Mystery surrounds theft of 1700s era doll from Waipu Museum

A doll circa 1700 that was stolen from the Waipu Museum has been returned, minus a leg and an arm and most of her hair.

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Emma’s been on an adventure lately which may’ve included an unsanctioned trip to the hairdresser. Source: Seven Sharp

Emma is a clayhead doll, the treasured companion of one of Waipu's first Scottish arrivals, three-year-old Emma McKay.

Her descendants gifted the doll to the museum 150 years later.

But Emma was brazenly stolen from her display case at the museum and then returned 24 hours later, wrapped in a bread bag and stuffed in the letterbox.

"In the process they actually did some damage to the doll - ripped her arm and leg off and also scalped her," says Fiona Mohr, Museum manager.

Ms Mohr says she was panicked and devastated.

"I think people who do this don't think about the associated history of each of the objects and also the provenance of the objects and what it means to us," she says.

Museum staff are determined to have the doll, a favourite with visitors, restored to her former glory so they can continue to tell the story of the first Scottish immigrants to settle here almost 170 years ago.