part of the 20th century is substantially represented by the colourful and prestigious collection of the documentary photographer Robin Morrison. Other collections include the documentary photographs of the Auckland Star and New Zealand Herald newspapers and Sparrow Industrial Pictures.

Paintings and drawings

The paintings and drawings collection numbering over 1,500 works includes oil and watercolour paintings, pencil sketches and lithographic prints.  \Paintings and drawings are collected primarily for their historical values as visual documents rather than for their contribution to aesthetic history. These pictures can take the visual record back beyond the widespread use of photography. It includes substantial collections of the work of Charles Heaphy, Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky, George French Angas and John Webster. It also contains Māori portrait collections by Charles Frederick Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer.

Māori and Pacific Island

The photograph and painting collections have a large range of Māori and Pacific Island images. These include many portraits as well as documentary photography depicting social life and culture from the 19th century to the present.

New Zealand at War

As a War Memorial and Museum we have a strong commitment to the representation of New Zealanders at war. Pictorial collections has a large range of material from both world wars as well as images of other conflict involving New Zealanders.

Where to see in the Museum

Access to the Pictorial Collections

Consisting of photographs, paintings and drawings, these Collections are accessible via the Library on the top floor during opening hours.

To search the Collection select a category: eg, Library / Pictorial, Taonga; or search all categories.

Parts of the collection are only available by prior appointment, and with professional help. In general, access to original photographs and pictures is by appointment.

Please contact the Museum Library for more information, or come and visit it yourself.


Regularly changing exhibitions which draw upon these resources are displayed in the Pictorial Gallery throughout the year.

Fine examples from the Pictorial Collections can be seen in the following Galleries:

  • Front Stairs, West - Portrait of Sir Edmund Hillary, oil painting by Edward Halliday