Colin Wynn became the official artist of the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1982. His first painting for the Navy was of the frigate HMNZS WELLINGTON in dry dock.
To date Colin is still very much involved in painting for the RNZN for their collection of historical events and of recent times.
The Museum holds a vast array of sailor’s possessions, memorabilia and keepsakes. These everyday, familiar objects reveal to us our sailors’ stories in an emotive and personal way.
Military issue items within this collection include identity cards, pay books, ration coupons, and information pamphlets. Recreational and social objects such as collecting cards, games, prayer books, model ships, and letters home, tell us how our sailors passed their time both at sea and ashore.
Our sailors’ precious written memories, such as diaries, journals and scrapbooks, are also held within this collection.
Social and Personal Items Gallery
The Navy Museum photographic collection consists of truly unique and outstanding images depicting the history of the Royal New Zealand Navy dating from as early as the late 19th century. This collection offers a look into some candid and poignant episodes in our history. These images capture authentic moments in our sailors’ lives.
This extremely important historical collection has been assembled from a variety of sources including veterans and their families, WW2 photographs from the British Admiralty, official photographers commissioned by the Navy, and from our current sailors. The museum is the custodian of the images taken by the photographer for the Navy since 1958.
The subject matter is broad and encompasses RNZN ships, parades and ceremonies, official class and group photographs, historical photographs, Pacific Island ship tours of the 1950s and 1960s and Antarctic exploration.
The Museum also possesses a number of personal photograph albums, which provide insight into life in the Navy over the decades.
The Museum’s range of mess gear and tableware includes crockery, cutlery, and cooking gear from the lower mess decks through to the Captain’s table. The fine naval tradition of the ‘tot’ (rum issue) is an important facet of this collection.
Mess Gear and Tableware Gallery
The Museum holds a selection of medals, decorations and badges gifted to our collection. In recognition of services rendered, many men and women of the Navy have been awarded medals to commemorate their commitment and achievements. Behind each group of medals lies a fascinating story of one individual’s contribution in the service of their country. These are treasured possessions held in the Museum as a memorial to their endeavours.
For more information on eligibility and replacements for lost awards visit the New Zealand Defence Force Medals website.
Medals, Decorations and Awards Gallery
The Museum has a collection of technical and specialist equipment used by the various trades, both at sea and ashore, that make up the Royal NZ Navy. This includes navigation equipment, hydrographic instrumentation, diving gear, and medical equipment.
Instrumentation and Technical Gallery
The Navy Museum ephemera collection is a wonderfully eclectic range of documents including leaflets, menus, Christmas cards, event programmes, fleet reviews, and much more.
Ephemera is just that, ephemeral. It is produced to meet the need of the day and often disposed of as inconsequential. These items reflect New Zealand’s cultural history in a way that formal records cannot. They are an evocative reminder of our past.
The Museum holds an extensive and wide-ranging collection of naval uniforms, encompassing all ranks and trades. The Museum also actively collects a range of everyday work wear, leisurewear and even military-issued underwear. Accessories include kitbags, buttons, cap tallies (ribbons), bedding, and housewives (sailors sewing kits).
Our fine art collection, which includes paintings, prints, and works on paper, focuses on an array of subject matter related to the Navy, its people, ships, and activities.
Our pictorial collection portrays the Navy’s past in a visual manner. This fascinating assortment of objects consists of postcards, posters, memorial scrolls, and ‘Crossing the Line’ certificates.
The Museum also collects creative and cultural art such as taonga, carvings, craftwork, embroidery, poetry, and sheet music. These expressions of creativity are example of the many talents of our sailors.
Art and Pictorial Gallery
The Navy Museum holds a unique collection of objects, many in storage, ranging from functional to ceremonial that represent a full range of events and experiences about the Royal New Zealand Navy.
About Our Collection
The Navy Museum holds a unique collection of objects that tell the story of New Zealand’s Navy. These objects are of a functional, ceremonial, social, spiritual, and cultural nature and serve to represent the full range of events, experiences and responsibilities of our Navy.
Donating to our Collection
The Museum welcomes offers of donations. As well as naval material relevant to the operation of the RNZN ship’s artefacts and instrumentation, the Museum also collects social and personal items that illustrate the lives of our naval personnel, both at sea and ashore.
Regretfully, the Museum cannot accept every offer of donation, although we are grateful for all such generous offers. The Museum must be selective in what it chooses to collect so that we can channel our resources into properly caring for collection objects entrusted to us.