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An independent charity supporting the Alexander Turnbull Library for over 85 years.
Our aim is to ensure New Zealand’s stories and documentary heritage are available to all, so they can harvest the full potential of these rich collections.

 6 February to 2 October | National Library Gallery, Ground floor
Mon to Fri — 9am to 5pm | Sat — 9am to 1pm
Entry free of charge
Seed funded by the Turnbull Endowment Trust, this exhibition celebrates the centenary of the Alexander Turnbull Library.


Looking for wonder

Mīharo Wonder is the result of a sustained encounter with the collections, and is both a personal and curatorial response to them.

It reflects the passions of Alexander Turnbull, merchant and collector, and acknowledges the generosity of thousands of subsequent donors. It is indebted to the record of scholarly and imaginative enquiry into the meaning of the library’s collections.

‘Wonder’ is many things: astonishment, the piquing of curiosity, a question raised – but it comes only through our willingness to be transported to other times, places and perspectives.

Peter Ireland and Fiona Oliver
Exhibition Curators

Log bridge

Log bridge, Coal Creek, c. 1900. Artist unknown Ref: G-172. Alexander Turnbull Library.

Visitors to Mīharo Wonder

Visitors enjoying the Mīharo Wonder exhibition. Photo Mark Beatty.

Pūkana Exhibition

Performance is at the heart of Māori culture and the way Māori engage with each other and the world, whether to celebrate, seduce, entertain, express dissent or anger, or to grieve. Traditional forms of performance – karanga, wero, haka, whaikōrero and waiata – connect the living to the spirit realm and invoke emotions, known as ‘te ihi’, ‘te wehi’ and ‘te wana’.

The exhibition engages us to consider the role of Māori performance in shaping Aotearoa now and in the future and to recognise its incredible richness and diversity.

Dr Charles Henry Lecture  

The first event was a lecture by Dr Charles Henry: All Things Made New: Media, Research, Libraries, and the Idea of Culture. Dr Henry drew attention to new relationships and opportunities in the creation of new knowledge through digital technologies, new media forms and changing conceptions of the role of the library. 

Alexander Turnbull  


Alexander Horsburgh Turnbull 1868 - 1918

  Anything whatever relating to this Colony, on its history, flora, fauna, geology and inhabitants, will be fish for my net, from as early a date as possible until now." 
Alexander Turnbull

Upon his death on the 28th of June 1918, Alexander Turnbull bequeathed all his Library comprising his printed books pamphlets engravings charts manuscripts sketches maps photographs plans and pictures as and to constitute a Reference Library for the use and reference of persons and students interested in the documentary heritage of New Zealand.

This significant gift of 55,000 items forms the basis of the Alexander Turnbull Library, first opened in 1920. It was New Zealand’s first and until 1967, it’s only national library.

His interests extended to works of literature (Milton in particular), voyages and exploration of the Pacific, history, flora, fauna, geology and works about the people of New Zealand and the Pacific and their society and cultures.

The Library has since grown to become a research library of international standing, with a mandate to collect, protect, preserve and make accessible the documentary heritage and taonga of national significance for all New Zealanders.

Generosity for generations

With thanks to our Sponsors