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Collections & Research

Collections Online

Search more than one million catalogue records from Auckland Museum’s natural sciences, human history and documentary heritage collections. Explore search highlights or browse by topic. Read more about our collections.

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William Sanders, New Zealand's only naval VC

Takapuna boy Lieutenant-Commander William Sanders is New Zealand's only naval recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest British award bestowed for valour. On the centenary of his death, Associate History Curator Gail Romano reflects upon the local Auckland recognition of his actions.

The Battle of Rafah

On 9 January 1917, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles participated in the final battle of the Sinai Campaign on the borders of Palestine - an event which changed the Middle East in ways which continue to resound today.

Tonny Brinkman: Sand Collector

Sand collector Tonny Brinkman has generously donated 3500 sands to Auckland Museum - and her decades of collecting show that you can explore the world without going far from home.


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The development of the Auckland War Memorial Museum online collection is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.

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  Tauihu -    
   
 
  Tribe of origin: Te Ati Awa
Waka: Tokomaru
Iwi: Te Ati Awa

Locality: Waitara
Region: Taranaki

Source: King George V
Acquisition date: 1925

Material: Wood, paua shell
Measurements: 149 x 20cm

Museum location: Auckland
Specific location: Maori Court West
Duke of Edinburgh
Ethnology no: 7375
 
   
 Pathway: This tauihu was carved by Wiremu Kingi Te Rangitake of Te Ati Awa, in the Taranaki style, probably sometime before 1848 when he moved back to Waitara from Waikanae with almost six hundred of his people. Its ownership then passed to Porutu Te Takataka, a chief of Te Ati Awa of the Wellington area. His son, Ihaia Porutu, presented the prow to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, who was visiting Wellington in April 1869 as captain of HMS Galatea, and the tauihu was taken by him back to England.
When visiting England in 1925, H E Vaile, a member of the Auckland Institute, found a canoe prow on top of a display case in the machinery section of the Science Museums in South Kensington. It bore a label stating it had been bought to England by the Duke of Edinburgh. The large canoe in the Auckland Museum was without its original prow, and the then curator, T F Cheeseman, had always believed that the prow of this canoe had been given to the Duke of Edinburgh when he visited Auckland. When Vaile returned to New Zealand, he arranged with the curator to have measurements of the Auckland Museum canoe's bow sent to South Kensington for comparison with those of the prow. As a result it appeared that the prow was not the long-lost one. However, the director of the Science Museum expressed his willingness to have the prow sent to Auckland Museum if the permission of King George V, as the owner, could be obtained. Permission was duly granted and the canoe prow was carefully packed and lent to Auckland Museum in 1925 where it has remained ever since as a loan from the British Royal Collection.
 
  
 Catalogue description: The figures on this tauihu are elaborately carved with rauponga and spiral designs. Most have paua shell inset eyes. The wood itself is medium brown and polished. 
  
 References: Stead, O (ed). 2001. 150 Treasures, p 87. 
  
  Tauihu   Tauihu