Monday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Tuesday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Wednesday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Thursday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Friday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Saturday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Sunday10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
326 Main Street
Te Manawa is the place to start if you’re looking to hit the ground running when it comes to getting acquainted with Palmerston North and the greater Manawatū. But we’re not just talking about historical context, Te Manawa is a museum of art, science and heritage. With this broad and varied approach, Te Manawa pushes the boundaries of what a museum really is, with inventive exhibitions, community programming and approachable spaces.
About 140,000 visitors pass through Te Manawa every year. With so much on offer, there's something for all ages and stages. The largest permanent gallery, Te Rangi Whenua, documents the stories of the region’s iwi and paints a picture of the heritage of which we are all caretakers. Manawatū Journeys, meanwhile, documents the people that, over time, have journeyed to the region and made it their home.
In Te Awa (The River), you’ll learn about how the city and the land around it have truly been shaped by the Manawatū river. Learn about the native wildlife that inhabits its banks, the water cycle and the issues faced by freshwater systems like this one. The cave, found within Te Awa, brings the outdoors in and is fun for all ages to investigate.
The Tamariki (Children) section is divided into different rooms of a ‘house’ and lets kids explore at their own pace. Whare Toi (Art Gallery) is another permanent exhibition at Te Manawa and showcases art history in the region with sculpture, painting and photography. Permanent pieces are complemented by touring shows that bring some of New Zealand’s best contemporary artworks to Palmerston North.
Last but not least, are Te Manawa’s heritage buildings. The Totaranui Cottage and Te Awahou School house can be opened on request and give visitors a glimpse into the region’s past. Upstairs at Te Manawa, you’ll also find The New Zealand Rugby Museum which celebrates the nation’s sporting pastime with a variety of displays and stories. Test your mettle in the ‘have a go’ area. You might not do as well in the scrum as you’d have thought!
What we’ve mentioned here, however, are only Te Manawa’s permanent exhibitions. This special museum doesn’t stop there. Seasonal exhibitions and event programming add another layer of excitement. There are, for example, over 20 temporary art exhibitions per year as well as community art pop ups. Events at Te Manawa have included drag bingo, behind the scenes tours, open art classes and the annual Santa’s Cave exhibition from November to January. Be sure to check the website to see what’s on.
Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Anna Briggs
326 Main Street
Near Te Manawa
47 The Square
Square Edge is a complete celebration of Palmerston North's community and its people. Come experience this truly creative village for yourself.
Zimmerman Art Gallery
329 Main Street
When Bronwyn Zimmerman opened Zimmerman Art Gallery in 2010 her goal was to create greater public access to art in the Manawatū. “Art shouldn’t be hidden away or be behind some foreboding wall” she said. As a result this gallery is approachable, open, free and downright fun to visit.
9 George Street
On George Street you’ll find Libre, one of the best spots we’ve found for authentic and delicious Mexican food and drink in all of New Zealand.
Be Free Grocer
47 The Square
Plastic / package free grocery shopping is the way of the future. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. At Be Free Grocer, however, it is. Owner Bron and her friendly staff are 100% committed to sourcing the lowest impact groceries around, and they do it with a lot of joy.