Across its portfolio of properties, Heritage New Zealand holds over 70,000 historic objects relating to the inhabitants and the multi-layered histories of those sites.
Together this collection makes one of the largest groupings of domestic and social history objects in New Zealand, and is of exceptional historical significance. We also hold what is believed to be one of the largest collections of historic wallpapers in the Southern Hemisphere.
The collection bears witness to the gamut of everyday domestic life and industry in New Zealand from about the 1820s onward, with particular emphasis on the Victorian and Edwardian periods.
Meteors, Tudor books, photographs, nipple shields, children’s toys, tuatara eggs, recipe books, diaries and letters, chamber pots, printing presses, high-end domestic furnishings and the contents of ‘lowly’ pioneer dwellings, potato scufflers, windmills, a table on which the Treaty of Waitangi was signed – a seemingly endless list of fascinating objects – largely within the context of their original settings and therefore providing a unique insight into New Zealand history.
Information about items held at all properties is managed centrally on our collection management database. A small selection of these objects is available to view by searching by property at New Zealand Museums.
We are planning our own Collections Online resource. For now, you can explore our Wallpaper Collection online as the starting point. This will be expanded to include other objects and collections over time.
Small publications about aspects of the collection (fashions and recipe books) are available to purchase - contact the Stone Store via email@example.com for more details.
Please contact the Heritage Adviser Collections in our National Office with enquiries and questions.
The collection has frequently benefited from the donations of objects from individuals. In general, we only acquire objects which relate directly to one of our properties or to their original inhabitants. However non-related items are sometimes acquired for education or handling collections.
If you are interested in donating an item to a property, please contact the Heritage Adviser Collections in the first instance.
Objects can also be left via bequest. Please contact the Heritage Adviser Collections or the Funding Development Manager for more information.
A correspondence book belonging to James Reddy Clendon!
This book was recently donated to Clendon House, Rawene. Written in James Reddy Clendon’s hand, the letters copied inside are dated from 1862 to 1865, and are particularly useful as an historical resource as this dates to the period that he was beginning to build his residence at Rawene.
James Clendon (1800-1872) was an influential early European settler in the Northland district, acting as a large scale land owner, merchant president of New Zealand’s first bank, United States consul, and a member of New Zealand’s first legislative council. He witnessed the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and was a strong advocate for local Maori.
Collection items are available for loan to museum institutions only. Formal loan requests should be submitted at least six months in advance to the Heritage Adviser Collections. The Heritage Adviser Collections can also provide a copy of our loans policy on request.
Handling collections may be available for school groups at certain Heritage New Zealand properties. Please contact the Property Manager in question.
You can view the loan agreement template (pdf, 655kb) for an indication of loan conditions.
Research and image requests
The Heritage New Zealand collection is an amazing resource for researchers of material culture and domestic and interior design. Other particular research strengths include the lives of women and children, education, costume and textiles, missionaries and mission life, and the development of particular pastoral and mechanical industries. We also hold what we believe to be the largest collection of historic wallpaper samples in the Southern Hemisphere, amounting to over 2,000 samples. This collection is housed as Highwic in Auckland.
Read more about the strengths of the Heritage New Zealand collection on this website.
For enquiries about researching the Heritage New Zealand collection, please contact the Heritage Adviser Collections. Research charges may apply and details of these are available on request.
Collection images are also available for inclusion in publications. Please see here for details of image charges, and an application form.
Please see below for links to other national and international organisations with similar collections and research interests.
New Zealand Museums, Archives and Material Culture Studies
International House Museum Collections and Material Culture Studies