The Ephemera Collection forms part of the Alexander Turnbull Library collections.
The Ephemera Collection contains published programmes, posters, menus, advertising, pamphlets, and other material relating to New Zealand, the Pacific, and New Zealanders overseas.
The Collection has over 200,000 ephemera items dating from the 1840s to the present. Subject strengths include theatre and entertainment, politics and activism, horticulture, war, Māori, tourism, alcohol, environmental issues, everyday life and popular culture.
You can do a keyword search on a format, or combine any topic word with a term for a specific format as well. For example, search on:
Including advertisements, protest posters, political, theatre, and music posters
Including plant and seed catalogues, building supplies catalogues, department store mail order catalogues
Including canning labels and crate or bottle labels
Including performances in music, drama, opera, circuses, and other variety shows. For productions after 1950, we concentrate on collecting material from the Wellington region.
Agricultural show programmes and posters
Including national and regional exhibitions.
Sports programmes and posters
Covering major codes and athletics.
Postcards and greeting cards
Categories and collections within the Ephemera Collection
The Cabot Collection
Charles Henry Cabot, 1890-1978, was a theatrical agent, and collector of entertainment programmes and posters. He left the family bakery business to join the Empire Picture Company in 1911-1912 and toured with circuses as a publicity agent. In 1926, he set himself up in Wellington as a pre-publicity agent for any shows that might come along. His large poster and programme collection, spread across nearly 250 individual folders of various sizes, features circus, magic and variety shows, and many overseas singers and musicians.
Political ephemera and protest
Ephemeral material captures the mood of the moment, has its finger on the pulse of political and public opinion. The Ephemera Collection collects such material from the past and the present.
New Zealand at war
New Zealand’s wars have always been strongly represented in the advertising, campaigning, and propaganda of the day.
Popular culture and everyday life
Pieces of ephemera from past years can remind us of trends and fashions, the texture of our environment, and our daily lives.
New Zealanders overseas
The Ephemera Collection collects theatre programmes and posters for New Zealand actors, dancers, musicians and sportspeople overseas.
Original materials in the collection are available in the Library's Katherine Mansfield Reading Room.
Digital copies of some items are shown online through their catalogue descriptions. To see them, use the Gallery view when looking at a search result. Additional photographic and digital copies of some pictorial items are also available in the Library's Reading Room.
Get copies from items in this collection
The Library can provide copies of available ephemera material if copying does not harm the physical state of the original, or breach copyright. We provide photocopies for research purposes, or digital copies for publication. As an alternative to photocopies, visitors may use their own digital cameras to make copies for private research purposes only.