A visit to Tawhiti Museum, Hawera
We visited Tawhiti Museum on New Year’s Day 2021 after spending NYE at nearby secluded spot; Ohawe Beach.
The hot summer days we’d had leading up to New Year’s Eve had been beautiful but it was also a nice relief to have a slightly overcast New Year’s Day – a more comfortable, less sticky day with a slight breeze – perhaps it was just me but I felt it gave a calming start to the New Year on a day when a few people probably needed to just kick back and recover!
We did a few errands in the town of Hawera, a lot of the larger stores were open and we were able to pick up some bits and pieces for the van. This was our first major trip away in this campervan and we were still figuring out what we needed or wanted to put into it. And then there are simply things that you forgot! So we picked up things like solar lights, citronella candles, a bluetooth speaker, gas BBQ lighter and some handy dandy double-sided velcro tape that we stapled to the inside of cupboards and use to keep our glass bottles in place. The velcro also works great as a curtain tie-back on the full-length curtain separator we put up behind the front seat. I’ll have to get some more interior photos for a future post about little jobs we’ve done in the van.
Anyway…. we had read about a super little museum on the outskirts of Hawera so we popped along for a quick visit while we were in the area. The little visit turned into a full afternoon! Tawhiti Museum is a tardis of a place with something to appeal to all tastes and between the hubbie and I we were happy to meander around slowly discovering the various exhibits – the only problem was we kept find *another* building, or we’d walk around a corner and find the little shed we entered had morphed into a huge hall!
I’m not complaining here – just pointing out that you might want to ensure you leave enough time for a good look around!
We paid the full entrance fee for the museum, including tickets for the bush railway and Traders & Whalers – a boat-based attraction within the museum grounds.
The museum is made up of several groups of buildings, all quite rustic and in keeping with the relaxed feel and character of the place. But before you think this is one of those dusty old shed museums with things just piled up or random old junk put on shelves… think again. Tawhiti Museum has an amazing and very well-presented array of interesting heritage items – from farm machinery to shipping to vintage toys, and wartime memorabilia to kitchen paraphanalia.
One of the things that helps bring the exhibits to life is the attention to detail and realistic figures used to set up various scenes. All the figurines, from the life-size right down to tiny scale models used in dioramas, are made on site in the ‘Body Shop’ which you can view as part of your visit.
The man behind the museum is ex-art teacher Nigel Ogle. Back in 1975 Nigel and his wife Teresa bought the 70-year-old Tawhiti Cheese Factory. Nigel started his small private collection as a hobby but it soon became the focus of public attention and the focus of an impressive visual history of South Taranaki. The museum is now an award-winning visitor attraction and a valued education facility.
We began our visit with a little trip on the Tawhiti Bush Railway, a 2’6″ gauge railway representing the logging railways that used to operate in Taranaki. The track has native planting and a range of buildings alongside the line, with life size figures highlighting how life used to be lived. The end of the track has a reconstructed sawmill set up with a range of historic displays explaining the old sawmilling and timber transportation days.
Traders & Whalers is set within Tawhiti Museum but does require an additional ticket to be purchased. The attraction is an innovative and historical representation of the Taranaki Coast in the 1820-1840 period. Visitors are whisked away in a boat to learn more about life in this time period as the boatman glides you past and through realistic life size scenes and sounds of the sailors and locals working, trading and battling. Photography isn’t permitted in the attraction but take at look at the video below which features the attraction.
The museum grounds also house a retail shop and a cafe, with plenty of parking and a dedicated area for campervans 🙂
I’ll leave you with this official video from Tawhiti Museum – and a recommend that you make time (plenty of time!) to visit one day!
Relaxed and refreshed at Firth Tower, Matamata
Situated just a few kilometres out of Matamata, Firth Tower Reserve and Museum sits above the town with extensive views of the surrounding countryside with the Kaimai Range towering in the distance.
Our first Spring trip in the Kiwi Blog Bus
The weather has finally turned, the daffodils and lambs are out and we decided we were well overdue a trip in the bus (and a post on the blog!).
We haven’t had to venture very far to find this little gem of an overnight stop either.
Just a short drive to the lovely town of Matamata, just around the corner from the Hobbiton movie set, and then 2km up the road to Firth Tower Museum.
We have parked up for a very friendly amount of $10 (including power) and I must say it’s a very beautiful spot.
We’ll be looking around the museum tomorrow and i’ll bring you the best of the visit in my next post. For now, I’m off to enjoy a long glass of cold cider!
Soak up some of New Zealand’s social history
From the Kiwi Annison Archives….
I have a new project at work, and I love it.
As part of my Communications role at Mystery Creek Events Centre, I am to help promote the wonderful Ag Heritage Village; a fantastic destination for school and group visits which offers a unique glimpse into New Zealand’s pioneering past.
I find this kind of social history absolutely fascinating, a fact you may have gathered if you are one of my regular blog readers!
Minniesdale Chapel and the brave pioneers of Albertland, New Zealand
A spur of the minute decision we made on a trip in April 2011 took us to a place that roused my emotions and stirred my hidden pioneer spirit.
Lake Tarawera and The Buried Village
From the Kiwi Annison Archives…..
In central North Island, near Rotorua, stands Mt Tarawera – the volcano that caused New Zealand’s deadliest eruption.
A story of gold, cyanide and thoughtful preservation
Situated within a large bend of the Ohinemuri River, opposite Waikino village, are the remains of a revolutionary gold processing plant that was once New Zealand’s biggest and best.
The Victoria Battery site was built in 1897 by the Waihi Gold Mining Company to process ore from the large Martha Mine in nearby Waihi. Read More…
Take the waters in Te Aroha
Te Aroha is less than an hour away from Cambridge and we often drive through en-route to Thames, Waihi or the Coromandel.
Although we have not stayed there overnight (yet) I thought I would feature Te Aroha in my post today because it’s a pretty little place and I like it! Read More…
How I almost lost my husband in Gisborne
For the past week I have been posting blogs about our trip this summer around the East Cape of New Zealand’s North Island.
I will finish off on this particular road trip with details of our visit to a Gisborne museum: The East Coast Museum of Technology.
As I’ve mentioned previously (see musings) we LOVE museums – of any kind.
We have seen many different varieties from London’s Natural History museum to the Louvre in Paris and Te Papa in Wellington.
We’ve visited several small museums run and owned by one devoted collector or another.
But we’ve never quite seen anything like the ECMOT. Read More…
Muse in a Museum
– (verb) to be absorbed in thought
– (noun) an instance or period of reflection
I think museums are great places to visit.
There is a vast array in New Zealand and they vary tremendously from small personal collections in garages to fantastic displays in swish buildings with air-con, shiny floors and a pricey cafe.
Todays post is about the British Car Museum which we stumbled upon last October during a visit to Hawkes Bay.
It is not swish but it’s most certainly interesting and I can honestly say I’ve never seen anything else like it.