Scene and heard

Collecting the Dunedin Sound


  • Amanda Patricia Mills University of Otago



music, Dunedin Sound, collections, curation


Hocken Collections in Dunedin, New Zealand, has been collecting and curating music relating to the Dunedin Sound music scene since the 1980s, with recorded music, published texts, documents and photographs gathered to document the scene, and contextualize the narratives that exist within it. Through examination of three particular collections that highlight different aspects of the Dunedin Sound scene, distinct threads emerge, offering dynamic opportunities for curation, and for complete collections, or discrete parts of the collections, to be reinterpreted in new ways. Through these examples, we can see that collection and curation of a music scene is more than just acquiring officially recorded music: visual materials, correspondence, setlists, song lyrics and documents relating to the music industry or the scene allow for a broader narrative, while unofficial live recordings demonstrate development of musical styles across that scene.

Author Biography

Amanda Patricia Mills, University of Otago

Amanda Mills is Liaison Librarian, Curator Music and AV at Hocken Collections in Dunedin, New Zealand, and has held that role since 2011. She has previously worked with collections of music at other heritage institutions in New Zealand, as well as music collections at RNZ, New Zealand’s public broadcaster. She holds a Masters of Information Studies from Victoria University of Wellington, and is currently studying towards a Masters of Arts in Music at University of Otago in Dunedin. Amanda also writes about New Zealand music for NZ Musician magazine, and


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How to Cite

Mills, A. P. (2021). Scene and heard: Collecting the Dunedin Sound. Popular Music History, 13(1-2), 18–37.