The Pacific Collection Access Project (PCAP) was a three year project that:

  • improved knowledge and understanding of the Museum’s Pacific collection;
  • improved the safety of the Pacific collection; and
  • increasde public access and engagement, especially for Pacific source communities, with the Museum and its Pacific collection.


The project was focussed on the collections of 13 island nations/groupings which were worked on in alphabetical order over three years. They were: Cook Islands, Easter Island, Fiji, French Polynesia, Hawai’i, Kiribati, Niue, Pitcairn Island, Sāmoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna.

Items such as tools, ornaments, musical instruments and carvings were brought out of storage to be examined, cleaned, measured, photographed and re-housed into safe and accessible storage. Improving information about each item in our Museum’s records was crucial, and where possible priority was given to languages, dialects and specific cultural knowledge for each island nation through the inclusion of appropriate names and terminologies.

The project was an endeavour of partnership and discovery where the Museum and Pacific communities worked together to:

  • enrich information about Auckland Museums Pacific collection;
  • build a collecting strategy;
  • share and exchange knowledge and programming about individual works, and the cultures they came from.

Out of this exchange knowledge and stories long hidden will be uncovered and perhaps connections renewed.

Unique project name for each island nation

As the team start to work on items from each Pacific nation, the first step in the community engagement process was to find leaders from Auckland based Pacific communities who could suggest an appropriate project name using their own Pacific language and terminology. This gave each component of the project its own unique identity.


Over three years over 5000 items from 13 island nations/groupings were worked on, in the order below:

Cook Islands

May – Oct 2016


Oct 2016 – Oct 2017

French Polynesia

Nov 2017 – early Feb 2017


Feb 2018


March – Aug 2018


Sept - Oct 2018

Pitcairn Island

Nov 2018

Rapa Nui

Nov 2019


Nov – Dec 2018


Jan – April 2019


April 2018 – June 2019


June 2019

Wallis and Futuna

June 2019