• 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


Weathered Beauty – Sarah Gordon

25/09/21 - 28/11/21
Opening: 24/09/21 5:30 pm

Is it the old photos that retain our thoughts, or the hills themselves? Weathered Beauty is an expression of rural thoughts and memories of two Manutūkē farms, and their family. Growing up in Manutūkē has left enduring images with Sarah and her painting. This series of works is the culmination of watching and recording ageing... Read more »


Worlds of Wonder – Julia Rae

18/09/21 - 21/11/21
Opening: 18/09/21 10:00 am

The artist’s self portrait morphs into a character of dreams creating imagined worlds and illustrating ideas through composite layers of photographic images. Each story teeters between the real and the surreal. This body of work began during lockdown 2020 expressing the artist’s feelings and ideas using whatever props and images could be photographed from around... Read more »



07/08/21 - 03/10/21
Opening: 06/08/21 5:30 pm

Colonies is a series of works inspired by the diverse ecosystems seen in thriving coral reefs. These underwater structures are built from individual organisms known as coral polyps. Teeming with life and bursting with colour, the reef and its occupants form a symbiotic relationship where one is dependent on the other for survival. Working with... Read more »


Gisborne Artists, Potters and Photographers

31/07/21 - 19/09/21
Opening: 31/07/21 10:00 am

With increased membership and new talent appearing, the Gisborne Artists’ Society committee feels confident that 2021’s annual exhibition will maintain the very good standard established in recent years. Last year the combined exhibition of the Gisborne Artists, Potters and Photographers showcased over 150 artworks in the museum’s main gallery. Of the 54 contributing artists a... Read more »


The Word – Te Kupu

From the collection of Anaru Rondon

17/07/21 - 17/09/21
Opening: 16/07/21 5:30 pm

This exhibition explores the impact of the written and printed word in the dissemination of knowledge, and the advancement of literacy and access to knowledge in societies over the centuries. It contains examples from the 13th until the 20th century, and features illuminated manuscripts, historical newspapers, printed books, a book press, and printing blocks. This... Read more »


TE HAU TAHITO – The old breeze. The new old, the old new.

05/06/21 - 01/08/21
Opening: 04/06/21 5:30 pm

Whakairo – carving, is the primary artform produced for this exhibition by six local kai whakairo – carvers, their ages and experience spanning three generations. This show revisits the origins and foundations of these ‘artforms’ engineered for one purpose, the practice of survival. These forms such as mau rakau, mahi o te kai maara, mahi... Read more »


Te Pō Uriuri: the deep darkness – Poutu Puketapu

15/05/21 - 11/07/21
Opening: 14/05/21 5:30 pm

Te Pō Uriuri, is an immersive experience retelling the pūrakau/legend of Uru, the eldest child of Ranginui and Papatūānuku. This installation embodies the safe haven, Te Kahutuanui-a-Rangi, the cloak of Uri’s father, where he fled, seeking refuge as he withdrew from his whānau. Uru sits here as a contemporary koruru in an era of deep... Read more »


Geologica – Margaret Hansen

08/05/21 - 25/07/21
Opening: 07/05/21 5:30 pm

A lifetime of rocky obsession…. holding, admiring, collecting, photographing… has led here. Working in acrylics, Margaret has followed each rocky impulse and whim, exploring form, pattern and texture. She’s portrayed the majestic, heroic and violent, and the humble, serene and mysterious. She’s travelled the country and stayed close to home. Each image’s story or meaning... Read more »


Liminal Space – Cyndy Mckenzie

27/03/21 - 23/05/21
Opening: 26/03/21 5:30 pm

Cyndy Mckenzie was born and grew up in Tairāwhiti Gisborne and now lives in Ōtepoti Dunedin, Otago. Cyndy is a practising artist and teaches on the Fashion programme at the College of Art, Design and Architecture, Otago Polytechnic. Cyndy has a love for the natural phenomena within the world around. These natural phenomena catch her... Read more »


Flight Path – Nova Avni

06/03/21 - 09/05/21
Opening: 06/03/21 10:00 am

“From my mountain to your mountain” Kia ora, my woven art collection is based on traditional raranga techniques, mixed with wild Israeli organic weaving. This is a visual story of my journey, as a New Zealand – Israeli woman. We live between Wainui Beach, Gisborne and my husband’s kibbutz, in Israel, situated in the middle... Read more »


Passport Collection – VHoy Creative

06/02/21 - 25/04/21
Opening: 05/02/21 5:30 pm

V is a multidisciplinary artist, specialising in surrealist photography as well as dreamlike portraiture. She is a graffiti aficionado and produces large scale paint works. Her latest photo series Passport Collection aims to challenge the ideas and impact of social and cultural labelling. In a contemporary world where countless numbers now identify as multi-ethnic, constantly... Read more »


Tuakana Taina

30/01/21 - 21/03/21
Opening: 29/01/21 5:30 pm

Tuakana Taina features an intimate collaboration of resilience through creative activation. Over the past 6 months, with the wonderful support of Creative New Zealand, the artists involved, leading and aspiring, navigated their way through creative interpretation – resetting, reframing and reimagining collaborative and innovative pathways with their creative compass. This exhibition of new art works... Read more »


Off The Canvas – Tom Heeney

12/12/20 - 28/02/21
Opening: 11/12/20 5:30 pm

This multi-media exhibition features Gisborne-born boxer Tom Heeney, who became New Zealand’s first global sporting hero and fought for the world heavyweight title in New York in 1928. A journey through Tom Heeney’s life is a journey through Gisborne at the turn of the twentieth century, into the Roaring Twenties in New York, through two... Read more »



28/11/20 - 31/01/21
Opening: 27/11/20 5:30 pm

Tairāwhiti Museum continues its long relationship with highly respected local art school Toihoukura and this year presents Tokorau, an exhibition of new works showcasing Toihoukura’s emerging Māori artists supported by staff. Up to 30 students and staff of Toihoukura will exhibit works and stories created during these unprecedented times of COVID-19 2020. Although 2020 has... Read more »


Tātara e maru ana – The sacred rain cape of Waiapu -Natalie Robertson

07/11/20 - 31/01/21
Opening: 06/11/20 5:30 pm

Centuries ago, Tamokai of the inland Te Aowera people spoke to his kinsman Kōkere and said: ‘“Hoake tāua ki te Waiapu tātara e maru ana—“Let us go to Waiapu, where the rain cape is thick.” With its reference to a woven rain cape, usually made of harakeke, this Ngāti Porou whakatauākī speaks of the shelter... Read more »


Pieces of You – From the Museum Fine Arts Collection

26/09/20 - 22/11/20
Opening: 26/09/20 10:00 am

Pieces of You is the title of a small mixed media work on canvas by artist Barbara Emery and is the hero image that highlights this suite of works perfectly. A jewellery box with many compartments loaded with life effusing light, colourful secrets, dark desires, passionate thoughts and honourable intentions The majority of these works... Read more »


Te Hono Wai – Where waters meet – Jo Torr

12/09/20 - 06/12/20
Opening: 11/09/20 5:30 pm

Five of the artworks highlight the experiences of Tuai and Tītere, two young Māori chiefs who travelled to England in 1818. These works draw attention to the way Māori travelled the world prior to the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi seeking new knowledge, useful goods and technologies, while simultaneously sharing their own knowledge to... Read more »


Artists, Potters and Photographers

29/08/20 - 10/11/20
Opening: 28/08/20 5:30 pm

This year has been an unprecedented one. The worldwide pandemic and lock-down has for many artists put an end to that perpetual complaint, “I never have time!” and our annual exhibition will be a fabulous opportunity to view how Gisborne creatives have channelled this experience. A variety of mediums will be on show so something... Read more »


Landscapes – Pru Davis

08/08/20 - 20/09/20
Opening: 07/08/20 5:30 pm

East coast artist Pru Davis was born to paint and has the ability to turn her hand to any medium she fancies. An Ilam Fine Arts graduate, her artistic sensibilities nurtured and encouraged from the cradle to the healthy obsession of today. As a descendent of prominent 19th century artist Kennett Watkins, Davis’ family ancestry... Read more »

current long-term

Places and Faces

04/08/20 - 01/10/20

Fred Foster found a way to make a dollar. Well pre-decimal pounds actually. His plan was to learn how to use a camera and make photographs. That accomplished he took his camera and his sale like charms to his neighbourhood. Knocking on the doors of homes, many newly built, he would talk the lady of... Read more »


Pō! Pō! – Nikora Tori Te Kahu and Rangimarie Makowharemahihi-Pahi

11/07/20 - 06/09/20
Opening: 10/07/20 5:30 pm

Pō! Pō! seeks to address the seriousness of mental health issues amongst Māori with a particular focus on the causes and effects for Māori women. We, as women, are the ūkaipō, the nurturing element for all – yet – where is our sanctum? Here we aim to provide a space for self healing and reflection.... Read more »


The Sculptured Wall – Richard Rogers

27/06/20 - 23/08/20
Opening: 26/06/20 5:30 pm

Retired art teacher Richard Rogers has decided that now is not the time to rest on his laurels. Probably better known as a painter, Rogers has frequently dabbled in sculptural works and for The Sculptured Wall he has gathered an army of his past creations – three-dimensional constructions fashioned over the past fifty plus years.... Read more »


Beyond the Chair

20/06/20 - 02/08/20
Opening: 20/06/20 10:00 am

Our group has a history of strong friendships, a constant sharing of knowledge, exhibiting and workshopping together for many years. Every second year we set ourselves a challenge – this year it is “to use the concept of a chair as a starting point and go beyond to see where it takes you, this can... Read more »


Returning to the East – Ebony Whitaker

29/05/20 - 05/07/20

Ebony Whitaker has created a visual feast of the changing beauty in the natural environment, reflecting his own change since returning to the East Coast of New Zealand after a decade away. Ebony’s journey as an artist started when he was a young grom surfing at Ohope, Whakatane. He started to surf semi-professionally and would... Read more »


Kahukura – Tāwera Tahuri

15/05/20 - 21/06/20
Opening: 27/03/20 5:30 pm


East of the Sun – Zoe Alford

15/05/20 - 14/06/20



21/02/20 - 25/05/20

OCEAN Ko Au Te Moana Ko Te Moana Ko Au I am the ocean and the ocean is me Artists Nick Tupara and Jolene Douglas join together in an exhibition of recent works. This collaborative offering is a sharing of emotions and passions for the water that descend to earth mother, connects mountains to rivers,... Read more »


Native Voices : Ko au, ko mātau – I am, we are

07/10/19 - 15/03/20
Opening: 06/10/19 4:00 pm

A visual art exhibition reinforcing an indigenous legacy, and challenging the impact of a ‘Nations’ Dual Heritage’, on our Māori futures. KE Design, in partnership with the Tairāwhiti Museum, presents a platform for indigenous dialogue through art, responding to and challenging the 250th Captain Cook commemorations. In NATIVE VOICES: Ko au, ko mātau – I... Read more »


Tū te Whaihanga: a recognition of creative genius

07/10/19 - 31/05/22
Opening: 07/10/19 10:00 am

Tū te Whaihanga is a resurgence of the creative genius of the past, and carries the cultural aspirations of tangata whenua into the future. Sacred taonga that left the shores of Te Tairāwhiti 250 years ago will return home to be celebrated in the upcoming exhibition, Tū te Whaihanga. The homecoming will see these taonga stand... Read more »


The Lieutenant’s Calling Card and the Response of a Quizzical Eye From the fine arts collection

13/09/19 - 16/02/20
Opening: 13/09/19 10:00 am

“A picture is worth a thousand words” and the works featured in this exhibition speak volumes on the aftermath of October 1769, when HMS Endeavour under the captaincy of James Cook, made landfall on the East Coast of Aotearoa, New Zealand. The ship anchored off Tūranga and from there landing parties were dispatched to seek... Read more »


Gisborne Artists, Potters & Photographers

03/08/19 - 22/09/19
Opening: 02/08/19 5:30 pm

This year the annual ‘Artists’ and Potters’ exhibition will soon become a winning trifecta with the addition of the Gisborne Camera Club. Local photographers will now combine their pictorial imagery with paintings, prints and ceramics submitted by the affiliated groups from Lysnar House Studio for their yearly exhibition. The Gisborne Camera Club is an established... Read more »


Whakawhetai -Melanie Tangaere Baldwin

27/07/19 - 01/09/19
Opening: 26/07/19 5:30 pm

A solo exhibition of new works by Melanie Tangaere Baldwin, Ngāti Porou. This exhibition explores the insipid notion – most often espoused on online ‘Comments’ boards – that Māori should be grateful for having been colonised. The works take a kind of tongue in cheek approach to accepting this ideology as fact, while simultaneously attempting... Read more »


Ko Ahau – This is Me – Walter Dewes

20/07/19 - 15/09/19
Opening: 19/07/19 5:30 pm

I love painting and creating. I can’t imagine not producing artwork, for myself, for friends and for family. I’ve painted for over 30 years now, and I am still learning new things. It will never get old for me, there’s always something to create, a new design or a weird idea – inspiration comes from... Read more »


The Self Portraits of Carol Montgomery

12/07/19 - 08/09/19
Opening: 12/07/19 10:00 am

To my knowledge, this is the first exhibition of self portraits to be held at Tairāwhiti Museum. It is my first solo exhibition and includes my first self portrait which was also my first oil painting and my first exhibit. The works exhibited are in graphite, pastel and oils and cover the years 1980-2015. They... Read more »


Rua -John Moetara

15/06/19 - 24/07/19
Opening: 14/06/19 5:30 pm

An exhibition based on relationships. An artistic expression with a foot in two worlds, value and belief systems. Inherited through the journey from Stone 2 Steel. Staying connected to the indigenous visual language of old with a drive to adapt to the ever changing space and media. A challenge to the Indigenous creatives. How far... Read more »


Flat-Pack Whakapapa – Maureen Lander

18/05/19 - 28/07/19
Opening: 17/05/19 5:30 pm

Dr Maureen Lander is of Ngāpuhi (Te Hikutu subtribe) and Pākehā (New Zealand European) descent. A noted multimedia installation artist, weaver, and academic who has exhibited locally, nationally and internationally since 1986. In Flat-Pack Whakapapa, Lander has created three installations that explore the connections between whakapapa and raranga (Māori weaving). Flat-Pack Whakapapa considers kinship, family... Read more »


About Time – David Andrew

04/05/19 - 23/06/19
Opening: 03/05/19 5:30 pm

As a youngster I was always interested in drawing. This interest turned into art as a subject at Lytton High with Stan Bugden. He had a great influence on me and created a desire to carry on with art throughout my life. I attended Ardmore Teachers College and majored in art for two years and... Read more »


Hei Ora

06/04/19 - 19/05/19
Opening: 05/04/19 5:30 am

An exhibition of recent works by Henare Brooking. Hei Ora is a unique, diverse and vibrant exhibition of works that showcase the living, evolving and continual development of both traditional and contemporary Māori Arts. Hei Ora is also a reflection of the underlined reality of living life as an artist; being passionate about your cultural... Read more »



30/03/19 - 09/06/19
Opening: 29/03/19 5:30 pm

An exhibition of recent works by Fiona Collis, Melanie Tahata, Izzy Te Rauna. OHO is the awakening of creative energies experienced by each of the three exhibiting artists in the last two years. Izzy Te Rauna discovered a passion for tukutuku. Fiona Collis has gone back to her traditional weaving roots and her passion for... Read more »


Fruits of a Splendid Isolation

23/03/19 - 12/05/19
Opening: 22/03/19 5:30 pm

In an eddy, a side-pool off the mainstream, a light shone on a quartet of friends who drew, painted and created, individually and as a group, over a period of fifty years. They grew with an East Coast flavour, untethered to any school or style, that leaned towards the dynamic, figurative and expressive, revelling in... Read more »


Retrospective – Phyllis Underdown

16/02/19 - 28/03/19
Opening: 15/02/19 5:30 pm

In 2009 Phyllis Underdown was recognised as a Life Member of the Tairāwhiti Museum for her significant contribution to the arts in Gisborne as an artist, teacher and advocate. Artist statement: I have enjoyed drawing and painting since my childhood in Wellington, but this exhibition is of works that I have completed since my arrival... Read more »


Hawaiiki Hou

15/12/18 - 10/02/19
Opening: 14/12/18 5:30 pm

An exhibition of recent works by staff and students of Toihoukura. “Hawaiiki Hou” – (new horizons) 2018 marks the 25th year of Toihoukura – School of Māori Arts and design at the Eastern Institute of Technology, and consists of recent works by students and staff Toihoukura from this academic year. This exhibition also coincides with... Read more »


He Tirohanga ki Tai: Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery

08/12/18 - 10/03/19
Opening: 07/12/18 5:30 pm

He Tirohanga ki Tai: Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery is an art exhibition and public forum that addresses the historical fallacy of the European ‘discovery’ of Aotearoa New Zealand. As the title suggests, he tirohanga ki tai (a view from the shore), the exhibition provides an indigenous perspective looking out from our place in the... 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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