Experience Auckland Museum at Home
Plan your visit
What's On at Auckland Museum
Collections Online. Explore over 1 million records.
Stories. Read our special features, behind the scenes blogs and more.
Education. Book a class visit.
Engaging programmes for all year levels from ECE to Year 12
Browse and contribute to New Zealand's Online Cenotaph
Experience life as a WWI soldier in Pou Kanohi Gallery
Honour and remember New Zealand's servicemen and women.
Find out more about Auckland Museum’s transformation
Venue hire at Auckland Museum
Dive into these favourite blogs from our archives.
Where did Easter eggs come from? How many species of insect did kiwi kids document over the Covid-19 lockdown? What ever happened to the flour mill on Karangahape Road? Find the answers to these and many other questions you didn't know you had in these short reads.
Mary Colclough, or "Polly Plum", was at the forefront of the women’s suffrage movement in New Zealand. She attracted large audiences in Auckland, Thames, Ngāruawāhia and Hamilton at a time when public speaking by women was not common (boats were laid on from the North Shore for her second Auckland lecture). Under her nom de plume "Polly Plum" she occupied many column inches squaring up to her numerous dissenters. Responding to a Letter to the Editor in 1871, Mary summed up her demands for all women succintly as “the right, as thinking, reasoning beings, to decide for themselves what is best for their own happiness. If they were satisfied with man's decision, this agitation for change would not be.”
Born in London in 1836, Mary trained as a teacher before coming to New Zealand in 1859, where she married in 1861. Her husband died young so Mary continued working and raised her two children independently. She became a household name in the 1870s as a champion for women’s rights to an education, their own careers, guardianship of their children and the vote. She also advocated for temperance as well as improved treatment of prostitutes and women prisoners.
Mary crossed the Tasman in 1874 where she continued her support for women’s causes. She returned to New Zealand and teaching in 1876 in time to witness the passing of the Married Women’s Property Act in 1884, but unfortunately did not live to see women in New Zealand receive the vote. She died in 1885, aged forty-nine, following a serious accident.
Her tireless advocacy is celebrated by this folding chair, inscribed with "M C" for Mary Colclough, "WCTU" for the Women's Christian Temperance Union, and "Polly Plum", along with the dedication "In memory of one who loved to serve".
Folding chair dedicated to MC "Polly Plum" and WCTU, Auckland [2006.98.2] © Auckland Museum CC BY
During lockdown, we asked Aucklanders to help our Natural Sciences and Learning Teams. The Citizen Scientists Initiative, or CSI, invited people to photograph animal and plant life in their backyards and out on their daily walks, and share it to the iNaturalist platform, which allows scientists to communicate with these intrepid discoverers.
The results were inspiring. Locals uncovered a range of strange and wonderful wildlife, from the Common Bird-Dropping Spider to a type of fungi known as the 'Potato Earthball'. The green lacewing (insect), which our Curator of Entomology discovered last year, was unearthed in another part of Auckland, while another Kiwi discovered the first known record of the Myrianida pachycera, or Marine polychaete worm.
There have been 600 observations recorded of more than 323 different species. Of these, 22 percent were plants, 34 percent molluscs, 15 percent insects, four percent spiders, seven percent fungi and four percent birds. It's testament to the incredible biodiversity we can find right under our noses!
A reminder from our scientists - Autumn is a great time to spot fungi out and about. You never know what could pop up overnight! Find out how to become a Citizen Scientist here.
With the sighting of the new crescent moon, Muslims around Aotearoa and the world have been celebrating Eid al Fitr, or the Festival of Breaking the Fast. Eid al Fitr celebrates the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the lunar month in which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ramadan observances are being conducted differently this year, however as we emerge from lockdown, the Ramadan message of charity, empathy and compassion is one we can all embody and practice.
Auckland Museum has many beautiful objects from the Muslim world in its collections. This dish is from Iznik, a town in present day Turkey, east of Istanbul. In the 16th and 17th century it was a centre for ceramics producing beautiful and distinctive Iznik ware. Other examples of Iznik ware are currently on view in the Arts of Asia Gallery. Now that we have reopened, why not visit the Museum and take a look?
Be kind New Zealand. Kia kaha! Eid Mubarak!
Around the world as part of International Museum Week, Museums are celebrating heroes, people who have helped to look after us all during this time. For Auckland Museum, we have an unsung hero who has been keeping our taonga safe.
A master of collection care, with more than 15 years’ working with Auckland Museum's collections, Craig undertakes the essential task of looking after our precious taonga every day while our doors are closed. As well as checking in on objects across the galleries, Craig also makes sure everything is ship shape in our collection storage rooms, of which there are more than 20!
What does he do to keep them safe? Craig sorts anything that poses a threat to the safety of our collections, from pesky pest activity to sneaky leaks, so the objects in our care can continue to tell stories of Auckland, Aotearoa and beyond for future generations to come.
New Zealand supermarkets have seen an unprecedented demand on flour, and the disruption to restocking has been largely due to delays in printing the paper packaging. But our flour wasn’t always packed this way. In the late 19th century and well into the 20th, New Zealand’s flour mills sold their flour in cotton sacks which were printed with the brand of the mill, like this flour bag from Partington’s Mill. From 1850 until its demolition in 1950, the Partington’s windmill was a distinctive landmark on the corner of Karangahape Road and Symonds Street. Partington’s Mill may be gone but other remnants of Auckland’s flour milling industry remain, like the Northern Roller Mills building on downtown Fort Street which has since been converted into apartments.
Image credit: Partington’s Mill Flour bag. AWMM. History collection.
This Hot Cross and Cold Cross Bun recipe is from Aunt Daisy's Cookery Book of Approved Recipes.
Maud Ruby Basham (30 August 1879 – 14 July 1963), professionally known as Aunt Daisy, was a well-loved New Zealand radio broadcaster. Her 30 minute daily morning show ran from 1933 to 1963. Her role was primarily to promote household products and to boost morale during World War II.
Try out this recipe and it might just boost morale in your household. Hot Cross Buns best served hot with lashings of butter.
HOT CROSS AND COLD CROSS BUNS
1oz. yeast, 5oz. butter, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ level teaspoon grated nutmeg, ¼ level teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ level teaspoon ground ginger, ½ lb. currants, 1 egg, 5oz. castor sugar, 1 ½ lb. flour, ¼ lb. mixed peel, ¾ pint milk.
Put yeast into small basin. Add 1 teaspoon sugar to it, mix them together until they liquefy. Warm ¼ pt. milk and add it to them. Sift 4oz. flour into large basin. Strain in yeast mixture, and mix to smooth batter. Throw cloth over basin, stand in warm place 30 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile wash, pick over, dry the fruit, and shred peel. Sift remainder of flour into another basin with spices. Rub in the fat, add sugar and prepared fruit. Mix them well together. When yeast mixture is ready, gradually stir into it other prepared ingredients, adding also beaten egg and remainder if milk made warm. Mix them al together, beat well. Then throw cloth over basin, put mixture in warm place to rise until it swells to double its bulk. Will take about 1 ½ hour. When dough is ready, turn on to floured board and divide into 36 portions. Work each portion in smooth bun shape. Place buns on lightly greased and floured baking sheets, leaving space between each to allow to rise. Mark a cross on buns. Cover buns lightly with a cloth and stand in warm place for 20mins or until they are double their size. Put them in fairly hot oven to bake. They will take about 20 mins to cook.
For Glaze for Hot Cross Buns: 1 dessertspoon castor sugar, 2 dessertspoons milk.
Icing for Cold Cross Buns: 6oz, icing sugar, about 2 dessertspoons boiling water.
Image Credit: Aunt Daisy’s cookery book of approved recipes, 1934. AWMM. TX725.N5 DAI.
Good Friday is the day when Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus, who they believe sacrificed his life as atonement for all sin. In ancient Rome, the form of execution was crucifixion, where the victim's hands and feet were bound and nailed to a cross, as depicted on the enamel missal cover from the Museum's Applied Arts and Design collection.
There are various sources that explain why the word 'good' is used to describe a sorrowful event; some speculate it to be a corruption of 'God's Friday,' others suggest that 'good' denotes the day as a holy day. The Oxford English Dictionary states that the word 'good' within Christian context is used as an adjective to designate a day on which a religious observation is held.
Image credit: Missal Cover, Crucifixion of Christ rendered in champlevé enamel, Limoges, France, 13th Century. Auckland War Memorial Museum, M133, 1944.83.
Since ancient times, the egg has been seen as a symbol of life and rebirth. In Christianity, the egg became associated with Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection and became a symbol of Easter. The tradition of Easter eggs originated in early Mesopotamia, where chicken eggs were dyed red in memory of the blood Christ shed when he was crucified. Although egg dyeing is still a popular activity for kids and adults alike during Easter, modern alternatives includes chocolate eggs and candy filled in egg-shaped containers - while the Russian imperial family had jewelled Easter eggs for them by the House of Fabergé from 1885 to 1916.
Image credit: Collection of Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira, gift of Mr Harry S Dadley, 1934.316, K3122, 20734.