Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery
Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history
Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history Poverty Bay - taonga maori
Tairawhiti Museum and Art Gallery Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history

Poverty Bay - taonga maori

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A Quilt Does Not Have To Stand Alone

  22 June 2018 – 7 October 2018

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 and layered using raw edge appliqué and traditional piecing techniques.

Sister and brother duo, Bronwyn Furlan and ceramicist Jamie Quirk combined textiles with clay, while Irene Smith filled room dividers with fabric work. Kathy Grimson enlisted the help of Makauri School pupils to fashion a mixed media design themed for the 2019 Te Hā Sestercentennial commemorations.

Poll Wlliams reworked the back of her late mother’s chair with a combination of cane and quilted fabric while wire, stones, wood and twine, embellish the work of Deb Williams.

Niuean artist Lina Marsh has reutilized lampshades and Morva Thomson has altered the base of her pieces, by producing a fusion of onion/garlic skins and printed/dyed paper to make her ‘fabrics’.
-Irene Smith

The 80s Show

  14 July 2018 – 16 September 2018

Karakia II - Gordon Walters

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 consumption. It was a decade known for neon Lycra, leg warmers, pop art and the Rubik’s cube and during this time, New Zealand made international headlines for its anti-nuclear stance and protests against apartheid.” says Tauranga Art Gallery director Karl Chitham. “What's fascinating is that things that might have appeared shocking in the 80s are now accepted as essential parts of our visual culture, and very much enjoyed wherever they are hung.” says Fletcher Trust Collection curator Peter Shaw. The Fletcher Trust Collection, which had its beginnings as long ago as 1962, has collected contemporary New Zealand art since 1967. The 80s Show features paintings by significant New Zealand artists such as Philip Clairmont, Julian Dashper, Dick Frizzell, Max Gimblett, Jeffrey Harris, and Gordon Walters. 



Pou Whare – A pillar of Strength 

  1 July 2018 – 23 September 2018

Opening 4.30pm Sunday 1 July
Floor talk 10.30am Monday 2 July

Leading up to the 150th commemoration of the return of Te Kooti Rikirangi Te Turuki and his followers (Ngā Whakarau) landing at Whareongaonga, this exhibition is a visual artists tribute to the koroua offering a platform for the artists to voice their stories celebrating their connections to Te Kooti Rikirangi Te Turuki through their whakapapa, the stories of their tīpuna that served with him throughout his campaign, or stories of their tīpuna who were followers of the Ringatū faith.

The contribution of twelve artists makes reference to 12th of the month and the Sabbath (Saturday), there are four important days, or rā, on the Ringatū calendar, which are known as ngā pou o te tau (the pillars of the year). They are 1 January, 1 June, 1 July, and 1 November. 1 July marks the beginning of the seventh month, the ‘sabbath of the sabbath’; and celebrates the cycle of renewal, or coming from death at the beginning of spring.

Dr Haare Williams; Simon Lardelli; Steve
Gibbs; Tiopira Rauna; Tai Kerekere;
Nick Tupara; John Moetara; Matthew
Thornton; Tawera Tahuri; Henare Tahuri;
Erena Koopu; Kaaterina Kerekere

Atarau : Moonlight

  29 September 2018 - 4 November 2018

Opening 5:30pm, 28 September 2018

Geeko-Kākāriki: Arihia Koia, Waikirikiri School

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 who examine similar environmental themes.

The workshops investigated a range of themes including:

•The maramataka (the Māori lunar calendar) and how it works with the natural environment.
•The abundance of native forest flora and fauna in the Tairāwhiti region as explored through the legend of Tāne-mahuta.
•The flora, fauna and landscape as depicted by artists and described in Cook’s journals from his 1769 visit.
•Sustainability and forest regeneration, and the Department of Conservation’s New Zealand’s 2050 predator project.

Contact Tairāwhiti Museum education for more information:

Wairere - Waterfalls
- Norm Heke

  29 September 2018 - 25 November 2018

Opening 5:30pm, 28 September 2018

Marokopa Falls - Norm Heke

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 I experienced as an avid tramper. The notion of why people are drawn to these natural features is explored throughout the exhibition.

In the natural world, negative ions are found in abundance near waterfalls, the positive effects of 'negative ions' on a person increased sense of wellbeing has been scientifically proven.

The title Wairere comes from the Māori name given to a stream of water or waterfall. The work seeks to recognise the interconnectedness of waterfalls to the land, sea and sky and all living things.
-Norm Heke

Fresh Horizons
- Lina Marsh

  13 October 2018 - 9 December 2018

Opening 5:30pm, 12 October 2018

Fresh Horizons is a programme of free workshops which provide young, aspiring artists with the opportunity to spend three days of intensive art-making with leading Pacific art practitioners. Tautai (Pacific Arts Trust) is working with Gisborne artist Lina Marsh to organise and host the workshops, which will be held on 2 – 4 October, at Gisborne Girls’ High School. The students who participate will then have their works exhibited alongside established artists and mentors at Tairāwhiti Museum.

The artist mentors for Fresh Horizons are Siliga David Setoga (design and screen printing), Sesilia Pusiaki (Tongan music and dance) and King Kapisi (songwriting, recording, video production). They each have a wealth of knowledge and a range of art forms to share with the students who take part in the workshops.

- Lina Marsh, Fresh Horizons coordinator

Ambitious Gisborne Women 

  10 November 2018 - 3 March 2019

Opening 5:30pm, 9 November 2018
Public talk by Jean Johnston,
5.30pm 19 September 2018

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 the women of this region who signed the 1893 Suffrage Petition have been lost but we do have a record of the over 200 women who signed the 1892 petition.

Gisborne women formed a number of active political groups leading to an 1894 newspaper headline throughout the country referring to them as ‘Ambitious Gisborne Women’.

The exhibition will profile some of these (mainly unknown) women and the women’s groups they belonged to. Items from the museum’s collection on display include a bible belonging to Gisborne political activist and community leader Margaret Home Sievwright.
-Jean Johnston, Curator


Te Hā Art Award and exhibition 2018

  6 October 2018 – 18 November 2018

Opening 5:30pm, 5 October 2018

Te Hā Art Award and exhibition 2018
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 and landscape of Te Tairāwhiti.

2018 is the third year of the Te Hā Art award and exhibition. Entry is free and artists are encouraged to explore any avenue of thought which incorporates this year’s theme. There are four awards this year (Open, Youth, Children’s and People’s Choice), sponsored by Pultron Composites and Professor Jack C Richards.

Entries must be received at the museum by Thursday 27th September. The exhibition will be selected from submissions and the awards presented at the exhibition opening on Friday 5 October.

For more information, conditions of entry, and entry forms contact the museum.

Download entry form here....

Kete, Mahea Tupara, 2011. 2011.50.2


Out of the Bedroom into the Lounge
- Jan Nigro

  1 December 2018 – 24 March 2019

Opening 5:30pm, 30 November 2018

Nude and Rose, Jan Nigro

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 and reclaims Jan Nigro as an important New Zealand artist. Nigro resolutely celebrated the human figure regardless of trends in contemporary art practice. It also firmly places the artist as commentator, a role she perhaps unwittingly played as her content reflected current events or thinking during a period of immense social change in New Zealand. Most importantly it celebrates us, our bodies, united by an unclad identity and shaped by her uninhibited colourful context. During her life, Jan battled to have her close focus on the ‘nude’ accepted by viewers and peers. We are honouring Jan’s commitment to “get them out of the bedroom and into the lounge” as she wished.

This exhibition is brought to you by Fine Art Society New Zealand and Jan Nigro Trust with support from Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato.

Let Us Play


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 activities all as important to one’s wellbeing as is the cultivation and appreciation of your inner artistic essence. Every exhibition has a story to tell, and each of these twelve works offers a separate leaf or page to embellish the overall jaunty playfulness of this ‘picture book’ show.
What reaction do each of these artists solicit from the viewer?  Perhaps their imagery may pinpoint activities which awaken familiar responses with perhaps a subtle nudge toward a sense of enjoyment or pleasure.
Ceramic painter, Barry Hughes’ tumbling clown, balances in mid cartwheel before tiers of smiling faces. From such a simplistic image the viewer might experience sensory overload, conjure up the flavoursome hit of candy floss, a whiff of dry sawdust, the knot in your stomach, the thrill as you perch within the voluminous sweep of the big top watching the scintillating swirl of performers and animals. 
Or, you might find yourself settling into the hushed preoccupation of writing to a loved one as in multimedia artist, Lina Marsh’s postcards from abroad. Possibly not the sort of news you’d want to be on the receiving end of, as each postcard is jam-packed with the heart stopping daily reports on board the Endeavour. Still these stories weave languidly from artwork to artwork, surreptitiously bedding in the viewer’s psyche. So now is the time to play, a time to shake off those serious thoughts, gather up your stories and dive into the rabbit hole.
”What is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”
Alice in Wonderland
“Beyond my eyes horizon – a moon washed thought, 
put the word within a box and take away the key.”
Joy Hester. 1920 - 1960



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 each photograph described and identified, some sadly are ‘found’, perhaps in an attic, with little or no information on the people and places depicted within.

The Mahunga Collection is a collection of early twentieth century photographs donated by the Briant family. Most of the family can be identified, dates can be estimated, places and sites can be recognised but a lot of the occasions and particulars have been lost in the passing of time.

The Mahunga Collection depicts the establishment of the Mahunga farm station situated on the Te Wera Road near Matawai. The images transport us to the early 1900s and an insight to family and farming life in an isolated rural environment.

The museum wishes to thank the Briant family for their donation, creating this exhibition and to acknowledge the long time support of Bob Briant.



 Jack C Richards Decorative Arts Gallery



One of the major attractions at the long awaited grand opening of the museum extensions will be the purpose built and specifically designed gallery displaying Dr Jack C Richard’s eclectic collection. Taking centre stage, decorative vessels highlighting the beauty that is Art Deco and Art Nouveau by the great masters of French glass René Lalique and Émile Gallé.

Over the years, the museum has been granted privileged access to the Richard’s collection which enabled the exhibition team to produce a selection of exhibitions. In 2010 ‘Power Dressing’ curatored by Dr Damian Skinner featured the breathtaking elegance of 20 Chinese and Korean robes. In 2011 the museum presented two exhibitions, the dazzling, eye-popping ‘Guatemalan textiles’ of the Mayan culture and the lavish ornamentation of ‘Le Style Lalique’.

It is safe to say that all of these items will have their day in this designated gallery. The collection is ever growing with numerous surprises in store that will ensure visitors will delight in sharing the joy of this private collection offered for public viewing.

See video of the opening of the gallery -