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Temporary exhibitions

Temporary exhibitions explore a wide variety of Banks Peninsula-related subjects from the serious to the quirky.

Current exhibitions

June's Wardrobe: an autobiography in outfits

This winter, Akaroa Museum showcases nine outfits from its June Hay costume collection with June’s Wardrobe: an autobiography in outfits.

June Hay, nee Goodwin, from Pigeon Bay, is renowned locally for her interest in fashion, as a dress maker, and for keeping her entire wardrobe, a collection that spans several decades. The selection of outfits in this exhibition reflects the transition June made from a young single woman in the 1940s to a wife and mother in the 1950s and 1960s.

 The exhibition runs from May to November 2019.



Past exhibitions

A Photographer's Eye: Donald McKay's 1950s



Living in Le Bons Bay, Donald J. McKay was "Banks Peninsula's resident photographer" from 1949 to mid 1961. This exhibition of 24 of his photographs showed local people and places through his eyes, with his characteristic humour and his creativity.

 December 2018





No Voice No Choice

This exhibition was created to tie in with Beca Heritage Week 2018 and Suffrage 125 Whakatū Wāhine. The exhibition was about the lives of twelve Banks Peninsula women from the 19th and 20th centuries, during the period when the campaign for suffrage was underway, and in the decades immediately afterwards. 















October 2017


 Banks Peninsula Wide


framed wide photographs and camera in museum display

Panoramic photographs taken during the 1920s by photographer Robert Percy Moore. Moore’s wide-format photographs present a 200 degree horizontal arc. Mounted inside dark oak frames, R. P. Moore photographs are instantly recognisable.

December 2017



T. E. Taylor Studio Photographs

photographs displayed on a wall


An exhibition of more than 50 of T. E. Taylor’s photographs, taken during the period 1896-1910, digitised and printed from their original glass plate negatives.

May 2017





The Richard Stewart Original Pharmacy collection

advertising signs displayThe old chemist shop building at the corner of rues Lavaud and Croix has been the source of a wonderful collection of 
advertising signs, packaged remedies, balance scales and mortar and pestles. Also in the collection were records from the pharmacy including prescription books and a poisons register. The exhibition focused on Henri Citron, the chemist who moved into the shop on the corner of Lavaud and Cross streets in 1883, the two generations of Dodds who ran the business from 1888 to 1926 and the two generations of Stewart who followed them.

May 2017


Painted and Carved: the art of J. H. Menzies

Painted and Carved presented a survey of the unique artistic output of John Henry Menzies (1839-1919), otherwise employed as a Banks Peninsula farmer.cutlery canteen with Maori carving, one drawer open

Menzies' artistic legacy includes around 80 pieces of carved furniture, one decorated house (of three) named Rehutai, and one decorated church, St. Lukes Anglican Church at Little Akaloa.

In 1910 he published Maori Patterns Painted and Carved. Menzies was fascinated by the patterns in Māori art which he studied and reproduced in his art works, often combining these with botanical reliefs, Celtic motifs, proverbs and sayings.

April 2016



red and white 1950s children's tricycle

Chappell family tricycle. AK:2010.54.1

5th December 2014 marked a milestone in the history of Akaroa Museum. It was the Museum’s fiftieth anniversary, celebrated with a community birthday event on Sunday 7th December, and a new exhibition, ‘Fifty’. This exhibition combined the story of the founding of Akaroa Museum with a playful display of 50 objects chosen from the collection, one object to represent each year since opening.

December 2014










Tales of Banks Peninsula 

oil painting of Akaroa Harbour

Akaroa Harbour from Barrys Bay W. M. N. Watkins, oil on canvas, 1874. AK:2011.11.1

This was an exhibition of interconnected objects and overlapping stories that explored the history of nineteenth century Banks Peninsula.

Tales of Banks Peninsula was about the reactions of settlers to their new home and environment, and of Māori to the new settlers.

November 2014






Fronting Up 

First World War New Zealand soldier in uniform

Trooper Maurice Moore, Clifford Studio, 1914. AK:2012.32.46

This exhibition looked at some of the main events of the First World War concentrating on the experiences of the Banks Peninsula servicemen and servicewomen, often using their own words to describe them.

Based on first-hand accounts, Fronting Up displayed photographs, letters and souvenirs collected by the soldiers and nurses, some of whom (lest we forget) were never to return.

August 2014











portrait bust of a Maori man

He Āhua Tipuna Life mask of Takatahara Moulded by Pierre-Alexandre Dumoutier (1797-1871), painted plaster, 1840. AK:1991.646.1

This “Stage 1” reopening exhibition followed 55 weeks of being closed to the public due to concerns around the seismic strength of the Museum buildings. Horomaka was developed around the life cast of Takatahara (Tangatahara) made in 1840 and several ancestor portraits connected to Ōnuku. The content was themed around cultural and artistic meetings and negotiations during the 19th century. 

12 July 2013












the dog show

The Dog Show

A different way of looking at the Museum's historic photograph collection. Stray dogs, street dogs, working dogs, pet dogs, lap dogs: once you start looking, you see that dogs are everywhere (as the Pulp song goes).

May 2012






Akaroa on holiday photo competition

'Freedom Jump', by Nicole Paul

Akaroa on Holiday - photograph competition

In collaboration with Akaroa District Promotions, the Museum showed the best entries in a photograph competition to capture the spirit of being in Akaroa on holiday.

March 2012





Akaroa on holiday

Akaroa on Holiday

Akaroa was recognised early as a favoured resort for holidays, becoming even more popular as road transport improved.

Campers, bach-owners, convalescents, day-trippers and honeymooners have enjoyed the unique charms of the town for decades.

A recent development has been the use of Akaroa Harbour as a port for cruise ships, which deposit hundreds of visitors at a time in the small town.

December 2011







electric servants

Heater AK1991.772.1

Electric Servants

Timed to celebrate the centenary of the introduction of municipal electricity generation in Akaroa, Electric Servants looked at the impact the introduction of electricity had in the domestic realm.

Early electrical appliances including heaters, jugs and irons from the Museum's collection featured, alongside a history of the Akaroa Borough Council's venture into generating electricity for its ratepayers.

September 2011



Cast-iron money box, private collection

Cast-iron money box, private collection

Quirky Collectors IV

A selection of diverse objects from local collectors.

This year's selection included cast iron money boxes, Russian nesting dolls, prints of mounted troopers, promotional pens and erasers.

July 2011




The Gaiety - an ornament to the town

Photo of a building at night with columns and triangular roof line

The Gaiety, photograph by Victoria Andrews

The hall known today as The Gaiety was built in 1879 as an Oddfellows Lodge, later being used as a picture theatre.

Having undergone a recent renovation, it is still a much-loved venue for community events and celebrations.

The exhibition delves into the history of the Akaroa Oddfellows, the building of the hall, showing movies, and the wide range of other events held there.

December 2010




Charting the Long Harbour 

Illustration of the entrance to Akaroa Harbour

Section of Acheron chart, 1850

The first rudimentary charts of Akaroa Harbour (the long harbour) were produced by whalers in the early 1830s.

Ten and twenty years later the French and English drew more accurate and sophisticated charts, recording water depths and land features, and naming places.

Digital copies of some of these early charts of the harbour are on show in this exhibition.

October 2010 

Quirky Collections III

Vinyl record with apple label showing The Beatles name and song Revolution

The Beatles, Revolution, private collection

A selection of diverse collections from local collectors.

This year's selection included Weet-bix cards, cats' whiskers, miniature carousels, model aircraft, 45 rpm records, salt and pepper shakers and kitchen colanders.

July 2010







New Stuff 

blanket made from samples of tweed

Akaroa tweed blanket, AK2009.100.1

The Museum relies on donations of objects to build its collection and this exhibition showed the range of objects recently donated:

  • an 1888 wedding dress
  • a patchwork blanket made from Akaroa tweed
  • items from a 1950s Takamatua bach
  • rowing medals and trophies won by George Whelch from c. 1900
  • a Charles Meryon etching from the 1840s.

May 2010


Ngā Roimata o Takapūneke 

  panorama looking towards the monument and over Akaroa Harbour at sunset

Sunset, J. L. Buckland, 1920s. AK:2003.18.2.24

This exhibition commemorated the formal protection by Christchurch City Council in 2009 of Takapūneke as a Historic Reserve. Using images, text and oral history interviews, the exhibition placed the history of Takapūneke within the wider cultural landscape of Akaroa Harbour with reference to a number of registered wāhi tapu including Tuhiraki (Bossu), Ōnawe, Ōteauheke (Brasenose) and Takapūneke.

February 2010

Mystery and Delight at Every Turn

black and white photograph of shop fronts from 1969

Beach Road, c.1969, Peter Beaven photograph, AK:Photo:1207

Marking 40 years of the Akaroa Civic Trust and its work to preserve the beauty and charm of Akaroa, the central element in this exhibition was a series of black and white photographs taken by Peter Beaven in the late 1960s, recording the details that he believed invested Akaroa with such character and charm.

November 2009






quirky collections 2

Quirky Collections II

July 2009 

The community's collections provided the content for Quirky Collections II.








A Wider View - Jessie Buckland Panoramas 

panoramic photograph of valley with horse, rider, woman and child

'Home in the Evening' by J. L. Buckland AK:2003.18.2.8

Digitally enlarged copies of original photographs taken by Jessie Buckland in the mid-1920s, using her new wide format panorama camera.

Jessie was Akaroa's well-known professional photographer with an artist's eye for composition.

These beautiful black and white images of the Akaroa harbour and hills are some of her best work.

March 2009

Disasters, Mysteries and Sensations 

two storey building in flames at night

Metropol Hotel fire, 1962

A chronicle of some of Akaroa's most dramatic events over the past 150 years - plummeting planes, fatal fires, raging epidemics, out-of-control horses, tragic shipwrecks and mysterious disappearances.

December 2008







Quirky Collections 

Photo of a red model steam locomotive

Model steam locomotive, private collection

The community's collections provided the content for Quirky Collections.

Transformers, egg cups, bricks, bullets, shearing hand-pieces and a working model steam locomotive featured.

July 2008








On the Ball - 100 years of Banks Peninsula Rugby 

historic photograph of a rugby team in playing kit

Akaroa Rugby Team, c.1896, AK:2010.21.3

The Peninsula's finest young men at play - trophies, banners, photographs and jerseys were displayed in this exhibition held to mark the centennial of the Banks Peninsula Rugby club.

April 2008








Design from J.H. Menzies' pattern book

Design from J.H. Menzies' pattern book

Carved Interiors

Contemporary photographs by Neil Pardington of two important local interiors, one a private home and the other a church, both created by Little Akaloa farmer and amateur carver, J.H. Menzies.

"Rehutai" was the Menzies' family home in Menzies Bay, and St Luke's is the Anglican Church at Little Akaloa.

Included in the exhibition was J.H. Menzies' folio of carving patterns, compiled in the early years of the 20th century.

March 2007


Lovely Akaroa poster, 1925

Lovely Akaroa, tourist guide, 1925

Akaroa, Holiday Haven

An exhibition of images used to promote Akaroa as a tourist destination, and souvenirs made for the visitor market.

Most famous among the souvenir ware was Pompey china, produced during the years preceding WW1 and bearing the image of Akaroa's pet penguin, known as Pompey.

May 2007











Antonio Rodrigues, AK1529

Antonio Rodrigues, AK:Photo:1529

Pacific Pathways

To mark heritage week, with its theme of Pacific Pathways, the Museum developed an exhibition featuring the mix of peoples who made up Akaroa's population in the period 1840-1900.

Contrary to the popular and much-promoted belief that they were all French, there were notable figures from this early period with very mixed origins.

Joining the first occupants of the Akaroa Harbour area, the local Maori population, were American, English, Portuguese, Italian, German and Chinese, as well as the French settlers who arrived in 1840 on the immigrant ship the Comte de Paris.

June 2007








Akaroa High School crest

Akaroa High School crest

150 years of Schooling in Akaroa

Timed to coincide with the 150th School Reunion Celebrations this exhibition surveyed the history of the school.

Included in the exhibition was a selection of photographs of pupils and samples of school rolls.

October 2007







Butter mould

Butter mould, AK:1964.16.1

Milk It - The Peninsula's Dairy Industry

Banks Peninsula was famous in the mid-late 19th century for its high quality dairy produce.

Many of the surrounding bays had their own dairy factories, producing butter and cheese for export. 

Milk It included equipment used in the manufacturing process, both on home farms and in the factories, photographs and records.

November 2007


Chart of Akaroa Harbour, Acheron survey, 1850

Chart of Akaroa Harbour, Acheron survey, 1850

Maps and Charts

A selection of early maps and charts of Akaroa Harbour from the first 10 years of European settlement, illustrating the fluid nature of early place-names, which changed from Maori to French to English.

Supplementary material included a surveyor's chain and an early subdivision plan for Birdlings Flat, to be known as the Township of Seaforth.

March 2005











fleur de lis

Fleur de lis

60 Years Ago

An exhibition toured by the French Embassy celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and New Zealand, which formally began in 1945.

Distinguished French and New Zealand scholars contributed to an accompanying catalogue.

August 2005










Fishing boats at Akaroa Wharf c.1969, Peter Beaven photograph, AK2103

Fishing boats at Akaroa Wharf c.1969, Peter Beaven photograph, AK:Photo:2103

Casting the Net: A history of Akaroa's Fishing Industry

Until relatively recently, Akaroa was home to a thriving fishing industry, with up to 40 fishing boats working out of the Harbour.

This exhibition told of the fishing traditions of many local families, the perils of a working life at sea, and the changes in the industry with the introduction of the fishing quota system and growing importance of tourism to the town.

September 2005










Akaroa County Council common seal

Akaroa County Council common seal

Minding our own Business

Timed to coincide with the abolition of the Banks Peninsula District Council, in March 2006, and the area's inclusion as part of Christchurch City Council, this exhibition surveyed the various local authorities which had governed Banks Peninsula since 1876.

March 2006








Coronation Library c.1875, AK114

Coronation Library c.1875, AK:Photo:114

Laying the Foundations

Akaroa's late 19th and early 20th century builders left a legacy of heritage buildings in Akaroa which make the town a showcase for New Zealand colonial architecture.

J J Donovan, J J Cullen and J J Walker were responsible for some of Akaroa's well-known public buildings as well as cottages and larger homes, many of which survive today.

Other builders, including the Newton and Haylock families, and William Penlington, also had their handiwork featured.

September 2006


Private collection

Centennial of the Akaroa Bowling Club

To mark the centennial celebrations held by the Akaroa Bowling Club, the Museum displayed a selection of objects associated with the long history of the club.

These included a rule book, a set of wooden bowls, various medals and badges, and photographs.

December 2006



Joe Sergison with his champion stallion 'Kruger', AK577

Joe Sergison with his champion stallion 'Kruger', AK:Photo:577

On the Job

Drawn from the Museum's own collection of photographs, this exhibition illustrated a variety of local personalities from the past, in their places of work, or with the tools of their trade.

They included a farmer, a fisherman, a schoolteacher, a lace-maker, a carter and a gardener.




Pot scrub, AK1988.2124.1

Pot scrub, AK:1988.2124.1

Obscure and Obsolete Objects

A selection of mysterious objects was brought out from the storeroom for this interactive exhibition.

Visitors were invited to guess at the function of the objects, learning at the end of the exhibition whether they had guessed correctly.

Among the mystery objects were a curd-cutter, a peck measure, a grass seed flail, and a fly trap.

September 2003


Akaroa Civic Trust walking guide

Akaroa Civic Trust walking guide

Heritage Partnerships

This exhibition highlighted the work of the Akaroa Civic Trust in preserving the town's heritage and general charm.

Much of this work is in partnership with other organisations, such as the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, the local authority and the Akaroa Museum.

The Civic Trust has also produced an attractive walking guide to the historic area of Akaroa.

November 2003









Advert from 1927 Akaroa Mail

Advert from 1927 Akaroa Mail

Harley Davidsons

In February 2004, Akaroa hosted a rally of hundreds of Harley Davidson enthusiasts.

To complement the event, the Museum displayed a 1928 Harley motorcycle with sidecar, lent by a local resident, which had once belonged to the local butcher and was used for deliveries.

Photographs and stories about other Akaroa owners of these iconic machines complemented the motorcycle.

February 2004








Invitation to 1906 exhibition, AK2003.38.4

Invitation to 1906 exhibition, AK:2003.38.4

Recent Acquisitions

To illustrate the wide range of special objects being constantly donated to the Museum collection, this exhibition included:

  • a small child's red cape
  • a flensing tool associated with the whaling industry
  • a plate from the Kowhai Tearooms in Akaroa
  • an invitation to Mr Howard Jacobson, editor of the Akaroa Mail newspaper, to the opening of the 1906 International Exhibition in Christchurch.

March 2004








Akaroa Domain, Jessie Buckland photograph AK10

Akaroa Domain, Jessie Buckland photograph AK:Photo:10

Tane's Domain

An exhibition tracing the evolution of the delightful reserve enveloping the cemeteries at the southern end of Akaroa.

Known as the Akaroa Domain at the time of its creation in 1876, it was renamed the Garden of Tane in the 1980s.

It was at one time home to a charming summerhouse, a ferny grotto and the Domain Tennis Club courts.

September 2004











Akaroa Harbour, Will Watkins, AK1967.801

Akaroa Harbour, Will Watkins, AK:1967.80.1

Will Watkins, Painter

Local artist, Will Watkins, was an accomplished and prolific landscape painter during the latter part of the 19th century.

For this exhibition the Museum's small collection of Watkin's work was supplemented by works borrowed from his descendants, and from the Christchurch Art Gallery.

A spectacular panoramic painting of Akaroa Harbour is part of the Akaroa Museum's permanent collection.

November 2004

Table quoits game, AK2009.18.2

Table quoits game, AK:2009.18.2

Past Times

Drawing on the Museum's own collection and supplemented with items borrowed from the community, this exhibition of toys and games of the past brought together:

  • matchbox toys and marbles
  • Meccano sets and tea-sets
  • board-games and building blocks
  • puppets and cut-out dolls.

September 20




Ticket to returned soldiers ball, AK1991.83

Ticket to returned soldiers ball, AK:1991.8

Doing Our Bit

Focusing on the effects on Banks Peninsula people of the two major world conflicts of the 20th century, WWI and WWII, this exhibition looked not only at the experiences of those who went overseas to fight, but also at what 'doing our bit' meant for those at home.

The exhibition showed how peace was celebrated at the end of both wars, and the importance of memorials in honouring those who died.

April 2002




The Enemies of Art

An exhibition which dramatically illustrated the variety of problems which can affect works of art on paper, and provided tips on preventing them.

Lynn Campbell, paper conservator at the Christchurch Art Gallery, put these examples together as teaching aids for her work and lent them to the Akaroa Museum for exhibition.

June 2002


Bruce Hotel, AK307

Bruce Hotel, AK:Photo:307

Pubs of the Peninsula

The important social role played by hotels was evident in this exhibition about the pubs of the Peninsula.

The early Akaroa hotels, such as William Green's Victoria Inn, and Bruce's Hotel, were the haunts of whalers and fishermen, while many of the outlying bays also had their local pubs.

September 2002