Skip to Main Content

The University of Otago Library has re-designed its Subject Guides system. Please let us know what you think by filling out this survey.

Hocken Collections Te Uare Taoka o Hākena: Home

A guide for researchers at the Hocken Collections, University of Otago.

Hocken Collections

Nau Mai Haere Mai ki Te Uare Taoka o Hākena: Welcome to the Hocken Collections         

Hocken's collections celebrate the histories, cultures and natural environments of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific and Antarctica with special emphasis on southern New Zealand.

The collections include archives, books, drawings, journals, maps, music, film and television, newspapers, paintings, photographs, posters, and ephemera, dating from the seventeenth century to the present day.

Dr Hocken's gift forms the foundation. Since its opening in 1910, the collections have continued to grow with ongoing acquisition of heritage and contemporary material.

The Hocken Collections and Gallery are open to all researchers and exhibition visitors.

See the Hocken website for current details and notices.

Dr T.M. Hocken

The Hocken Collections owes its existence to the vigorous collecting and subsequent generosity of a Dunedin doctor, Thomas Morland Hocken (1836-1910). Born in Stamford, Lincolnshire, the son of a Wesleyan minister, Hocken qualified in medicine in 1859 and worked as a ship's surgeon between England and Australia until settling in Dunedin in 1862.

As a doctor, and coroner for 22 years, T.M. Hocken became one of the city's best-known figures. Hocken applied his drive and talent to the acquisition of books, newspapers, maps, pamphlets, photographs, art, and artifacts relating to New Zealand, the Pacific and early Australia. He shared his knowledge widely through lectures, exhibitions, his own books and writings and the important Bibliography of the Literature relating to New Zealand, published in 1909.

In 1897, Dr Hocken offered his fine collection to Dunedin and the people of New Zealand. Public subscription lists opened in 1906, and a Deed of Trust was drawn up by which the Hocken Collection was housed in a special wing added to the Otago Museum, and managed by the University of Otago in trust for the nation. Too ill to attend the opening on 23 March 1910, Dr Hocken died two months later.

For a detailed biography, see Hocken: prince of collectors by Donald Kerr (Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago University Press 2015).

Kā Taoka Hākena Treasures from the Hocken Collections

For a brief overview of the history of the library and the collections within the Hocken Collections, as well as a description of some collection highlights, see Kā Taoka Hākena Treasures from the Hocken Collections, edited by Stuart Strachan and Linda Tyler (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2007).

How to find sources at the Hocken Collections

Search for items using the online search tools listed below. You must be a registered reader to request material.

Staff retrieve requested items for you to use in the Reading Room.

Hocken Research Guides

Looking for information about a particular subject or format?

Try our research guides for relevant sources and search tips.