John M. MacKenzie
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The Canterbury Museum, Christchurch
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If Auckland has been called an extension of the Australian frontier, Canterbury was conceived as 'a transplanted model English community', planned and executed by the Canterbury Association in 1850. A Canterbury guide book of 1907 was quite clear that Christchurch possessed the 'finest Museum south of the line', and that it was the moas that had put it 'far ahead of other colonial museums'. Moa skeletons appropriately occupied pride of place in the centre of the new museum's main hall. Julius Haast secured a cast of the bones of a moa, the extinct and flightless bird that was to feature very prominently in the museum's history. The Wellington and Auckland museums were closely connected with their associate societies, but in Canterbury, the Christchurch educational institutions became more important.

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Museums and empire

Natural history, human cultures and colonial identities


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