• 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


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

07/10/19 - 11/10/20
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 »


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 »

current long-term

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 »

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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