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Islands In Time

Islands in time

From 21 March 2018 | 9am-5pm, Monday to Saturday | Turnbull Room, Ground floor

In 1992 the Turnbull Library acquired 700 colour transparencies recording John Colles Burland’s four-month stay on Palmerston Atoll in the Cook Islands in 1960, together with his unpublished manuscript describing this time.

A ‘close-knit community of sturdy character’

The ‘close-knit community of sturdy character’ that Burland found on Palmerston, descended from Englishman William Marsters who, in the mid-19th century, with a number of Cook Islands wives, created the three families of the atoll.

See Palmerston Atoll at a time of transition

The exhibition captures Palmerston at a particular moment: a time of transition between a largely independent existence and one that tied the atoll more closely to the Cook Islands administration, while exposing the population of the atoll to the opportunities of a wider world.

‘Shore parties in convoy, going ashore at Aitutaki.’ Ref: PA12-0505-14

Visit the Turnbull Room

Ground floor
National Library building
Corner of Molesworth and Aitken Streets

Opening hours

Monday to Saturday
10am – 5pm

Get in touch

For more information, please email