Te Manawa

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

06-355 5000

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

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