Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Ta-u-rangi (HBMT) collection at MTG Hawke’s Bay.

How many items does the Museum have in its collections?
We do not have a precise figure as much of the archive is counted by box rather than individual item. Our estimate is around 100,000 individual items.

What is the oldest item in the collection?
A Stone Age flint hand tool from Egypt (acc no 45/42)

What is the biggest item in the collection?
The Stage Coach used on the Napier –Taupo road (ID 51879)

What is the smallest item in the collection?
We have some buttons in the collection.

How can I get to see the collections that aren’t on show?
You will need to make an appointment (see contact details). Appointments have to be booked in advance. When contacting us please be specific about your interests. It is not always possible to browse through a large number of items. For example, for dress enquiries we can get out a maximum of six outfits for any one enquiry because of space limitations.

Archives and photographs can be accessed by appointment with the collections team. Call to book a time 06 835 7781.

What will it cost to see stored collections?
Access to stored collections is free of charge but we do charge for photocopying or any other costs.

Can I take photographs of stored collections?
You can take your own photographs (subject to copyright restrictions) if they are only low quality images for research purposes. We reserve the right to insist on high quality photography being done by our in-house photographers, for which we will charge. See the ordering photographs and reproductions section for more information.

Are all your collections available to outside researchers?
Yes, but note that it is not always possible to get an appointment immediately. Please contact us as soon as possible, especially if you are visiting Hawke’s Bay and we will try to fit around your travel dates.

I want to have an object identified. What do I do?
Try a local antique dealer or auctioneer, many of whom have good object expertise.

Can you identify objects by telephone, letter or email?
Museum staff cannot provide object identifications over the phone or via email or letter. Try a local antique dealer or auctioneer, many of whom have good object expertise.

What is the Protected Objects Act (1975)?
Taonga tuturu found after 1976 are the property of the Crown in the first instance. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage decides who should have custody of such objects, and ownership by any interested party can be claimed through the Maori Land Court.

Taonga tūturu means an object that:

(a) Relates to Māori culture, history, or society; and

(b) Was, or appears to have been:

(i) Manufactured or modified in New Zealand by Māori; or

(ii) Brought into New Zealand by Māori; or

(iii) Used by Māori; and

(c) Is more than 50 years old

The Ministry is legally responsible for the recording and custody of the taonga tuturu, facilitating claims for ownership and any conservation treatment required. When someone finds a taonga tūturu, they should either take it to the nearest public museum that will notify the Ministry of the find, or contact the Ministry directly. In the case of a taonga tūturu found on Department of Conservation land, the finder should let the Ranger or DoC office know.

Please contact us first before bringing taonga tūturu into the Museum so we can make sure a specialist staff member with the appropriate expertise is available. We are unable to accept taonga tūturu at the front counter. We will keep the object here at the Museum while the Ministry processes the recording and ownership enquiries.

If you wish to apply for ownership or for more information on the Protected Objects Act please see the Ministry website.

Does the Museum value items?
No. Try a local antiques dealer or auctioneer.

Do you answer enquiries about all aspects of Hawke’s Bay’s history?
No. For some subjects, we will refer you to other institutions. For example, an enquiry about tree species is best dealt with by the Department of Conservation.

Can Museum staff undertake research for me?
The Museum cannot answer enquiries that demand a lot of research time, such as a precise family history query. We will suggest ways in which you can do your own research but cannot do the work for you.

The Museum does not generally offer editorial services, such as fact checking or reading manuscripts. Such work is only undertaken for a fee.

May I borrow something from the collection?
We lend original items to museums, art galleries and other institutions with appropriate security, environmental conditions and storage conditions.

I want to donate something to the museum. What do I do?
Contact the Museum to discuss it. We are always grateful to be offered material, but are strict about what we accept. Generally, we only accept objects that say something unique and specific about Hawke’s Bay and its people or wider New Zealand, objects that do not duplicate items already in our collections and objects which come with rich supporting information.

How can I conserve my old / fragile objects?
The best place for information about your own fragile or old objects is the New Zealand Conservators of Cultural Material website. They have a directory of conservators throughout the country who specialise in different types of material. Access staff may be able to advise you on preventative conservation to prevent your objects from deteriorating but we recommend you to speak to a conservator.

How do you choose what joins the collection?
The decision to add something to the collection is helped by our collecting development policies. This document shows us where the collections strengths lie and where there are gaps.



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