• 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


Moving Hands – Barry Ball

03/02/24 - 21/04/24
Opening: 02/02/24 5:30 pm

A Retrospective of Pottery and Paintings. Barry Ball was born in Feilding, New Zealand, he was then schooled in South Africa and further trained as a potter at Bergit Potteries in the United Kingdom. After decades abroad, he returned to NZ, and quickly rose to respected status in the ceramic spheres. His pots were twice... Read more »


Tāhū – A Legacy of People and Place

23/12/23 - 10/03/24
Opening: 23/12/23 10:00 am

Tāhū (also known as tāhuhu), has layered conceptualisation of indigenous knowledge and practice. Tāhū is described as the first we, in the weaving of a traditional Māori garment, or, as the main ridge-pole of a traditional ancestral house. Both concepts have underlying threads that connect people and place – a metaphor of weaving a direct... Read more »


Uruhau – Toihoukura – School of Māori Visual Art

08/12/23 - 11/02/24
Opening: 08/12/23 10:00 am

Uruhau is an exhibition of new works by the students of Toihoukura School of Māori Visual Art. This exhibition is a celebration of resilience and achievements. This year, we faced challenges that tested us in many ways, but we came together with a shared commitment to excellence, collaboration, and support. Through our core values of... Read more »


The Millard Studio

11/11/23 - 28/01/24
Opening: 10/11/23 5:30 pm

Edward Arthur Millard established and operated a photographic studio in Gisborne from 1915 until his untimely death in 1933. Evidence of his fine camera skills are found amongst a few surviving prints in the museum’s collection. Glass plates, negatives, hand-coloured prints, long thought destroyed, were found and donated to the museum. Working through this material,... Read more »


Breathe – Maiko Lewis-Whaanga

07/10/23 - 03/12/23
Opening: 06/10/23 5:30 pm

Pause. Inhale slowly. Exhale slowly. Seven years ago Maiko realised the power of breath during the birth of her son. Now, at Te Wharau School, Maiko teaches tamariki about this power we all have, yet often take for granted teaching mindfulness and breathing practices. The last few years have been challenging for us all. This... Read more »


He Kākahu Rerehua | The Uplifiting Wind

Unfurling the wings of majestic Māori garments cared for by Tairāwhiti Museum

01/10/23 - 01/10/24
Opening: 01/10/23 2:00 pm


Purapura Whetu – Michelle Hinekura Kerr

30/09/23 - 04/02/24
Opening: 30/09/23 10:00 am

“This exhibition is made up of woven sculptures that recall the ancestral stories of the whanau marama, the celestial family of light. Each piece is made from native fibre whilst using indigenous techniques and designs.” Multimedia artist Michelle Hinekura Kerr grew up in Uawa/Tolaga Bay and came from a family background of proficient kai raranga/weavers.... Read more »


Rima Tekau – Melanie Tahata

23/09/23 - 10/12/23
Opening: 22/09/23 5:30 pm

Rima Tekau is a sharing and expression of Whānaungatanga, of Toi Māori and most importantly, Aroha. Sharing this milestone in her creative life-path, multi-disciplinary artist Melanie Tahata has curated a solo exhibition of whānau archives alongside a selection of older and recent works. Tākina ko au, tākina ko koe Te Kura Māhukihuki Born and raised... Read more »


Wearable Art – Susan Holmes

26/08/23 - 05/11/23
Opening: 25/08/23 5:30 pm

These are sculptural one-off showpiece garments that tell the story of my life in Textile Art over half a century. At the age of 30 I had the great good luck to discover how to print designs on fabric. My friend and I were trying out potato prints with heat set dye and I got... Read more »


Dreamers – Louise Walsh & Jolene Douglas

05/08/23 - 01/10/23
Opening: 04/08/23 5:30 pm

Walsh’s new works follow life’s ebb and flow, ups and downs and her insecurities about her work. Each work stems from her first piece, The Beginning, its simple lines and colours, creating an overall pattern and base for other works. “These last few ‘Covid years’ have been hard for us all. Like many others, I... Read more »


What they didn’t teach us at school – Clayton Gibson

22/07/23 - 17/09/23
Opening: 21/07/23 5:30 pm

My oil paintings express my personal articulation of the realities of the human condition. I am profoundly aware of the relationship between human beings and their environment. Utilising this awareness, I have selected and painted pivotal and recognisable events in our history which were not taught to us in school during the 1960s and 70s.... Read more »


Whakawhetū – Maia Keane

14/07/23 - 24/09/23
Opening: 13/07/23 5:30 pm

Whakawhetū re-imagines atua Matariki using Toi Māori elements from a fresh and fun perspective. Follow artist Maia Keane on her discovery into the connections between Te iwa o Matariki and our natural environment. The paintings displayed in this exhibition are documents of learning, combining traditional Māori patterns and vibrant colour combinations to express what each... Read more »


Up The Coast

01/07/23 - 07/07/24
Opening: 30/06/23 5:30 pm

Up the coast. That’s where I’m from. Up the coast. That’s where I’m going. Up The Coast is an exhibition that looks at some of the lesser known images in the Tairāwhiti Museum photographic collection. The methods used to travel up the coast, from waka to coastal steamers, reflect the development of the area. Rivers... Read more »


Gisborne Artists’ Society, Pottery Group and Camera Club exhibition

24/06/23 - 20/08/23
Opening: 23/06/23 5:30 pm

All to see and enjoy at this year’s Gisborne artists, potters and photographers exhibition. The quality and the high degree of talent evident in the artwork and created by Gisborne (mainly) hobby artists are once again on display and for sale. All show an enthusiasm and dedication to their hobby. The originality and challenges taken... Read more »


Ka tū te Rūnanga – John Moetara

10/06/23 - 30/07/23
Opening: 10/06/23 10:00 am

John Moetara Rongowhakaata, Ngāpuhi Ka tū te Rūnanga is an artistic expression, a balance of passion and lived learning. A mixed media offering influenced by the people, by the place and by the kōrero of Home. An artist offering with the aim to blend indigenous process and practice with modern media and technique. John Moetara... Read more »



27/05/23 - 09/07/23
Opening: 26/05/23 5:30 pm

Ataata (noun) shadow, reflection. Ataata is a reflection on the origins of whakairo and its journey through history, noting the inevitable changes incurred through the introduction of western tools and materials. Retelling the pūrākau of Ruatepupuke, the origin story of whakairo, Heremaia Barlow endeavours to continue this narrative by asking, where to from here? Influenced... Read more »


The Deal

22/04/23 - 18/06/23
Opening: 21/04/23 6:30 pm

Using upcycling methodology and sewing only by hand, David Roil established a subculture in 2004 becoming involved with the London Pacific Fashion Week. Over the years his men’s and women’s range have been shown at the Melbourne Fashion Festival in the Melbourne Museum for the Global Indigenous Runway. Growing up in Wellington in the 70s... Read more »



01/04/23 - 05/06/23
Opening: 31/03/23 5:30 pm

An exhibition by Zoe Alford New work from local painter Zoe Alford of lightscapes around te Tairāwhiti including seascapes, beaches, farmland, a vineyard, Eastland Port, and the old Midway Surf-Lifesaving Club. Zoe is firmly attached to realism in her artwork, but a close look reveals almost abstract patterns: reflections in water, seas of grass, slumped... Read more »


My Tairāwhiti – a journey with my camera

25/03/23 - 21/05/23
Opening: 24/03/23 5:30 pm

An exhibition by Maria Gobbie My exhibition My Tairāwhiti – a journey with my camera is a collection of my mahi captured throughout Tairāwhiti during the past five years. I am a self-taught photographer who works by trusting my intuitive self to capture moments of emotion and connection. I grew up in Auckland, but Tairāwhiti... Read more »


Ka Waiata Au

18/02/23 - 26/04/23
Opening: 17/02/23 5:30 pm

An exhibition by Erena Koopu This exhibition is an extension of Erena’s expoloration of waiata in paint. These works are a translation of lyrical excellence, of iwi histories and whakapapa through visual expression. This time Erena extends the range of waiata used in paint by including waiata from important phases in her life. Erena uses... Read more »


Circle the Square

04/02/23 - 19/03/23
Opening: 03/02/23 5:30 pm

‘Circle the Square’ [sine, symbols & identity] A series of paintings created during Ryan Ledger’s recovery process of mental health after burning himself out after completing his media arts degree while also making music videos in the underground RnB and Hip Hop scene in New Zealand, exploring the themes of Identity and his interpretation of... Read more »


A Real Therapy

28/01/23 - 26/03/23
Opening: 27/01/23 5:30 pm

A Real Therapy Graeme Nicoll has sketched, painted, and carved for as long as he can remember. It’s his ‘happy’ place, hence his exhibition’s title. He smiles when he remembers 5 years of great art learning tuition under Graeme Mudge at GBHS, as he was allowed to do Art while his fellow students had to... Read more »


Out of the Illusion, Into the Unified Field

17/12/22 - 17/02/23
Opening: 16/12/22 5:30 pm

A new body of work and a retrospective by Tish Scott Wairoa-based artist Tish Scott is not a strict adherent to Surrealism’s manifesto, but the other-worldly style she paints in plumbs an idiosyncratic cosmogony via a multi-dimensional world-view unrecognisable to most. “I sit outside the narrative of what we are in the outer regions of... Read more »


COLOURS DELUXE: The Art Album of New Zealand Flora by Sarah and Edward Featon of Gisborne

26/11/22 - 25/06/23
Opening: 25/11/22 5:30 pm

COLOURS DELUXE celebrates the achievement of Sarah and Edward Featon of Gisborne, who in the 1880s undertook an ambitious project to describe and paint New Zealand’s flowering plants. Their work resulted in the publication of The Art Album of New Zealand Flora in 1889. This book was the first full colour art album printed and... Read more »


Whai au

19/11/22 - 22/01/23
Opening: 18/11/22 5:30 pm

An exhibition of new works by students and staff from Toihoukura School of Māori Visual Art and Design. Toihoukura is thrilled to return to Tairāwhiti Museum to present a new collaboration of works showcasing the creative excellence of emerging Māori artists. This year, Toihoukura has focused attention and invested its energy into sharing and practicing... Read more »


The Mudge Murals

12/11/22 - 29/01/23
Opening: 11/11/22 5:30 pm

“The holy grail is to spend less time making the picture than it takes people to look at it,” England-based street artist Banksy once said. Since murals are mostly looked at in passing, fellow street artist (among his other hats) Graeme Mudge would have been amused by the irony in Banksy’s observation. The opening on... Read more »


Tatau: Sāmoan Tattooing and Photography Tatau: Tatau Sāmoa ma ata pu’e

30/09/22 - 11/12/22
Opening: 30/09/22 10:00 am

The exhibition is based on the scholarship developed for the Te Papa Press book TATAU: a history of Samoan tattooing (2019). This exhibition presents the photographic art of four Samoan artists, who have been capturing the dynamic practice of contemporary Sāmoan tatau over the last 40 years. New Zealand photographer Mark Adams has been following... Read more »


Pacific Couture – Lindah Lepou “Le Tatau” (2006) – Rebirth

09/09/22 - 06/11/22
Opening: 09/09/22 10:00 am

Lindah Lepou is an internationally renowned, Fa’afafine ARTIST, with an interdisciplinary (and collaborative) practice in Fashion, Photography, Film, Music, and/or Performance. Over three decades now, she has built a unique, body-of-work, that illustrates a multidimensional, multicultural, and intergenerational connection between pre- and post-colonial worlds, that travels through her ‘Gafa’, and relationship with ‘AITU’ (Spirit/Ancestors). In... Read more »



03/09/22 - 30/10/22
Opening: 02/09/22 5:30 pm

Tūmanako (noun) desire, hope, wish. a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. Hope is optimism. When I’m hopeful for anything, I’m thinking that the sorrow and difficulty of today will soon end. As individuals and communities, many trials of hope lost occur every day. But, it is through loss, defeat... Read more »


Beginnings – the origins and progress of a painter – Peter Ireland

27/08/22 - 13/11/22
Opening: 26/08/22 5:30 pm

Most artist exhibitions in galleries and museums tend to be either solo shows or group shows on a particular theme, all of them consisting of works assumed to be of a certain standard for public exhibition. This exhibition consists of 31 paintings dating from 1956 when the artist Peter Ireland was 9 until the later... Read more »


Gisborne Artists, Potters and Photographers annual exhibition

06/08/22 - 25/09/22
Opening: 05/08/22 5:30 pm

This year’s combined exhibition of the Gisborne Artists, Potters and Photographers includes a tribute in honour of ceramic artist, Peggy Ericson. ‘Shining Light Tribute’ is a display of lamps inspired by Peggy’s work – ‘earth and fire’ and ‘the natural world elements’ which was reflected throughout her pieces. Peggy referred to herself as a “dysfunctional... Read more »


Pick and Mix – Allsorts

09/07/22 - 04/09/22
Opening: 08/07/22 5:30 pm

This is our debut ‘Allsorts’ group exhibition which will showcase us as a group as well as individual artists. The ‘Allsorts’ members consist of Amber Graham, Kiri-Ana Tough, Maiko Lewis-Whaanga and Sue-Ann Blandford. ‘Allsorts’ is a collective of diverse individuals brought together by a shared passion for art. We all met on a local art... Read more »


Salt – Phil Yeo

18/06/22 - 21/08/22
Opening: 17/06/22 5:30 pm

SALT is an exploration of our community here in Te Tairāwhiti. The portrait series considers our collective and individual identities and was produced during 2020, as the global pandemic changed our world. The unusual diptych presentation seeks to counter the predilection of humanity for prejudice, stereotype and preconception. By elevating our ‘essential’ people through a... Read more »


Let Me Be Myself -The story of Anne Frank

26/05/22 - 24/07/22
Opening: 26/05/22 10:00 am

ANNE FRANK STICHTING (Foundation) The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand Imagine spending years in hiding because of prejudice and hate. This was reality for Anne Frank and the other residents of the secret annex in Amsterdam. Developed by Anne Frank House in the Netherlands, and viewed by more than 10 million people in 80 countries,... Read more »


Sea of Positivity – Leah McCann

07/05/22 - 03/07/22
Opening: 07/05/22 10:00 am

Sea of Positivity, is a collection of intuitive, abstract paintings and 3D wall sculptures inspired by ocean seascapes. “The intent is to evoke feelings of happiness, optimism and energy. Art for me is like a jump start that creates a spark of energy. It recharges your batteries and reminds us to marvel in the everyday.... Read more »


Textiles Alive

09/04/22 - 12/06/22
Opening: 09/04/22 10:00 am

For their latest exhibition, four textile artists have set themselves the challenge to focus on creating oversized fabric artworks all presented in their uniquely individual styling. Textiles Alive is a stitched journey mapping a love of fibre and fabric. These large-scale works meander through gardens, dive into seascapes and visit lighthouses, immersing the audience in... Read more »


Harikoa te Ngākau – Michelle Hinekura Kerr

26/03/22 - 08/05/22
Opening: 26/03/22 10:00 am

The mahi in this exhibition was influenced by observations I made whilst spending time with my whānau during this Christmas summer break. Throughout the break my whānau assembled from the regions to camp on our ancestral land, next to our awa and at the feet of our maunga. Whilst there I witnessed such happiness amongst... Read more »


Shine On – Bronwyn Furlan and Kathy Grimson

05/03/22 - 01/05/22
Opening: 05/03/22 10:00 am

We have enjoyed many years of quilt making and both of us have a traditional quilting and needlework background that has taught us the fundamental skills and rules that are required to create beautiful bed quilts. This solid foundation of knowledge is now allowing us to bend the rules, experiment and push the boundaries. Using... Read more »


Out of the Closet – The Stewart Whānau Collection

19/02/22 - 03/04/22
Opening: 19/02/22 10:00 am

“If art flows through you naturally, then you are meant to be an artist” Padre William Gray Adrienne Stewart Out of the Closet is a collaborative arts and crafts exhibition presented by weaver Adrienne Stewart and her multi-talented whānau. Adrienne’s parents, Adrian and Horowai Stewart both of Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti descent have a deep-seated passion for... Read more »


Pride Tairāwhiti – Tairāwhiti Rainbow Collective

28/01/22 - 27/02/22
Opening: 28/01/22 10:00 am

He mihi matakuikui matakoakoa ki a koutou katoa i tēnei wāhanga o te tau, ki nga whānau uenuku, aniwaniwa, kopere, takatapui nau mai whakapiri mai. Tēnei te mihi ki ngā pae maunga, ngā awa, ngā iwi me ngā hapā o te Tairāwhiti. Mai te rangi ki te whenua, he mihi maioha tēnei ki a koutou... Read more »


Kōaka o Whakaaro – Toihoukura School of Māori Visual Art & Design

11/12/21 - 13/02/22
Opening: 11/12/21 10:00 am

Kōaka o Whakaaro is an exhibition of new works by the students and staff from Toihoukura School of Māori Visual Art and Design, showcasing the latest in emerging talent. This exhibition is an acknowledgement of individual contributions to a collective whakaaro or wānanga. A collective that offers a safe space for artists, a place of... Read more »


Be the Taniwha – Tai and Kaaterina Kerekere

04/12/21 - 20/03/22
Opening: 04/12/21 10:00 am

At the beginning of this series, our concepts, research and development focused on issues of Wai, natural resource management, knowledge, power, control, wai and why? But as we continued to blend work and art, with life, with the community,– we saw reoccurring patterns throughout all aspects in our communities and our villages. This new series... Read more »


The Creative Gene – Heather Van Wyk and Raymond Crafts

27/11/21 - 23/01/22
Opening: 26/11/21 5:30 pm

“My interest in calligraphy started at the age of 8 when my Scottish grandfather taught me copper plate writing. My interest in Celtic Art, and later on the illuminated manuscripts of 13th to 15th century Europe, intrigued me and I have continued to study and reproduce them. The calligraphic styles of calligraphers of England and... Read more »


We Can’t Stop Now – Gisborne Printmakers’ Group 1976-2021

09/10/21 - 05/12/21
Opening: 08/10/21 5:30 pm

Handmade prints by 31 past and present members of the Group celebrate 45 years of printmaking in the Lysnar House Studios, located behind Tairāwhiti Museum. The prints on display have been created by zinc etching, dry point, collagraphs, solar plates, lino cuts and lithographs. Appreciation is given to three printmakers, Doreen Costello, Penny Ormerod and... Read more »


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 »


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 »


Tū te Whaihanga: a recognition of creative genius

07/10/19 - 01/05/22
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 »


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 »


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 »


Out of the Bedroom into the Lounge

01/12/18 - 24/03/19
Opening: 30/11/18 5:30 pm

New Zealand artist Jan Nigro (b. 1920, d. 2012) was born in Gisborne and attended Manutūkē School before moving to Napier 1930. This significant retrospective exhibition has been distilled from her life’s work held by the Jan Nigro Trust. The works illustrate a strong female contribution to the trajectory of contemporary New Zealand art history... Read more »


Posing, Not Posing

Opening: 26/11/18 10:00 am

Long before smartphones, selfie sticks and one-swipe filters, having your ‘perfect’ picture taken took practice, preparation and plenty of posing. Early cameras and photographic materials required the sitter to be still for many seconds. While this is often given as the reason for a lack of smiles, a more likely reason is that early portrait... Read more »


Ambitious Gisborne Women

10/11/18 - 31/03/19
Opening: 09/11/18 5:30 pm
Public talk by Jean Johnston: 19/09/18 5:30 pm

On 19 September 1893 New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.This exhibition tells the local story – demonstrating how well Gisborne women mobilised to go to the polls for the first time on 28 November 1893. The sheets of names of... Read more »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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.


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 »


Jack C Richards Gallery

The Jack C Richards Gallery is currently closed and will reopen in 2023. After an exhibition partnership of nine years, Professor Jack C Richards is shifting his collecting focus and rationalising his decorative and fine arts collections. While the gallery will continue to acknowledge Richards’ legacy and enduring contribution to Tairāwhiti Museum and the arts... Read more »



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 »

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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