Trip Features

An easy 25 minutes drive from Stratford you’ll find what’s known as one of the most innovative museums in New Zealand, Tawhiti Museum. This Interactive privately owned museum presents the history and pioneering stories of South Taranaki in an engaging way. With life size and miniature scenes, you can’t help but become engrossed in the stories.

The man behind Tawhiti Museum is artist, Nigel Ogle. His enthusiasm for local history lead him to create his own private collection as a hobby, and in 1975 he purchased what was then a cheese factory. As demand for his talents grew, so too did Nigel’s collection, and eventually he had created a complete South Taranaki visual history - now housed in the updated cheese factory.

History is genuinely brought to life with the scale models and life size exhibits that capture the past in a range of displays, all designed and built on site at Tawhiti Museum. The displays include farming scenes, shipping displays and railway exhibits which all capture the past in a meaningful context. It’s a dream for the history buff, but even those who aren’t necessarily history enthusiasts will be absorbed in the stories told in three dimension. If you’ve ever thought that museums weren’t a place for children, you’ll be proved wrong here. Children can’t contain their excitement experiencing history in such an interactive, relatable way - a real wonderland for them.

Traders and Whalers is the newer section of the museum where you will be completely engrossed in the story and environment of the Taranaki coast in the 1820-1840 period. You will climb aboard a boat for this part of the adventure, while the boatman ferries you through the stunningly realistic scenes. Glimmering lanterns and candles will light your way as you get lost in the surreal surroundings of sailors and local Māori , while a life like cannon shoots across the boat right in front of you.

Make sure to have a wonder through farm power hall which displays an impressive collection of vintage farm machinery. Tractors, tools and everything in between will keep the enthusiast busy, while also being a favourite area for children. The museum foyer is a gift and souvenir shop selling a wide range of interesting pieces including jewellery, books, Māori crafts and figurines as does the Lock, Stock & Barrel retail shop.

Make a day of it and stop in at Mr Badgers Cafe for lunch. Children will enjoy “The wind in the willows” series of scale models in the cafe which illustrate scenes from the book. Open the same hours as the museum, it also caters for groups with prior arrangement.

It’s no wonder Tawhiti Museum has received seven separate tourism awards, it is a one of a kind museum, created by a passion for storytelling and a love of Taranaki history.

Adults $15
Children (5-15 years) $5

Traders and Whalers
Adults $15
Children (5-15 years) $5

The normal opening hours are:
Friday 10am - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
Sunday 10am - 4pm
Monday 10am - 4pm

Summer season (Boxing day - end of January):
Open every day

Winter season (June, July, August):
Open Sundays only

Yes. However, the boat trip in the Traders and Whalers section is relatively dark, with some loud noises so parents will need to use their discretion. Children under 14 years must be accompanied by an adult.

10:00 am - 4:00 pm