Explore the photography collection on our online database. We are continually updating and improving the online collection and regularly add new photographs.
The photographic collection is continually growing and relies on donations from the public. We are always interested in assessing photographs which capture the stories of our region and its people. You can donate a print/negative/slide/file or you can have it copied by our photographer so that you can retain the original print or family album.
Visit our Donations page for more information.
See our Recent Acquisitions page for information about new additions to the collection.
The museum displays works from the photographic collection in semi-permanent and short term exhibitions.
An exhibition of photography and multimedia art featuring a range of New Zealand waterfalls highlights the majestic beauty and powerful attraction that waterfalls have on people. My vision is to recreate an immersive space that invokes the feeling of invigoration experienced by people after coming upon a waterfall after a long bush walk, a sensation... Read more »
On 19 September 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.This exhibition tells the local story – demonstrating how well Gisborne women mobilised to go to the polls for the first time on 28 November 1893. The sheets of names of... Read more »
Family photographs are one of our greatest personal treasures. The family photo album is the one item people consider they would ‘grab’ in a fire. We see them as a collection of life’s memories rather than an assemblage of images. The museum regularly receives donations of family photographic collections. Some are beautifully set out and... Read more »
Long before smartphones, selfie sticks and one-swipe filters, having your ‘perfect’ picture taken took practice, preparation and plenty of posing. Early cameras and photographic materials required the sitter to be still for many seconds. While this is often given as the reason for a lack of smiles, a more likely reason is that early portrait... Read more »
These beautiful hand-written and illustrated books documenting summer holidays at camp ‘Vagabondia’ on the East Coast between 1926 and 1929 were made by Kitty Bullen (b.1904, d.1981) Kitty Clara Frances Bullen was born in Gisborne. Her parents were Henry (Harry) and Frances (nee Mansfield). She had two brothers William John and George Francis Vacher (who... Read more »
The Gisborne Overseas Rifle Club. What does this title mean? In 1913, didn’t all rifles come from overseas? Maybe you had to have seen action overseas (Boer War) to be considered for membership? These were some of the questions museum staff had when cataloguing this image. After a little investigation the answer to the strange... Read more »
Composite image of some of the babies photographed on ‘Baby Day’, 16 September 1903. Each year photographer Lawrence Anderson Ellerbeck would announce a date that would be ‘ Baby Day’. On this day babies aged between 6 and 18 months were eligible for a free studio sitting. L A Ellerbeck was born in 1874 in... Read more »
The Mahunga Collection is a collection of early twentieth century photographs donated by the Briant family. A selection of images from this collection is on display at the museum. Most of the prints depict the establishment of the Mahunga farm station situated on the Te Wera Road near Matawai. The images transport us to the... Read more »
The Research Centre for archives and photographs is closed for re-development and the holiday break. We will re-open on the 25th January 2021.
Researchers wishing to access our photography collections need to contact the Curator of Photography make an appointment.
Please note that staff are not always available immediately. It is advisable to make arrangements as far in advance as possible, particularly if you are only visiting Gisborne for a short period.
Access to the archive is free, and many of the images are available to purchase for research, personal use or publications.
Researchers who are unable to visit in person can make their enquiry by email, letter or telephone
Contact Dudley for photograph research collection enquiries and appointments
A full-text archive of Gisborne Photo News, a monthly serial published by Logan Publishing Company between 1954 and 1975.
For two decades residents of Gisborne and East Coast, North Island, New Zealand Aotearoa used to look forward to the latest issue hitting the bookshops.
Published at a time of rapid social and cultural change, the pictorial serial captured personal and community events through photographs and lively commentary; a snapshot of the carefree and heady years from Babyboomers to the first of Generation X.
The digital reproductions of all images and text in this archive are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 New Zealand license. To order higher resolution copies of images from the online archive or from selected original images gifted to Tairāwhiti Museum contact the Curator of Photography.
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We welcome ideas for new projects and exhibitions so if you have something in mind, please get in touch – we would love to hear from you!