Explore the collection at Totara Estate

The collection at Totara Estate consists primarily of farming and meat processing equipment, in keeping with the history of the site. These include saddlery, large pieces of ploughing and harvesting machinery and transport, and butchery equipment.

Portable accordian
Music please!expand/collapse

There is also a small but important collection of original documents and ephemera which belonged to Thomas Brydone (1837 – 1904), the noted land company manager, farm manager, and freezing industry developer, who played a large role in the development of the Estate. 

Other simple objects bear witness to the life of the swagger, or itinerant worker, such as a small candlestick hewn out of an old tobacco tin. 

Portable accordian

Marking the successful gathering of a harvest has traditionally been a cause for celebration, with music, dancing, food and festivities recognising the hard work of the workers and the safely gathered supplies of food.

This portable accordion (pictured) from the Totara Estate collection would have fitted well into a festive scene.  It was made in Germany and is a ‘melodeon’ (or diatonic button) accordion which has buttons instead of piano-like keys.  "Harvest Home" is still celebrated at Totara Estate, in early Autumn, with singing, dancing, fresh produce and baking competitions, horse & wagon rides and games entertaining the visitors. 

Please note that due to conservation reasons not all objects may be on public display at any one time. If you are interested in viewing an item, please contact the Property Manager.  

Heritage New Zealand manages its collection of historic objects in its properties from a central database.  You can find out more about the how the Heritage New Zealand collection is managed, including donating items on this website.

To see further highlights from the collection online, search for Totara Estate at New Zealand Museums