Monday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Friday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Saturday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
Sunday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
401 Ohangai Road, Hāwera
06 278 6837
Tawhiti Museum is unlike any other provincial museum in New Zealand as it is the amalgamation of one man's dedicated heritage project. What started as a hobby for artist Nigel Ogle, quickly became a destination museum after people started hearing about his incredible life-sized figures and intricate dioramas depicting Taranaki’s history.
Located just outside Hāwera in the old Tawhiti Cheese factory, the museum is a voyage through the region's colourful past, skilfully divided into a series of themed exhibitions. Visitors can also drift on a boat through the atmospheric exhibition ‘Traders & Whalers’ which took four years to complete and details the events of the Taranaki coast in the early 1800s.
Nigel, a former art teacher, sees the museum as “one big art project” and painstakingly sculpts his smaller models in wax before making a mould. His larger figures are made from casts using real people, and the attention to detail is phenomenal. You can spend hours meandering through this truly unique experience. Make time to explore Nigel’s 'body shop', three studios where the diorama magic happens. The museum also operates a railway train on the first Sunday of every month (and Sundays during the school holiday). The bush railway takes you 1 km to a bush sawmill, where further dioramas bring this industrial history to life.
Wonderfully quirky and educational, Tawhiti Museum is a Taranaki gem. Plan your day here – there is five and a half thousand square metres of creative display to explore.
Words by Kelly Tapper & Photography by Anna Briggs
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401 Ohangai Road, Hāwera
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