Collectors call - NPDC’s Puke Ariki needs you!

06 July 2018

NPDC’s Puke Ariki is seeking out collectors for a new exhibition and wants to hear from people with a passion for the peculiar. 

Whether it is collecting teddy bears (arctophiles), cheese labels (tyrosemiophiles) or medals and military badges (falerists), Puke Ariki wants to share collectors’ stories and learn about why they stockpile their beloved treasures. 

“We are looking for collections of all shapes and sizes, from collectors of all ages, no matter how weird or wonderful, to be part of next year’s exhibition,” says Puke Ariki Manager Kelvin Day.

The exhibition celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Taranaki Museum with an exhibition of Taranaki collections, starting with the collection by W.H. Skinner that launched the museum in 1919.

The W.H. Skinner collection laid the foundation for what is now the regionally and nationally significant Puke Ariki Heritage Collections.  

Skinner’s work as a surveyor brought him into contact with many Māori in Taranaki and he developed a life-long interest in Māori culture and history. 

Concerned that Taranaki lacked a proper museum and that items were being lost to the province, he and his son, Henry Devenish Skinner, offered the collection to the New Plymouth Borough Council in 1913 on the proviso that a suitable, fire-proof building was built.  The newly built museum extension to the Carnegie Library opened in August 1919 with the Skinner Collection on display.  

Meanwhile, local mountain man Derek Andrews has an incredible collection of more than 30,000 items he has found on Mt Taranaki during his 800 ascents of the mountain. His collection includes 16,292 pieces of glass as well as items from a crashed aircraft, crampons, coins and golf balls. 

“I’m still finding things each time I go up the mountain which are brought to the surface,” he says. 

And music mad David Clark’s entire home is filled with 45s, CDs, DVDs and more than 4,000 LPs. “My favourite band is Madness and I guess my collection is a bit mad as well!”

Collectors wanting to take part can get in touch with the museum to include part of their treasured items in the new display. If you want more information, please email 

Puke Ariki fact file

It first opened on 15 June 2003.

The total number of visitors to Puke Ariki and district libraries in the 2016/17 year was 809,036.

In that same period, Puke Ariki and community libraries issued 792,563 items. 

It is the world’s first purpose-built, fully integrated museum, library and visitor information centre.

Puke Ariki has three long-term galleries (Takapou Whāriki, Taranaki Naturally and the Gallery of Taranaki Life) and components of these get changed out regularly.

The temporary exhibition space shows touring exhibitions that are either curated in-house or brought in from other museums.

Te Pua Wānanga O Taranaki/Taranaki Research Centre is also housed at the site. 


David Clark - record collector
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