In 1948, the New Zealand government purchased the Maori and Pacific collection of the London dealer W O Oldman. The collection was divided on indefinite loan among the four large New Zealand metropolitan museums, with small amounts also going to smaller public museums with adequate fireproof buildings. The Dominion Museum received the bulk of the Maori, Marquesan, New Caledonian, and Admiralty Island components of the collection together with small numbers of items from other island groups. Because these items had passed through various sale rooms in Britain, they often lack detailed information on their origins or historical context, but their quality is outstanding.
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