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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.


Be inspired by collections through a sampling of our Collection images.


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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  Ie toga    
  mat - Finely woven pandanus mats called ‘ie toga are the highest ranking item in the Samoan exchange system. Their red feather borders are a symbol of chiefly status.    
  Place of Origin: Samoa

Material: pandanus
Measurements: l 58 cm

Museum location: Auckland Museum
Specific location: Lifeways
Ethnology no: 33561
 Detailed description: Finely woven pandanus mats called ‘ie toga are the highest ranking item in the Samoan exchange system. Their red feather borders are a symbol of chiefly status. Since ancient times, these mats and the red feathers have linked Tonga, Samoa and Fiji in a complex trading relationship. Tongan navigators traveled to Fiji to obtain the red feathers of the Fijian kula lory or the kaka parrot which they took to Samoa where they exchanged them for finished ‘ie toga.
In Samoa, ‘ie toga are presented and exchanged at weddings, funerals, title investitures and other important occasions. They are worn as kilts by the sons and daughters of chiefs for special dances. In Tonga, ancient fine mats carry illustrious personal names and are only brought out on royal occasions.
 References: (1) Stead, O (ed). 2001. 150 Treasures.