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Explore topics

Explore topics

"Wunderpus O Sea", Octavia Cook

Jane Groufsky
Senior Collection Manager, Human History

Who owns an idea? When does a conventional form become a unique and distinctive design? Auckland Museum recently acquired a brooch by contemporary jeweller Octavia Cook which explores these concepts, and responds to a particular situation in which she found herself in last year.

Front-page news: A mystery hui

Geraldine Warren
Māori Resources & Matauranga Advisor

A poster in te reo at the Auckland Museum library needed researching. What was the mystery event at Waihi Marae, Taupō on 18 April 1959?​

Tonny Brinkman, Sand Collector

Hugh Grenfell
Collection Technician, Natural Sciences

Sand collector Antonia 'Tonny' Brinkman generously donated 3500 sands to Auckland Museum, and her decades of collecting show that you can explore the world without going far from home.

Susan Holmes: Fabric Artist

Over four decades award-winning Auckland fabric artist Susan Holmes established a broad repertoire of fabric art skills - documented in the new book Susan Holmes - Fabric Artist by Cerys Dallaway-Davidson. Read an extract on Stenciling here.

Te Hohoro (Speed)

Speed is winning the tauwhāinga (race) and rushing around, being the first to know the rongo kōrero (news), the first to out-manoeurve the hoariri (enemy). But you also have to know when to slow down... to enjoy the ao (world) around you... before life sprints away.

Te Wai (Water)

Water is a defining feature of Auckland. Both wai māori (fresh) and wai tai (salty), it nourishes and refreshes us, and in return requires looking after. Without water, the huarahi (roads) would be even more congested and our tūpuna (ancestors) might never have arrived here.

Ngā Parahanga (Waste)

Each of these brief stories about Auckland relates to an object from the Museum’s collection that’s linked to the topic of 'waste' in our Taku Tāmaki - Auckland Stories exhibition.

Te Huka (Sugar)

Sugar provides vital energy but it can be pretty hard to resist, and not just for humans. It motivates our pollinating pepeke (insects) and energises kākā. Without huka (sugar), much of the mahi nui (hard work) done by West Auckland orchardists would be, well, fruitless.

Te Maitai (Metal)

Metal is all around us, sometimes shining, often matangaro (invisible). It is the tupua (magic) behind early photography and the secret to fertile volcanic soils. Without it, Piha Beach would leave your waewae (feet) a lot mā kē atu (cleaner).

Te Paru (Mud)

Mud, mud, glorious mud, there’s nothing quite like it. Mud lets us whakatupu kai (grow food) and make the pereti (plate) to eat it from. Without it, trees would topple over!

Te Reo (Voice)

Voice is about being heard - saying "hi", kata (laughing), waiata (singing), mana (power).

Te Toka (Rock)

Rock is the foundation of this whenua (land). It is solidarity, weight, and kaha (strength). It grounds us and provides us whakamarumaru (shelter). Without rock Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland would be a lot flatter, and Mt Smart would be hūmārie kē atu (quieter) on a Saturday night.