• Exhibitions

Tairāwhiti Museum has a regularly changing programme of art, history, and decorative arts exhibitions across nine galleries, with a special focus on Māori arts and culture. Visitors can also explore the wheelhouse and captain’s cabin of the Star of Canada and Wyllie Cottage, the oldest European-style house in Gisborne.


To enquire about exhibiting at Tairāwhiti Museum contact the Curator of Art and Exhibitions


Mana Wāhine – Our Voices Were There

11/10/18 - 09/12/18
Opening: 11/10/18 10:00 am

This exhibition was born out of the desire to explore and prioritise Māori women’s narratives within the women’s suffrage movement of 1890s Aotearoa, as well as celebrate the Mana Wāhine that is intrinsic in Te Ao Māori, but was threatened by colonisation. As we nationally commemorate the 125th anniversary of the women of Aotearoa achieving... Read more »


Te Hā Art Award and exhibition 2018

06/10/18 - 18/11/18
Opening: 05/10/18 5:30 pm

Tuia te muka tangata  Weaving together the threads of humanity Presented by Tairāwhiti Museum and Te Hā 1769 Sestercentennial Trust. The Tairāwhiti region is rich in histories of collective and deep personal narrative. This year’s Te Hā Art Awards have called for artists expressions exploring the many rich histories that are woven into the fabric... Read more »


Atarau : Moonlight

29/09/18 - 04/11/18
Opening: 28/09/18 5:30 pm

An exhibition for children, by the children of Tairāwhiti, which investigates the native nocturnal birds and insects of the region.The museum’s education team worked with schools throughout Tairāwhiti for this collaborative interschool exhibition. Participating students created their own work and contributed to a class artwork inspired by the works of New Zealand and local artists... Read more »


Wairere – Waterfalls

29/09/18 - 25/11/18
Opening: 28/09/18 5:30 pm

An exhibition of photography and multimedia art featuring a range of New Zealand waterfalls highlights the majestic beauty and powerful attraction that waterfalls have on people. My vision is to recreate an immersive space that invokes the feeling of invigoration experienced by people after coming upon a waterfall after a long bush walk, a sensation... Read more »


Let Us Play

05/09/18 - 04/11/18
Opening: 05/09/18 9:46 am

Let Us Play The art of leisurely pursuits The visual language ranges across all cultures, all ages. Exhibitions can be the stimuli for discussions, bestow a sense of pride, of identity, a love of artistic appreciation and fuel a deeper understanding of a gallery’s visual content. This exhibition celebrates the joys of favoured pastimes and recreational... Read more »


The 80s Show

14/07/18 - 16/09/18

The 80s Show, with paintings from the Fletcher Trust Collection, has been curated by Tauranga Art Gallery to give those born after 1990 an opportunity to contextualise the period, while reacquainting earlier generations with a time that has become synonymous with pop culture classics and tumultuous events. “The 1980s represented a global boom in conspicuous... Read more »


A Quilt Does Not Have To Stand Alone

22/06/18 - 07/10/18

This year eight textile artists were given the challenge to create artworks using objects and methods not generally associated with quilting. In this exhibition each of these ‘quilters’ offer a unique perspective whilst moving away from conventional quilting. Quilter Donna Rowan partnered with photographer Lynne Haseldean using photographs of doors and windows printed onto organza... Read more »


Gisborne Artists’ Society and Gisborne Potter’s Exhibition

02/06/18 - 08/07/18
Opening: 01/06/18 5:30 pm

The annual Gisborne Artists’ and Potters exhibition is the one opportunity artists and potters collectively have to show the residents of Tairāwhiti what they have been have been creating over the previous year. Both groups have their own Facebook pages, which to a certain extent keep the public in touch with what has been going... Read more »


Hei ō Mō Apanui | Iwi Sustenance

Erana Koopu

05/05/18 - 24/06/18
Opening: 05/05/18 5:30 pm

Local artist Erena Koopu is committed to sustaining Māori culture through art by guiding and helping people to explore and discover their own creative core. Koopu was one of the first students to graduate with a degree from EIT Tairāwhiti’s Toihoukura – School of Māori Visual Arts. Since that achievement, she has come full circle... Read more »



Walking with the Ancestors

21/04/18 - 17/06/18
Opening: 09/03/18 5:30 pm

E tau nei ki runga i a tātou katoa te wairua o ngā mātua tūpuna. Nā rātou i whakatakoto te ara hei hīkoinga mā tātou ngā uri. I whakatōkia ō tātou ngākau ki ngā tikanga hei aratakina i a tātou. Kia ngākaunui ki te hāpai i ā tātou mahi katoa, i roto i te pono,... Read more »


taoNgā Pare-mata

Mangatū Taonga Returned

13/04/18 - 01/07/18
Opening: 09/03/18 5:30 pm

This exhibition focuses on a significant collection of taonga Māori from Tairāwhiti, known as the Campbell Collection. This exhibition highlights the significance of these taonga from Mangatū, and marks an important milestone in the collections history – their return to this region, through the transferal of custodianship from Auckland War Memorial Museum to Tairāwhiti Museum,... Read more »


Rosemary Parcell

23/03/18 - 29/04/18
Opening: 09/03/18 5:30 pm

Rosemary Parcell was born in Tarras, Central Otago. In 1972 she graduated from Ilam School of Fine Arts, Canterbury and began teaching Art and Art History in Dunedin and continued with teaching positions in Melbourne, Gisborne and Auckland. In 2005 she became a full-time painter. A devotee of horse riding and in particular the discipline... Read more »


Jan Linklater

My Language of Pattern and Colour

23/02/18 - 08/04/18
Opening: 16/02/18 5:30 pm

Even as a small child, patterns fascinated me and lodged in my memory. The theory of colour came later when I started to paint seriously but it is only since I emigrated to NZ that the striking landscape and light and a change to acrylic have vigorously combined pattern and colour. Landscape was my starting... Read more »


Company of Potters

17/02/18 - 15/04/18
Opening: 16/02/18 5:30 pm

Curated by Damian Skinner, developed and toured by Objectspace. Between 1973 and 1984, the three kilns at Ian and Sheryl Smail’s ‘Nodsdale’ property on Auckland’s north shore were used to fire pots by a number of leading New Zealand ceramists. This exhibition explores the creative and social relations that linked these kilns, the pots fired... Read more »


Ko Rongowhakaata

17/12/16 - 02/04/17
Opening: 17/12/16 6:00 am

Mauri Tangata Mauri Kōrero Mauri Whenua Te kotahi ā Tūrāhiri, ripo ana te moana. Descendants of Tūrāhiri, ancestress of the Rongowhakaata people, are progenitors of unique talents, innovation and craftsmanship; a quality that has rippled and propagated throughout the land and throughout Rongowhakaata history. These qualities continue to exist in the Rongowhakaata uri (descendants) today... Read more »

current long-term

Watersheds | Ngā Wai Pupū

Watersheds | Ngā Wai Pupū is Tairāwhiti Museum’s semi-permanent exhibition which gives the visitor a snapshot of the history of the Gisborne/East Coast region. Our exhibition forms a river that flows through the history of Tairāwhiti. Beginning with Māori accounts of how the world began and where people came from, this river of history finishes in... Read more »

current long-term


Family photographs are one of our greatest personal treasures. The family photo album is the one item people consider they would ‘grab’ in a fire. We see them as a collection of life’s memories rather than an assemblage of images. The museum regularly receives donations of family photographic collections. Some are beautifully set out and... Read more »

current long-term

Te Moana Maritime Gallery

The Te Moana Maritime Gallery offers a glimpse into 1000 years of maritime myths, legends, stories and development of the Tairawhiti East Coast region. Also included in this gallery is the arrival of Captain James Cook, the development of Gisborne’s harbour, local shipwrecks, surfing in this region, the fishing industry and surf life saving.

current long-term

The Star of Canada

Explore the two-storied wheel- house and captain’s cabin of the Star of Canada, a cargo steamer wrecked on rocks on the Gisborne foreshore on 23 June 1912. Built at Belfast in October 1909 by Messrs Workman Clark and Co, the Star of Canada was a twin screw general cargo steamer of 7,280 tons gross (12,000... Read more »

current long-term

Jack C Richards Decorative Arts Gallery

The Jack C Richards gallery is primarily devoted to the display of twentieth century and contemporary decorative and fine arts. Some of the oldest works on display in the gallery are Émile Gallé’s floral glass vases, dating from around 1900. Gallé (1846 – 1904) was a French artist at the forefront of the emerging Art... Read more »

current long-term

Wyllie Cottage

Wyllie Cottage

Wyllie Cottage is the oldest European house still standing in the Gisborne area and also a popular tourist attraction.  It was restored and refurbished in 2016. You can find out more about this project on our blog. The cottage was built in the early days of the township of Gisborne for Keita  (Kate) and James... Read more »

We welcome ideas for new projects and exhibitions so if you have something in mind, please get in touch – we would love to hear from you!

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