Vomit odour makes NZ museum realistic

A New Zealand museum aiming to offer visitors a realistic glimpse of the perils the first European settlers had to endure on their voyage to the Pacific country includes an unusual feature: the smell of vomit.

"We're trying to tell the story of what that voyage was like for the 1,000 or so settlers who came over from Devon and Cornwall to a new life in Taranaki," Kelvin Day, the manager of New Plymouth's Puke Ariki museum, said.

The name of the museum is coincidental - "puke" is simply the Maori word for hill.

Visitors can sample some of the smells the voyagers would have experienced, including rope and tar, dirty linen, must and vomit.

The smells had to be imported from a British company specialising in odours. Aroma Prime also sells the aromas of badger poo, burning witch and dinosaurs.

Apart from smells, the New Plymouth exhibition will try to recreate the movement of a sailing ship and is using a video of specially trained rats projected onto the floor so visitors can experience the vermin that plagued the boats.

The exhibition depicts the journey of the first organised European settlers to New Plymouth, the main city in the Taranaki region on the west coast of the North Island.

The William Bryan arrived at on 31 March 1841, bringing 134 Britons who would lay the foundations for a settlement that is now home to almost 60,000 people.