Founded on a collection donated by Dr T M Hocken in 1910 and entrusted to the University of Otago for the people of New Zealand, Hocken Collections is a library, archive and art museum. Its collections focus on the history, development, cultures and natural environment of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific and Antarctica, with special emphasis on southern New Zealand. Formats collected include archives and manuscripts, books, newspapers, periodicals, music, maps, paintings, drawings, posters and ephemera. The collection items range in date from the seventeenth century to the present day.
Part of the University of Otago Library, the Hocken is primarily a research facility providing access to both secondary and primary resource materials, with specialist reference and consultation services available. The Hocken Gallery focuses on showcasing historical and contemporary collection items through a regularly changing programme of exhibitions.