Temporary exhibitions relating to maritime art

Generously supported by the Edmiston Trust. 

Figurehead Collection

The colourful wooden figureheads date from the 1800s. Figureheads were added to the bows of ships, in the belief they brought good luck at sea. This tradition began hundreds of years ago.


Seafarers’ Windows

The Seafarers’ Windows are the work of Milan Mrkusich, one of New Zealand’s foremost abstract artists. Mrkusich designed the artwork for the British Sailor’s Society in 1964.

The windows were salvaged from the Chapel of St Andrew, part of the Auckland Seafarers’ Memorial Centre, before it was demolished.



In 1863, the Royal Navy ship HMS ORPHEUS was wrecked on a sandbar at the entrance to Auckland’s Manukau Harbour. It was New Zealand’s worst shipwreck. Of the 260 men thought to be on board, 189 lost their lives. Most could not swim and there were no life jackets. Of special significance in this collection is the brass and leather telescope belonging to the Manukau Pilot and Harbour Master, Captain Thomas Wing who witnessed the sinking of HMS ORPHEUS.


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