Tawhiti Museum

Galleries and museum key icon.
Galleries and museum key icon.

Monday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

TuesdayClosed.

WednesdayClosed.

ThursdayClosed.

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

Information not correct? Report an error

Location

401 Ohangai Road, Hāwera

Nearby Places

The Burnt Place

Bench seating at The Burnt Place, Taranaki.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

The Burnt Place is quickly coming home away from home for Hāwera locals with its cosy neighbourhood vibes.

Similar Places

Kina NZ Design + Art Space

Colourful tumblers and greeting cards at Kina NZ Design + Artspace, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
Galleries and museum key icon.

Anyone wanting to take a memento of Taranaki home with them should spend some time browsing the curated art and design pieces at Kina NZ Design + Artspace in New Plymouth.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery + Len Lye Centre

Installation at the Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth, Taranaki.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki Editor's Pick
Galleries and museum key icon.

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery + Len Lye Centre is dynamic, courageous and quite simply, unmissable.

Kingsroy Gallery

Wide angle of the gallery space at Kingsroy Gallery, New Plymouth.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
Galleries and museum key icon.

New Plymouth’s burgeoning art scene is vibrant and exciting and Kingsroy is a notable addition to the swathe of galleries opening in the coastal city.

Fenton Art Collective

Landscape on an easel at Fenton Art Collective, Taranaki.
Place New Plymouth & Taranaki
Cafes key icon. Galleries and museum key icon.

What do you get if you put art, history, gin and espresso under one roof? An eclectic melting pot like Fenton Art Collective in Taranaki.