Est. 1867

Est. 1867

The Auckland Museum Institute, established in 1867, is an independent voluntary run organisation. The Institute organises a programme of lectures, field trips and other events, and plays a unique role in the governance of Auckland Museum by appointing four members to the Museum Trust Board. It is the Auckland Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi, providing members' and the public access to both local and international lectures.

The Auckland Philosophical Society was founded by Captain Frederick Wollaston Hutton and Thomas Bannatyne Gillies, and in 1867 they formed a learned group dedicated to the advancement of knowledge. Some months later, in early 1868, this group renamed itself the Auckland Institute and was formally incorporated with the New Zealand Institute. From this point on the Auckland Institute took a responsible interest in Auckland Museum. Thomas Cheeseman later referred to the Institute in this phase of its existence as "a wanderer without a settled home" with a "handful of books and a rudimentary museum".

Image: Founder of the Institute, Sir Frederick Whitaker
Unknown photographer. (ca. 1889) T.B. Gillies. Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War. PH-ALB-44:23.

The first minutes of the Auckland Philosophical Society set out the purpose they desired to achieve.

“The object of the Society shall by promotion of art, science and literature by means of a museum and library, lectures and meetings of members, at which original papers may be read, and conversations and discussions take place, on literary and scientific subjects or otherwise as may from time to time be determined by the Council to be elected as hereinafter mentioned.”

The Institute today, under the 1996 AWMM Act, in essence remains true to its original purpose defined now as;

"The Institute is the membership body for Auckland Museum and a facilitator of lifelong learning and knowledge sharing, engaging audiences through premium lecture programmes and events, in support of the Museum and its endeavours."

Image: Founder of the Institute, Thomas Bannatyne Gillies
Unknown photographer. (ca. 1889) T.B. Gillies. Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum. PH-ALB-44:23.

History of the Institute

History of the Institute

From the foundation of the Institution to the current day, discover more about the history of the Auckland Museum Institute.

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Key resources

Key resources

View the latest resources and notices from the Auckland Museum Institute. 

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The Auckland Museum Institute Council

The Institute Council for 2022/2023 is:

Marguerite Durling

Marilyn Kohlhase

Phil Lascelles

Angela Lassig

Dr Roger Lins (President)

Rae Nield

Daniel Pouwels

Alison Preston (Treasurer)

Moth Sutherland-Tupp