Idea hypermnestra linteata AMNZ100407 (detail), Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum CC BY.





Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum is more than just an iconic landmark in our city; it is a place to discover Auckland – past, present and future – ask questions and to stimulate debate about our city and its evolving identity.

Auckland Museum is Auckland’s place of gathering, welcome and orientation, where we share knowledge of our taonga (treasures) and explore the many stories of Tāmaki.

As kaitiaki (guardians), we are responsible for more than 4.5 million treasures within our walls, the DNA of Auckland. And as Auckland’s War Memorial, we are a place for people to reflect and remember.

The launch of our new Five-Year Strategic Plan for 2017 to 2022 recognised that, as the world changes, so we must change too. Our Five-Year Strategic Plan reset our priorities, with a focus on enriching the visitor experience, extending our reach and impact, fostering new research questions and debate, and supporting social belonging and participation.

This review looks at each of our priorities in more detail and shares some of the highlights that have made up our year of achievements in 2018.



The last year has been a formative period for the Museum. We’ve had a record 931,487 visitors through our doors and achieved selfgenerated revenue that’s over $1 million above our full year budget, a 5% growth on FY 2016/17.

This represents a transformational shift from previous years driven off a strongly appealing exhibition programme, supported by a rich series of gallery events and public programmes including the major international exhibition Brickman: Wonders of the World and the hugely successful, sold-out series of Night at the Museum and the LATE curated evenings.

Ninety-nine percent of visitors rate the Museum as a place to learn new things and 81% of Aucklanders agree that the Museum is an important part of the Auckland community.

The development and adoption of our new Five-Year Strategic Plan was a key highlight for FY 2017/18, setting a pathway to help us achieve our long-term goal to be a leading museum in Australasia and globally.

We have created a strong platform, which is allowing us to embark on our transformation strategy from a place of strength.

We are working towards creating a world-class museum experience within our walls and have mobilised our capital improvement programme. Over the next five years, we plan to increase our gallery space by 30% and our visitor space by 50% as we create a venue where visitors can meet, learn and explore.

People are seeking to reconnect with their heritage and culture, and as a repository of history and knowledge, we are continuing to increase access for the diverse communities across Auckland. Being Chinese in Aotearoa: A photographic journey is a great example of our collaboration and partnership with the different cultures who make up the face of Auckland city.

We want to bring the world to Auckland and, alongside our peers, tourism and community partners, we are collaborating to provide wider and easier access to tourists seeking information on the history and culture of our city.

As an encyclopaedic museum, we are a repository of knowledge on the human and natural worlds. We are using this knowledge to ‘stretch thinking’ – to start conversations, enable debate and allow connections to be made between man and our environment. This year, we have been reviewing our research strategy, talking to tertiary and other educational institutions about sharing the information we hold, and enabling the creation of new forms of knowledge.

Our ability to be a vital and exciting part of Auckland’s cultural heart is due to the leadership, efforts and support of a wide range of individuals and organisations. In particular, we would like to acknowledge and thank the staff and volunteers who are the heart of our organisation.

We are appreciative of the ongoing support of the Museum Institute, the Auckland Museum Foundation, the RSA, our sponsorship partners and the many cultural and creative organisations with whom we collaborate.

We appreciate the leadership of our Trust Board and the guidance of our treaty partner, the Taumata-ā-Iwi. This year, we were delighted to welcome Orchid Atimalala as the new Chair of the Auckland Museum Trust Board. On the final page she talks about her passion for the Museum and creating a venue about which every Aucklander can say “this is my place”.

FY 2017/18 was a year of strengthening our platform for the next stage of our transformation, and much has been achieved. We are looking forward to moving ahead as we create a modern, inclusive and dynamic Museum experience.

Dr David Gaimster
CEO, Auckland War Memorial Museum

Orchid Atimalala
Chair, Auckland Museum Trust Board

Precious Clark
Chair, Taumata-ā-Iwi

Sharing our Highlights






visitor satisfaction



self-generated revenue delivered, up $1.08m (12.9%) on budget and 5% growth on prior year



of visitors rate the Museum as a place to learn new things



of Aucklanders agree that Auckland Museum is an important part of the Auckland community


55,458 Facebook

followers (up 9%)



Net Promoter Score, compared to New Zealand industry benchmark for tourist attractions at 38


15 million

page views and interactions with Auckland Museum’s collections online through Digital New Zealand



Natural Sciences records



people reached across 18 offsite
public programmes



digital poppies laid on the Roll of
Honour at Online Cenotaph



schools and early childhood centres visited Auckland Museum for a learning experience outside of the classroom



volunteers donated 26,938 hours



return to Auckland from every $100 spent by Auckland Museum*


*Auckland War Memorial Museum August 2018
Economic Costs and Benefits Report


Image (left): Chrysiridea rhipheus (detail), Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum CC BY.

Reach out to more people


Our goal is to establish ourselves as the place to go for information, debate and discussion on Auckland and our connection to it. Our aim is to attract 1.2 million visitors annually by 2022, and to more than double our outreach audiences in five years to 100,000.

We will do this by investing in our gallery spaces, providing a rich exhibition offering and developing public programmes that draw people to our doors.

Auckland’s population is changing and evolving constantly. Our challenge is to evolve with it, to reflect, record and celebrate the contribution of each to our common past, present and future.

We have strong partnerships and collaboration with Māori and Pacific Island communities and growing relationships and recognition with the many other cultures within our city.

The first Chinese New Zealander arrived in Nelson in 1842, preceding an influx of Chinese workers from 1866 during the Otago gold rush. Today, Auckland is home to a large Chinese New Zealander community.

With such a rich resource at our doorstep, we have the opportunity and the obligation to engage and share knowledge and experiences. We did this in 2018 through a special exhibition and collaboration with the Chinese New Zealand community.

Being Chinese in Aotearoa: A Photographic Journey

Launched during the hugely popular Lantern Festival in Auckland Domain, Being Chinese in Aotearoa: A photographic journey exhibited from 10 February 2017 to 21 January 2018.

Drawing on 175 years of Chinese living in New Zealand, social historian Dr Phoebe H Lee, in collaboration with photographic historian John B Turner, made selections from a pool of nearly 10,000 photographs offered by families and by 16 public institutions including Archives New Zealand and the National Library of
New Zealand.

This exemplary collection of photographs was complemented by a new series of artworks created by graphic artist Ant Sang and writer Helene Wong using stories collected from some of Auckland’s Chinese artists, entrepreneurs, musicians, athletes, and more.

Using a comic-book medium, it explored the experience of Auckland’s present-day Chinese community as a boy and his grandmother tour around the city meeting some of these fascinating figures.

Writer Renee Liang and illustrator Allan Xia contributed Golden Threads, an interactive digital story exploring the experience of early Chinese migrants, while diverse Chinese New Zealanders shared on film their thoughts on what being Chinese means to them.

Being Chinese in Aotearoa was a New Zealand first for an exhibition in collaboration with, by and for Chinese New Zealanders, building on the
exclusive work of our annual Cultural Festival.


Image (left): Vaka akaraanga, model canoe. Manihiki, Cook Islands. 1974.147, 46635 (detail), Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum CC BY.


visits on site



offsite exhibition, Volume South, delivered at Manukau Institute of Technology



visitors to the New Zealand Geographic Photographer of the Year exhibition


Transform our building and collections


Future Museum is a 20-year transformation programme that will greatly improve how we engage with Aucklanders and visitors – onsite, offsite and online – and create a world-class museum experience.

The Auckland Domain building was opened in 1929. Over our long history we have evolved to accommodate changing audiences and growing collections. We are now at the next stage of our evolution.

Over the next five years, we will be refurbishing half of our galleries, creating more public and special exhibition space and developing a hospitality hub that will encourage visitors to make the Museum a destination venue.

Providing world-class care for the growing collections and taonga (treasures) that we are guardians for remains a core priority.

Internationally, science is delivering new and better ways to conserve collections items, and we are determined to leverage progress so that our collections continue to be well cared for and future-proofed.

Manu Tāiko

With storage at the Auckland Domain site at capacity, we needed an offsite storage facility to allow us to keep evolving and rotating exhibitions and galleries on display and to make way for the planned capital works that will enable the building’s transformation.

Our new offsite Manu Tāiko collections centre in Otahuhu was opened in September 2017 and frees up space at the Domain building for public use, as part of our wider building improvement programme.

In Māori whakatauki (proverb), the Manu Tāiko, or sentry bird, kept watch over the forests, sending out a signal of anyone approaching. In that role, the name reflects our obligation to be a good kaitiaki (guardian) of the people who will work at and visit the facility, and of the collections that will be held there.

The 3500 square metre building is essentially a large refrigerator within an industrial warehouse shell. Secure, and temperature and humidity controlled, it has racking and storage for large collection items - such as 20 metreplus Samoan and Tongan royal tapa cloths, or military field guns.

It is the only such dedicated facility in New Zealand and we have received inquiries from other organisations wishing to use it.

It is also designed to provide space for the community, improving the accessibility of collections. Open plan laboratory space and facilities allow groups and experts to share their knowledge of items associated with their cultures, and to study their use, care, materials and the craftsmanship that went into their making.

Manu Tāiko enables us to be more agile with our collections, and more connected with the community.


Image (left): 27349_001 (detail), Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum CC BY.


new 1929 espresso bar opened in the Grand Foyer in May 2018 providing greater amenity for visitors



New Zealand museum to sign the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment as part of TIANZ



objects cared for as part of the Museum’s Pacific Collection Access project


Stretch thinking


Research and fieldwork are fundamental to our position as the curator of a unique suite of assets at the heart of the knowledge economy.

Our goal is to use these to generate new ideas, and be a catalyst for debate and knowledge evolution – to ‘stretch’ thinking.

They allow us to enhance our detailed understanding of New Zealand’s past and present, and help to create a better future by protecting and preserving the natural environment.

They allow us also to unlock cultural knowledge by working with tohunga (experts) and knowledge-holders to transform our understanding of our collections and the work our researchers do in the field.

Our Pacific Collection Access and Te Awe collection readiness projects continue to unlock cultural knowledge as we work with our Māori and Pacific communities to transform our understanding of these collections.

A bioblitz is a stocktake of all the species of plants and animals living in a given space at a given time. Its aim is to promote and improve local natural spaces by empowering everyone to better understand and protect biodiversity.

Generating new knowledge and new ideas, and stimulating debate requires using our resources to educate and engage with younger audiences. Bioblitzes are one way in which we will enhance our knowledge of our collections, and pass that knowledge and interest on to the next generation.

Bioblitz Kapowairua

During 2017, Museum staff conducted Bioblitz Kapowairua, a five-day partnership exercise with Ngāti Kuri on land near Cape Reinga at New Zealand’s northernmost point.

The North Cape is of intense interest internationally due to the rich biodiversity of the land and marine species endemic to the area, and its unique ecosystem.

Our approach involved an innovative partnership with Ngāti Kuri to access their Mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge systems and values).

Ngāti Kuri elders were keen that their younger generations were involved, and the Museum’s scientists worked with three schools - Te Hapua, Ngataki and Te Kao - in weekly video call lessons and on field work.

The exercise produced some rare ecological finds, such as the ancient skull of a moho, the extinct North Island Takahe not previously known to have lived in the area.

This fossilised taonga offers Ngāti Kuri and researchers a glimpse of what the Far North was like before people arrived in Aotearoa.

Recognition of Ngāti Kuri’s ownership and guardianship of the land represented an evolution in scientific thinking towards a sharing of the source of authority.

In contrast to the extractive model which takes artefacts and knowledge and ‘pulls them back to the centre’, the collaborative approach is a two-way model that benefits both science and local communities.


Image (left): LB4322_017 (detail). Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum CC BY.


phase of the Te Awe multi-year project commenced focusing on the Museum's collection of taonga Māori textiles



papers at national and international conferences delivered by Museum staff and 96 written publications produced



commemorative programmes were delivered to acknowledge and remember the contributions of New Zealand’s armed forces and personnel


Lead a digital Museum revolution


Digital technology provides new ways to allow our communities to engage with our primary source material, adding immediacy, emotional evocative power and the ability to tailor each experience to the individual visitor.

It extends our reach beyond our walls into homes and classrooms and is ‘on call’, enabling users to save and access resources at the time of their choice.

Through digital means we can provide a richer experience through interactivity, embedding links and information, and bringing objects to life via video and 3D modelling.

This richness of experience is only one of the benefits that digital brings to education. Teachers and students are increasingly time-poor and digital enables them, online or onsite, to dashboard and send material to a classroom or class email address.

As we invest in the digitisation of our collections and the quality of the public interface, we are working with external partners with a wide range of experience, allowing us to leverage the technology used by other businesses and organisations.

We want to be recognised as a leading digital museum and technology is at the centre of our transformational change process.

Pou Kanohi Digital

Launched in October 2017, Pou Kanohi New Zealand at War is aimed squarely at a generation that finds clipboards and ticksheets quaint and clumsy.

In planning the new Pou Kanohi gallery, Museum staff asked schools and teachers which aspects of digital technology were most useful to them.

The result is a ‘first encounter’ with our primary sources – objects from the collections – enhanced with interactivity, multisensory experience, personalisation and embedded supplementary information.

Pou Kanohi shares New Zealanders’ experiences of World War One from multiple perspectives.

An aerial reconnaissance table allows visitors to pilot a mission above the trenches; a virtual reality headset gets visitors up close to a 3D artillery gun; collectible content enables students and visitors to explore pivotal events through letters, photographs, and diaries in greater depth online, back at school or at home.

Online reproductions of physical documents contain press-and-hold definitions of a technical or disused phrase or word, a ‘toggle’ function between Te Reo and English, and links to websites and other online documents.

Pou Kanohi is the second gallery to be redeveloped as part of an ongoing programme to renew the heritage features of our Museum building and revitalise a third of our gallery spaces.


Image (left): 18455_006 (detail). Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum CC BY.


people reached during the full day ANZAC Day event streaming



open images uploaded to Wikipedia, 30% of Auckland Museum’s open collection



updates to records in Collections Online



Engage every schoolchild


We see Auckland Museum as a vibrant place of learning, enabling young people, in particular, to reach their potential.

Our Museum environment provides unique learning spaces and experiences, and we can offer rich learning opportunities that feel targeted and personalised to the student.

Combining onsite, offsite and online programmes and events, we are developing new services that can be accessed by schools, and other learning communities such as libraries and kindergartens.

Digital technologies allow us to make use of our vast resource of physical collections and records, and are a key part of growing our formal learning student numbers from 40,000 in 2017 to a targeted 100,000 by 2020.

Remembering WWI

In 2018 we continued to partner with schools, government, individuals and communities to bring WW1 to life for young New Zealanders.

For an estimated 32,000 students, WW1 arrived in the classroom this year via ‘ephemera boxes’ delivered to 10- to 13-year olds.

Part of the Walking with an Anzac project conducted as part of the government’s First World War Centenary (WW100) programme, the Museum created 1200 boxes, each containing 32 WW1 ‘artefacts’.

These included paper-based records such as newspaper articles, enlistment forms, fly-bills and letters, and replica objects such as soldiers’ badges, medals and armbands.

Each object was reproduced from the original to look and feel right, each had a webpage linking the object to a serviceman or woman, and each presented a ‘mystery’ for the student to solve.

On the anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele on October 10, we also opened Pou Kanohi New Zealand at War, an interactive gallery aligned with the school curriculum.

Alongside collections, Pou Kanohi features digital and virtual reality experiences, a series of short films in which young Aucklanders explore and reflect on stories of war alongside commissioned works by Māori artists, and bold graphic illustrations bringing WW1 events to life.

Underlying both Walking with an Anzac and Pou Kanohi is Online Cenotaph, the Museum’s database of New Zealanders who have served in wartime.


Image (left): No. 181 bus. 1996.165.105.Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira.


students reached across four schools in the Talanoa pilot that empowered students to create their own responses to the Museum’s collection items as part of the Pacific Collections Access Project



school children engaged onsite, offsite and online



people reached at a pop-up learning experience in Hunters Plaza, Papatoetoe over two weeks in the April school holidays



Grow our income and enhance value for Aucklanders


Self-generated revenue delivered in FY 2017/18 was $1.08m above the full year budget and represents a 5% growth on the prior year – the highest revenue delivered to date.

We are committed to achieving sustainable revenue growth, and our goal is to increase our self-generated income by 30% to $12 million annually. This will supplement the funding and support we receive and help us secure our own future. Fiscal constraint is also important and prudent capital
investment, strong cost control and sound business practices remain a priority.

The events market is growing fast internationally and the Museum is
developing a range of spaces able to offer a unique, character context for social and corporate gatherings.

During 2017 we upgraded our commercial event space on level three after 11 years of intensive utilisation. The Events Centre seats up to 450 guests, one of the largest capacities available in the Auckland region.

Hosting hospitality and commercial events requires considerable behind the scenes capability and expertise, from planning and logistics to working cross functionally to ensure safe and smooth integration with the Museum’s many activities.

It is one of several channels through which we can supplement our ratepayer funding and expand the range of services on offer to Aucklanders.

An Indian wedding celebration

In December 2017 the Museum celebrated a milestone, hosting two Indian weddings on the same weekend at the refurbished Events Centre on level three.

The ‘fire ceremony’ (Saptapadi), in which the bride and groom exchange vows in the presence of holy flame (Agni), is a key element of Hindu weddings.

However, hosting events involving a naked flame presented considerable challenges for Museum staff.

To enable Hindu weddings to take place at the Museum we investigated how these cultural events could fit into the Museum’s activities in a safe manner.

The detailed work required has furnished us with considerable know-how that we can now apply to the many other civil and commercial hospitality events we host, ranging from conferences and car launches to school balls and live entertainment.

Alongside capability, we continue to develop strategies to ensure Aucklanders are aware of the range of facilities on offer.

Venue hire adds to our revenue-generation opportunities in ticketing, food and beverage, and retail.


Image (left): GE10354_004 (detail). Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum CC BY.


million self-generated revenue delivered, the highest on record



tickets sold to Brickman: Wonders of the World, exceeding targets by 44%



attendees to 117 commercial events



Financial Summary



Auckland Museum continued to perform well in FY 2017/18. Record level self-generated revenue was up 5% on the previous year with effective cost management.

This Financial Summary is unaudited with full audited results available in the Annual Report FY 2017/18.


Self-generated revenue

Self-generated revenue has risen 47% over the last six years. The intensive period of capital works over FY 2018/19 and FY 2019/20 will inevitably impact revenue streams. As a result the Museum has planned for a modest decline in self-generated revenue.

Auckland Population and Auckland Council Levy Year on Year Percentage Change

Over time the Museum is using an increasingly smaller proportion of the levy available as we continue to serve an Auckland population that is growing rapidly each year.


A word from the chair,        
Orchid Atimalala


I was privileged to be appointed as Chair of the Auckland Museum Trust Board in 2018. My connection to the Museum goes back to my childhood and my own child is my point of reference for the decisions that I make.

As Trustees of Auckland Museum, it is our role to ensure the foundations are in place to protect this unique inheritance for future generations.

The most important thing we can do is lift our eyes to the horizon and decide what sort of place we want Auckland Museum to be in 20, 50 or even 100 years.

We need to think differently about what the Museum is and what it can be, and balance commercial reality with providing a world-class cultural experience.

We need to ensure the Museum is an inclusive space, where everyone belongs, and reflects the changing face of Auckland and the different cultures within our city.

Part of this is having the courage to invest in our future and to transform the Museum’s iconic heritage building with sensitivity and care and to bring our treasures to life within our walls.

We want to bring our treasures out from behind glass walls and allow our visitors to engage and connect with them. Technology will play a role in our future - allowing us to engage, enabling learning, expanding our reach and providing better operational processes and systems.

The work done this year to develop the Five-Year Strategic Plan provides us with a strong pathway to help us realise our vision.

The strength of our leadership team and the expertise of our people is fundamental to our success and I would like to acknowledge and thank them for their contributions over the past year.

I look forward to working with my fellow Trustees, our partners and supporters to establish Auckland Museum as a sustainable, world-recognised cultural venue for Auckland city.





Auckland Museum Institute

For more information on becoming a member, please visit:


The Auckland Museum Foundation

For more information on how you can support the Museum, please visit:


How to stay in touch  

To follow our social-media channels and sign up for our regular Museum
e-newsletters, please visit: