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Annual Review


Ka puāwai ngā mahi o tau kē, ka tōia mai ā tātou kaimātaki I ēnei rā, ka whakatō hoki te kākano mō āpōpō.

Building on our past, engaging with our audiences today, investing for tomorrow.

Lophophorus Impeyanus, LB7966_013 (detail), Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Auckland War Memorial Museum CC-BY.

As the world changes and becomes more fast paced, so we are changing too.

Our dual role as both Auckland’s War Memorial and an encyclopaedic museum remains the same. But how we connect and engage with our audiences, both within and beyond our walls, is evolving.

Visitation levels continue to be strong, while over half a million people took part in our rich programme of exhibitions and gallery events over the past year, ranging from our highly successful Volume: Making Music in Aotearoa to the sold-out LATE series, and the annual Cultural Festival.

As kaitiaki of collections and curators of knowledge, we want to connect with our audiences, onsite, offsite and online.

We continue to increase access to our collections and engagement with our communities via initiatives such as the Pacific Collection Access Project. We are sharing collections with local communities to enrich knowledge as we digitise over 5,000 Pacific treasures by 2019. We concluded Te Awe, a cataloguing, conservation and storage project, which has improved the care of our Māori taonga (treasures) and enhanced the information connected with them.

Our connection with the world continues to grow faster than ever as we extend our presence in the digital world. More than 1 million objects have been added online, including 60,000 new images, which puts our digital collections amongst the best in the world.

A valuable education resource and research tool in its own right, Auckland Museum is a 24/7 global Museum accessible by all.

We are partnering on research which will improve the natural environment of the region we live in, such as in our contribution to seabird conservation and monitoring the impacts of climate change on marine animals.

And we’re collaborating to extend our reach to deliver value to the people of Auckland and visitors to the city by working with tourism and community partners.

We are grateful to the leadership of our Trust Board and the guidance of our treaty partner, the Taumata-a-Iwi. We thank the Pacific Advisory Group and Youth Advisory Group for their considerable commitment. 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 acknowledge and thank Auckland’s Mayor, Councillors and Local Boards, and are grateful for the generosity of our many loyal supporters, funders, partners and volunteers. Without them, we would not be able to continue to be the home of Auckland’s collective remembering and commemoration. Nor could we play our part in Auckland’s cultural and visitor economy. Or be the compelling experience that so many generations of Aucklanders tell us they want.

We were pleased to achieve our ambitious goals in FY16/17. However, we are not standing still.

Five years into our 20-year Future Museum strategy, we are continuing to move at pace to meet the needs of an ever-growing and diverse city.

Dr William Randall MNZM
Chair, Auckland Museum Trust Board Dr William Randall

Precious Clark
Chair, Taumata-ā-Iwi Precious Clark

Dr David Gaimster
Director, Auckland Museum David Gamister


Antarctica: While you were sleeping, 2017




Facebook followers up 18%


people viewed the live stream of the ANZAC Day Dawn Service


New Zealand service personnel records in the Online Cenotaph


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


of visitors are ‘promoters’, compared to New Zealand benchmark for Tourist Attractions at 45%


hours contributed by 275+ volunteers

$9 million

self-generated revenue delivered – up 14% on plan


visitor satisfaction

2 million

page views via Online Cenotaph


interactions with Aucklanders, offsite in their community

1 million+

objects now uploaded to Collections Online for public use


online interactions through Digital New Zealand


visits to the internationally award-winning, home grown Volume: Making Music in Aotearoa exhibition

3.3 million

botanical records downloaded via international platforms


new Images added to Collections Online


2001.25.14.1-9_003 (detail), Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum CC-BY.

Lit up at night and seen from across the city, the Museum remains one of Auckland city’s most iconic cultural venues.

Maintaining our heritage building and safeguarding the Museum’s collections for future generations is an essential part of the 20-year Future Museum plan.

However, the Museum is more than a building, a storage house or a gallery. It is also a centre of knowledge, identity, history and a sense of place in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. The Museum plays an active role by promoting cultural and scientific research and scholarship. This helps to generate new knowledge which enriches the experience for our increasingly diverse audiences.

To achieve the Museum’s goals and secure our future, we are focused on greater financial self-sufficiency. Fundraising and compatible revenue-producing activities are supplementing our public funding, with $9 million self-generated revenue delivered in FY2016/17.


hours removing paint and 11,162 hours on tukutuku conservation and weaving repairs during the restoration of Hotunui wharenui, with whanau and expert weavers


collection enquiries from public, professional colleagues and research partners, answered by Museum staff


topic pages for websites and 32 papers at national and international conferences, delivered by Museum staff

Pou Maumahara Memorial Discovery Centre


The new Pou Maumahara Memorial Discovery Centre is the physical home of Auckland Museum’s Online Cenotaph, a digital social space where enthusiasts, families and researchers can share and contribute to the records of those who served for New Zealand.

More than 70,000 WWII Army service records were added to Online Cenotaph in FY2016/17, and nearly 3,000 individuals contributed more than 14,000 pieces of information in the form of images, medals and notes connected to individual servicemen and women.

A mobile roadshow and Artefact Digitisation Units enable communities all over the North Island to contribute, with 25,000 people using the Units in 44 locations from the Far North to Wellington.

The most common contribution is the laying of a poppy or a personal message in remembrance of a family member, with more than 73,000 digital poppies laid in the last year.

Pou Maumahara brings to life the stories behind the photos, diaries and military collections. It supports school groups and individuals to discover their connection to New Zealand’s war experience.


VOLUME Spark visitor lanyards(detail), Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum.

From its physical presence to the wonders housed within, every aspect of Auckland Museum is designed to engage, inspire and educate our visitors.

We are collecting and sharing stories that celebrate Auckland’s rich cultural diversity through exhibitions, programmes and events. Created in collaboration with artists, experts and local communities, these events are attracting a diverse audience.

For local communities in Auckland, the Museum is a place of discovery and learning as well as somewhere to reflect and remember.

During the last year, more than half a million people visited the Museum including 5,000 who attended the ANZAC Day Dawn Service, which was streamed live for the first time.

For international visitors to New Zealand, the Museum is a ‘must see’ destination and remains the only cultural venue in Auckland with a daily Maori cultural performance. We are making it easier for the growing number of Chinese tourists, with online engagement and Mandarin-speaking hosts.

Looking forward, our focus is to deliver world class experiences that encourage repeat visits from Aucklanders and establishes us as a destination of choice for international visitors to the city.


ranked ‘things to do’ in Auckland on TripAdvisor


attracted to four sold out events in the LATE series of curated evenings


tickets sold-out to four Night at the Museum events

VOLUME: Making Music in Aotearoa

Celebrating the history of popular music in New Zealand, the VOLUME exhibition in 2017 was one of the Museum’s most popular ever, with 207,951 visits.

An innovative blend of culture and technology, VOLUME took visitors on a ‘hands on, ears on’ musical journey back through the decades from the 2000s to the 1950s.

The story was bought to life by a collection of over 200 objects and memorabilia – costumes, instruments, hand written lyrics and images, generously loaned by some of New Zealand’s best loved musicians.

Over eight months, VOLUME provided an immersive experience for visitors, allowing them to step into a recording studio, spin the decks as a DJ, flip through records in a 1980s record store, learn to play a classic Kiwi song in a 1970s pub, or step back in time and on to the set of 1960s music show C’mon.

Engagement extended online via social media – snapchat filters and Instagram pictures – in addition to interactive and visual web content and online competitions.

As well as winning the hearts and minds of visitors, VOLUME was also a winner of an Exhibition Media Award at the 2017 GLAMi Awards in Ohio, the Best New Range Award at the inaugural Museum Shops Association awards and the 2017 Excellence in Sponsorship Award from the Fundraising Institute of New Zealand, celebrating the Museum’s partnership with SPARK.


Pare, Hat. Cook Islands. AWMM. 53487.2. (detail), Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Fundamental to the Museum’s place in the community is increasing accessibility. We are focussed on extending our reach, connecting with more people and sharing more stories.

We recognise that not all Aucklanders can and will visit the Museum. We are therefore expanding access to our rich programmes by taking them out to the community. You will find us in libraries, schools and community festivals delivering educational programmes which enable discovery.

Digital connectivity is an important part of reaching beyond the walls and sharing our knowledge, and the Museum’s Collections Online is recognised as a world leader. We have invested in technology which enables people to interrogate our wealth of information in more depth. This is opening up access to our collections, enhancing the learning experience and supporting research.

We are also using technology to enhance our role as Auckland’s War Memorial with our Online Cenotaph database creating a legacy for future generations.

3.3 million

downloads of Museum botanical collection information


interactions with the public onsite via Pasifika, Auckland Writers Festival, Tamaki Herenga Waka Festival, and World Masters Games


cultural exchange with Nanjing Museum, China

Pacific Lifeways Gallery, Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum, CC-BY.


The Pacific Collection Access Project (PCAP) is a partnership between the Museum and Auckland’s Pacific communities, which opens up access to the Museum’s Pacific treasures and creates stronger connections with Pacific communities.

Already the Museum has one of the most diverse and significant Pacific collections of its type, with more than 30,000 objects. Through the PCAP, the Museum is working closely with ‘cultural knowledge holders’ in order to enrich the collections. They are sharing indigenous names for objects, identifying materials they are made from and advising on how they were used. This information is being incorporated into the Museum’s database and, together with new high definition digital images, is being made available online.

The project commenced in 2016 with the Cook Islands and, by its completion, it is expected that over 5,000 items from 13 Pacific Island nations will be made available, providing a vast breadth of information, images and cultural connections for communities, researchers and future generations.


Pavo cristatus, Peafowl, LB10191_006 (detail), Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum, CC-BY.

Culture and the arts underpin Auckland’s aspirations as a leading global city. The Museum plays an essential role in this, with new levels of engagement matching us with the best in the world.

Our philosophy is one of partnership and collaboration and we work with cultural institutions both within Auckland and nationwide to develop creative solutions that deliver social, economic and cultural value.

From sharing collections and loaning items, to strategic advice and support for other institutions and establishing options for long term care and protection of heritage collections across Auckland, we are working together to support Auckland’s aspirations.

The Museum is privileged to be recognised as Auckland’s war memorial and we continue to honour those who have served in war, through annual commemoration programmes and events in partnership with Auckland Council, the Returned Services Association and other parties.


time hosting Wildlife Photographer of the year exhibition from The Natural History Museum, London


prize ‘Most Innovative Use of Te Reo Māori’ at New Zealand Museum Awards for bi-lingual natural sciences education programme


new loans including 5000+ Museum collection items to scientific research organisations and other museums


Museum culture is ever changing and today the Museum is embracing a new kind of access to its collections, one that allows people to explore and engage with its rich and diverse natural and cultural collections on their own terms.

Collections Online is one of the largest imaging and cataloguing initiatives ever undertaken by the Museum. Now in its second year, Auckland Museum is recognised as one of the leading online museum collections in the world with more than 1 million items available to view free, and 2,000 new objects being added every month.

The internet has opened up a digital space for people to engage with and expand the understanding of the collections. With approximately 40,000 page views on any one day, the engagement is tangible. The policy of open access is a core part of the Museum’s online strategy. People can access the data, transform it and share it.

Global recognition was received in 2017 with the Museum recognised as an ‘example of best practice’ by the World Wide Web Consortium for its open data policy.

In an example of the collaboration now possible across the sector, this year Auckland Museum participated in a new online exhibition as part of Google’s Cultural Institute, alongside more than 50 leading natural history institutions from 15 countries.


Auckland Museum continued to perform well in the FY2016/17. Self-generated revenue was at a record level while costs were managed according to budget.

The Museum's full audited Annual Report FY2016/17 will be online from October 2017.


It is vital that we continue to look forward in order to create a strong and sustainable foundation for the Museum.

Auckland Museum will provide the city with a showcase of best practice globally, from visitor experience to engaging with our audiences, communicating and sharing our knowledge and being at the leading edge of the digital frontier.

This means being better connected – with Aucklanders, our communities, and across the cultural and educational sectors. It also means increasing visitor mobility across Auckland’s cultural institutions and increased collaboration to allow people to investigate themes of interest across a number of venues.

We are now five years into our Future Museum programme. Under this plan, we are transforming our Museum, refurbishing and revitalising our galleries and adding more space to showcase more of our collections. We are improving the visitor navigation in our grounds and within the Museum itself.

A world class vibrant hospitality and retail precinct is absolutely essential to the modern visitor experience. Our goal is to generate a new connection with Aucklanders and encourage them to visit many times to explore the galleries, view special exhibitions, shop, meet friends for coff•ee and lunch and spend more time within the Museum.

Future Museum is enabling us to have a new conversation with all our audiences. Our future is about partnership and collaboration, and developing creative solutions that deliver better value for Aucklanders and the wider educational and cultural institutions we serve.

The Auckland Museum Foundation was established in 2015 and has been tasked with ensuring the funding for our long-term vision.

Find out more about Future Museum