The LyttelMus Lowdown

30 August 2019

Spring Newsletter

Our 2019 Spring Newsletter is hot off the press! Check it out!

14 August 2019

John Fenton Exhibition and Ropework Demonstrations

On 27th July one of the Museum's founding members, John Fenton shared his skills and local knowledge with a steady stream of visitors to the Museum cabin. On display were over 30 images of Lyttelton ships framed by his craft and bell ropes of all colours.

John is an active member of Lyttelton Museum and in addition to showing his work at this popular exhibition he has raised over $2000 this year for Lyttelton Museum with donation boxes dotted throughout the town and in Ferrymead.

The Museum committee is grateful to John for his energy, dedication and enthusiasm.

2 August 2019

The cannon has landed!

In the early hours of 1 August this cannon from the Lyttelton Museum collection was lowered on to our site at 35 London Street.

The arrival of the cannon, likely to be a 6″ breech loading Mark XXIV Coastal Defence gun contributes to the 'enlivening' of our site as we fundraise for a purpose-built museum in the heart of Lyttelton.

Our thanks to The Air Force Museum of New Zealand who continue to safely store our collection in anticipation of the new build and to Stark Bros Lyttelton who transported and delivered the cannon to our site.

9 July 2019

Notice of Meeting

What: Lyttlelton Museum Historical Society AGM

When: Sunday 21st July 2-4pm

Where: Lyttelton Fire Station, 59 London Street Lyttelton

AGM followed by presentation by Roy Montgomery: Taking Stock: revisiting the Lyttelton Museum collection salvage operation of 2011

20 June 2019

Events at the Lyttelton Museum’s site:

From 23-30th June the cabin and site are being commandeered by artist collective: Toi Āmai as part of the Wunderkammer windows project for the Lyttelton winter celebration. Their project explores "who built the red rock walls?"

Pop down for kōrero, waiata, mahi toi and some special suprizes over the week.

There will be a live to air feed from 7pm each evening, tune in to Lyttetlon's 107.7FM Rotten Radio. Join the artists onsite for the opening - 6pm on the 23rd, for a dawn fire on the 25th acknowledging puaka / matariki and for the closing on the evening of the 30th.

And there is more..
During the week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between 11:30am and 2pm you can have a go at traditional carving with Caine Tauwhare, Whakaraupō Carving School tutor, and at weaving with Toni Rowe.

Don't stay home this week. Get involved in the winter celebration throughout Lyttelton and at the Museum site 35 London Street.

27 May 2019

2019 Autumn Newsletter

Our latest newsletter is out. Check it out!

A huge thank you to Ange Hodgson of Lyttel Greeting Cards for the graphic design and the printing of the newsletter.

24 May 2019

Tote bags Sold at Two Port Cobbers!

2 Cobbers.jpg

A big thank you to Two Port Cobbers:

Karen Saunders-Swann and Trish Robertson, both friends of the Museum are selling our heavy duty tote bags and Antarctic Reflections books at their shop Two Port Cobbers in the Loons on Canterbury Street, Lyttelton. The shop is open on Saturdays and Sundays.

Karen’s business is Nannie ‘K’ Creations – upcycled wool blankets, baby clothes, men’s retro shirts.

Trish’s business is Secrets in the Wardrobe – pre-loved men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.

Do check them out and purchase our wares to support Lyttelton Museum.

10 May 2019

Not quite farewell to the Women of Lyttelton Gaol

We have wound up the sound installation on the Gaol site, but it’s not too late to learn more about the women who served time at Lyttelton’s prison more than 100 years ago.

The Women of Lyttelton Gaol database is searchable on our website, and you can still hear the original soundscape there too. We have also installed some of the banners that were at the Lyttelton Library in our cabin on the new Museum site at 35 London Street open 9:30am - 1:30pm Thursdays and Fridays.

The project was a great success and we know it will be just the beginning of understanding more about the Gaol and its place in our history.

In particular, we’d really like to thank the team who contributed hundreds of hours of research, creativity and energy to make the project possible. Your contribution is now a permanent part of Lyttelton’s heritage resources.

2 May 2019

Volunteer Needed

Lyttetlon Museum is looking for a volunteer to sell our merchandise at the Lyttelton Farmer's Market on Saturdays.

We have great heavy duty tote bags and books by the Museum's founder Baden Norris for sale. All sales will contribute towards a purpose built builidng for Lyttelton Museum.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in please email Holly: or pop down to the cabin at 35 London Street between 9:30am - 1:30pm on a Thursday or Friday to find out more.

30 April 2019

Working Bee Success!

Many thanks to everyone who came out on Sunday for our working bee: Jos and Marion, Lindsay, Carl, Pauline, Lizzie, Murray, Trevor, Helen, Pete, Wendy & Brent, Peter, Liz, Isla, Gary, Tom and Alice. It was a great success and we had a fantastic turnout from not only committee members, but also our general membership. A special thanks to Wendy for the snacks, Brent for all the driving, and Peter for his direction on the installation.

The lawn was made possible thanks to generous sponsorship from Mitre 10 Mega, Ferrymead.
Thank you also to Geoff Edwards who has donated paint to beautify the concrete steps.

20 April 2019

Working Bee - Sunday April 28th - from 10am. All welcome.

We would like your help to make our 35 London Street site more inviting. You may have seen our cabin onsite and now, with generous support from Mitre 10 Ferrymead, we would like to install a lawn in front of the cabin to create a welcoming place for hosting events, entertaining and relaxing. We also plan to invite Lyttelton youth to decorate the giant steps to add some colour and vibrancy to the site. In preparation for the concrete steps to be decorated we would also like your help to paint them white.

Please do email at if you will be able to help us either preparing the site for the lawn or painting the steps.

If you would like to help with the lawn, please bring along a shovel or a rake to help us clear the gravel and install some topsoil. If you would like to help with painting the steps, please bring along a paint brush or roller.

We look forward to seeing you.

16 March 2019

Reeling in the Years Event Update #2

Reeling in the Years - Saturday Show still going ahead tonight. (tickets now sold out)

To re-confirm with everyone the show will go on this evening.

We are deeply saddened by what has happened in Christchurch, and send our thoughts and love out to those involved.

Tonight we are welcoming you into a community space, a chance to meet up with friends and share memories, a few hugs and kind thoughts. Doors open 7pm. The bar will stay open afterwards until 10pm.

As tonight's audience is now at full capacity, ticket holders from Friday's cancelled show have the following options: transfer your ticket to a re-scheduled show NEXT FRIDAY 22ND March, 7:30pm; OR obtain a refund.  Darryl from LAF will email you individually with these options to reply to.

Thanks you for your ongoing support, kia kaha.

15 March 2019

Reeling in the Years Event Update

Kia ora tatou,

We are in shock about today’s events in Christchurch. We are sending our heartfelt love and support to those affected.

LAF Theatre and Lyttelton School along with much of Christchurch is still in lockdown. We have decided to cancel tonight’s show.

What you need to know:

  1. Tomorrow, Saturday night’s show will go ahead as planned

  2. Ticket holders for today, Friday’s show, have the following options: transfer your ticket to a re-scheduled show NEXT FRIDAY 22 March, 7:30pm; OR obtain a refund. Darryl from LAF will email you individually with these options to reply to.

There is also about 40 seats left for Saturday’s show - please contact Darryl at if you’d like to attend tomorrow night (subject to availability).

4 March 2019

Working Bee


A huge thank you to the helpers on our very successful working bee on Sunday. The weeds were stubborn and it's surprising what you find thrown into a corner - two car doors, one tyre, several rusted tools, and the rest. The site is now looking great. A big shout out to Malcolm, Pauline, Cheryl, Carl, Trevor, Liz, Lizzie, Helen, Brent, Wendy, Alan, and Claire and John who were simply strolling to meet friends for coffee but came down to lend a hand. Thanks to Brent & Wendy for supplying the ute and a special thanks to Pauline who had baked us delicious muffins.

February 2019

Our Digitisation Project


Back in November, Amy Ryan began working as our digitisation technician to work with our large photographic collection.  Employing Amy has been made possible by a generous grant from the Lotteries Commission.  Each object needs to be checked, cleaned, and pre-packaged with a number prior to digitisation.  Then, following digitisation, Amy will provide a full catalogue entry of each object.  Amy is working out of the Canterbury Museum with the firm NZ Micrographic Services Ltd, who are digitising the collection.  So far Amy has fully catalogued 2,245 objects and has accessioned and rehoused 2,451 objects.  This project is expected to take a year to complete and then we will have an extraordinarily rich resource of images to share with the world.

January 2019

Our Heritage Week exhibition When Death Jumped Ship has now returned safely home and we were thrilled that other City Libraries shared it with their communities. In the end, it travelled to Papanui Library, Te Hāpua (Halswell) and South Library. It was such a big event and we hope the exhibition sparked memories of family stories.

8 December 2018

In honour of New Zealand’s 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the Lyttelton Museum presents The Women of Lyttelton Goal exhibition. Visit our current exhibition page to find out more. 

The sound scape portion of the exhibition will continue throughout the summer. It will play half hourly on the Gaol site - that’s the rose garden beside the Charles Upham Memorial Clock above Oxford Street.

17 October 2018

LytMus rescue effort_Therese.jpg

Today we are sad to announce that Thérèse Angelo, Director of the Air Force Museum and a member of the Lyttelton Museum management committee, has passed away. She had been unwell for some time but always showed remarkable courage and determination over those months.

Thérèse was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of her extraordinary contribution to the museum and heritage sector. We have been so fortunate to have had her knowledge and support for a new museum for Lyttelton.

 Our thoughts go out to her husband Rob, her family and friends, and to our colleagues at the Air Force Museum.

Image: Thérèse helping to rescue the Lyttelton Museum collection

Photographer: Matthew O’Sullivan, Air Force Museum of New Zealand

When Death Jumped Ship

12 October 2018

Heritage Week has started. Call into Lyttelton Library to learn all sorts about the 1918 Flu Pandemic – 100 years ago it was a community in crisis. And don’t forget we have two terrific talks next week: 6.30-7.30pm at the Library. On Tuesday: Anna Rogers will share what the military medics were able to do; on Wednesday: Dr Geoffrey Rice asks ‘Could it happen again?’

The exhibition will continue until 28 October 2018.

September 2018

Ka Awatea, the time of awakening, opens Tuesday 25 September featuring a fantastic line-up of contemporary artists responding to items from the Lyttelton Museum collection. The artwork proposals have unearthed some interesting collection items – everything from cigarette tins, moa bones, jewellery boxes and ship figureheads.

Watch the installation evolve on the London street Lyttelton Museum site between now and then…….

Ka Awatea Invite

Baden in the garden (1280x956).jpg

10 August 2018

Dear members and supporters of the Lyttelton Museum

It is with deep sadness we report that on Wednesday 8 August Baden Norris, our founder, passed away. We send our sympathies to his family and close friends.

It was through Baden’s vision and determination that we have a museum in Lyttelton. Back in 1965, realising that the heritage stories of Lyttelton and the wider harbour communities needed a home, he set to work. Baden has been widely acknowledged for his deep knowledge of our connections with Antarctica. He has been tireless in developing and nurturing the Museum, and he was very supportive of the plans for a purpose-built museum in the heart of the community. The Museum Society has been blessed by the years of Baden’s wise counsel. He will be greatly missed.

A celebration of Baden’s life was held at LAF in Lyttelton on Saturday 18 August. A large number of family, friends and colleagues gathered to hear moving tributes to this much loved and much admired Lyttelton man.

A special touch was a number of huskies also attended, acknowledging Baden’s special links with Antarctica