Those smartphone vanity snaps, blazoned across social media, and embraced by celebrities everywhere - selfies - are taking their place in the permanent archives of Auckland Museum.

In September, a call out was made to everyday Aucklanders to submit a selfie before settings that capture a sentimental patch of "their Auckland".

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This week, Auckland War Memorial Museum is officially "immortalising" roughly 900 of these Auckland selfies into its permanent photo collection which holds over three million photos dating back to the 1900s.

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Auckland Museum curator of pictorial Shaun Higgins said he's been wanting to collect selfies ever since they exploded into popular youth culture at the start of the 21st Century.

"The concept [of the museum selfie collection] was really open, and the idea is that you submit selfies that you've taken in Auckland in places that mean something to you," Higgins said.

"It can be anything from the local fish and chip shop or your favourite mountain."

Sundarr Reddy says
Sundarr Reddy says "this rooster jumps on my shoulder every time I enter the garage to get the chicken feed, hoping for some extras".
Faith Tupuhi's quick snap on the harbour Bridge during the Auckland marathon.
Faith Tupuhi's quick snap on the harbour Bridge during the Auckland marathon.

A sample of the collection set to be recorded in the museum capture backdrops such as Silo Park, atop the Harbour Bridge mid-run in the Auckland marathon, a helicopter overlooking the cityscape, right down to humble shots of a family packed into a car on the way to the zoo.

Selfie culture became popular in Japan and then other East Asian countries in the 1990s with photo sticker booths.

But the practice dates back decades and spans memorable selfie moments such as Buzz Aldrin's spacewalk snap in 1966 on the Gemini 12 mission.

Raewyn Belk's pic of nan and poppy heading to the Auckland zoo with the grand kids.
Raewyn Belk's pic of nan and poppy heading to the Auckland zoo with the grand kids.
At a peace rally following the ChCh massacre, a cop Rob and I helped 95-year-old John Sato walk from Queen St up Wellesley and on to Victoria Park. John caught four buses to be there.
At a peace rally following the ChCh massacre, a cop Rob and I helped 95-year-old John Sato walk from Queen St up Wellesley and on to Victoria Park. John caught four buses to be there.

The first known use of the word "selfie" in any paper or electronic medium allegedly appeared on September 13, 2002 in an Australian internet forum.

The emergence of social-media platforms MySpace and Facebook in the 2000's led to the explosion of selfies.

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A simple search of the #selfie hashtag on Instagram today yields 409,376,497 images.

Social media behemoth Kim Kardashian retains 151 million followers on Instagram and released a coffee table book of selfies in 2015 called Selfish.

Brent Topine's Sunday morning coffee run to Muriwai.
Brent Topine's Sunday morning coffee run to Muriwai.
Fen Lee at One Tree Hill.
Fen Lee at One Tree Hill.

For Higgins, the obvious appeal of selfies is how easy they are to capture and share.

"The whole definition of the selfie is you've taken the picture with your arm or a selfie stick and you're in the picture," he says.

"I think it's exploded more into popular youth culture as devices have come to them. So a decade ago people would have probably been not too familiar with a phone with a front facing camera.

"The selfie is a present-day photography phenomenon that can't be overlooked."

A handful of the museum's selfie collection will also appear in the Museum's Tāmaki Stories gallery which opens in 2020.

Simon van Praag's Goldie and Dad hanging out at Silo Park where Dad works over Summer.
Simon van Praag's Goldie and Dad hanging out at Silo Park where Dad works over Summer.
Charles Maino's scenic flight around Auckland city.
Charles Maino's scenic flight around Auckland city.
Lillian Kuan's sunny day out with Tama at Takapuna Beach with Rangitoto at the background.
Lillian Kuan's sunny day out with Tama at Takapuna Beach with Rangitoto at the background.
"Just another day at the office for these two," Keaden Lala says.
Freya, Nina, Callan and Chelsea tuck into some fish and chips on a sunny spring evening.
Freya, Nina, Callan and Chelsea tuck into some fish and chips on a sunny spring evening.