Aotea Utanganui - Museum of South Taranaki

Top of the Shots: the Swainson/Woods Collections

From 1923-1997 Swainson's Studios and Bernard Woods Studio took photographs of Taranaki people. Perhaps you were one of them? Now in the care of Puke Ariki, this collection of images offers a snapshot of Taranaki life spanning eight decades.

The touring exhibition Top of the Shots: The Swainson/Woods Collections showcases a small selection of these photographic treasures through striking portraits of groups, whanau and individuals. The exhibition asks, what do these photographs tell us about ourselves and what we value? It also asks you to nominate your favourite photo. New Plymouth, Stratfors and Hawera have voted for their top shot, now it's your turn.

Donated to Puke Ariki in 2005, the Swainson/Woods Collection has - to date - only been searchable through text records. However, thanks to a number of generous supporters, in Joluy 2013 Puke Ariki began a three year project to digilise the entire collection of 110,000 negatives. Each week hundreds of new images are made available online. Search the collection at