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


Where Are We?

Exhibitions & Galleries

Current Calendar

Exhibition Archives

Semi Permanent Exhibitions

Rich in Gisborne, East Coast history

Poverty Bay - taonga maori



November 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
10:00 100 Days Show..

17:30 Great Encounters At the Britis..

18:30 Oro Wai Ora - Taonga Puoro Per..

02:00 Gallery performance by Gisborn..

10:00 100 Days Show..

16:00 Water is Life - He Ora Te Wai ..


Download all events




MŌ TE EMEPAEA - For the Empire

A diary of WW1

   13 October 2017 – 10 December 2017

Opening 5.30pm 12 October 2017

    Artist Jean Stewart works on ‘Night Trek in Killarney’

Ki a koutou Ngāi Mātakitaki tēnā koutou katoa. Tēnā koutou i tae mai ki te mātakitaki i tēnei mahi toi i runga i te kaupapa o te pakanga tuatahi. Ko te tumanako kia mīharo koutou ki ngā mahi toi o ngā tohunga nā rātou ngā peita, ngā whakairo, me ngā taonga uku i roto i tenei whakakitenga me te aroha anō hoki ki a rātou katoa i haere ki rāwāhi ki te pakanga tuatahi. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

“Mō Te Emepaea” (For The Empire) is a play on Lord Kitchener’s finger pointing to members of the Commonwealth that “Your Country Needs You”.

This is a personal exhibition based in part on the diaries of Tawhai Riri Tamepo which contains the activities of his platoon and his travels in Europe while on convalescent leave.

Tamepo paints a sobering portrayal of the post war struggles that many endured without governmental assistance which was only available to non-Māori returned servicemen.

Contributing to this memorial are artists: June Grant, Jean Stewart, the late Dr Cliff Whiting, Sandy Adsett, Derek Lardelli, Gabrielle Belz, Steve Gibbs, Baye Riddell, Grant Hall, Ruth Cole, Linda Pirimona, Hoana Forrester and Ereatara Tamepo.
-Curator Erina Tamepo

TE HĀ ART AWARD and EXHIBITION 2017 ‘The impact of settlement upon the native flora and fauna of Te Tairāwhiti’ 

  7 October 2017 – 3 December 2017

Opening 5.30pm 6 October 2017

    Lina Marsh- Kowhai Leaf 2013.62.10

Presented by Tairāwhiti Museum and Te Hā1769 Sestercentennial Trust

In October 2019 our region and nation will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first meetings of tangata whenua and those on the Endeavour, which took place here in Te Tairāwhiti. This significant event encourages us to consider our region’s unique and fascinating heritage.

2017 is the second year of TE HĀ ART AWARD and EXHIBITION. Entry is free and this year’s theme questions what effects Māori and European settlement have had on Aotearoa’s distinctive flora and fauna.

Artists are encouraged to explore any avenue of thought which incorporates this ‘seasons’ topic. From the ongoing benefits of preservation and conservation, to the extreme past and present predatory activities which have decimated so many species.

Sponsors Pultron Composites, offers prizes for the open $3000 and youth $500 sections and this year Dr Jack C Richards presents a further two awards for Highly Commended $1500 and People’s Choice $1000.

Water is Life - He Ora Te Wai 

Our stories of our Tairāwhiti waters

  20 September 2017 – 26 November 2017

Water. Essential for life. What does it mean to you? What are your memories and stories of water? How can we protect our waterways?

‘An opportunity for the people of Tairāwhiti to come together to share our stories of our wai, our waters, in our own way. Sharing our love and concerns for water through all forms of art... dance, poetry, clay, weaving, carving, painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, slide shows. We invite all to join us, to bring a small sample of water from your rivers, lakes or streams to place in a collective vessel, and consider what we can do to care for our waters which sustain our lives.’
- Airini Forbes


Kete-Puāwai -Basket of Evolution

  21 December 2017 – 25 February 2018

Opening 5.30pm 20 December 2017

    Abby Collier - Tuwhara

Māori weaving is full of symbolism and hidden meanings. Embodied with the spiritual values of Te-whare-pora and our Māori people. The Kete is seen and recognised as a spiritual vessel. It carry’s the knowledge and wisdom of our Ancestors. Tāne-te-wānanga is acknowledged for retrieving three baskets of knowledge for mankind. One kete was called Te-kete-aronui, which is known as the basket of progression. Te-kete-aronui contained the knowledge of raranga as well as all things pertaining to the arts.

Puāwai refers to the evolution of Te-whare-pora from the past and to its continuing growth in the present. This exhibition therefore pays tribute to the weavers of the past and to the weavers of the present that continue to revolutionise the Knowledge of Te-whare-pora.

A connection of Te-whare-pora from the past and Te-whare-pora of the present. The kairaranga are a selection of students from Te-Wānanga-o-Aotearoa (Whirikoka Campus) to exhibit taonga raranga alongside Raranga tahito. - Erin Rauna

100 Days Show - Gisborne 

  24 June 2017 – 10 December 2017

Opening 5.30pm 23 June

   Day 18: Hei Tiki Two Bit Punk From Frisco.Song of the Day: Ramones, 'Beat on the Brat'. Album: Ramones, 1976.Lina Marsh 2016

Founded in 2011 the 100 Days Project is an annual event that runs, (you guessed it!), for 100 consecutive days. The brainchild of this project, New Zealand graphic designer Emma Rogan, says, ‘in order to survive this 100 day marathon you need to be disciplined, have creative flexibility and lots and lots of energy’. Other than two simple rules - choose one creative activity to repeat every day for 100 days, and record each daily effort – there is no skill pre-requisite, no age restriction, no fees and you can participate from anywhere in the world.

100 Days Show - Gisborne sees eight artists from this region and their projects from 2016, with some artists adding works from previous years’ 100-day projects. The show kicks off with a group exhibition, followed by solo exhibitions by each individual artist. For some exhibitors workshops for children and in-gallery art demonstrations may accompany these exhibitions.

-Lina Marsh




  Opens 12 November 2016 

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.


 Gladstone Road

  Now showing

   Horse racing in Gladstone Road

Gladstone Road, named after British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, has been the main street of Gisborne (Tûranga) since its establishment in the late 1860s.

Hotels, banks, retailers, churches, halls, theatres, a post office, a courthouse, and a newspaper have all resided on Gladstone Road.

The popularity of Gladstone Road has ensured its capture by way of photography. The museum photographic collection has a good coverage of the central business area over a number of decades. The Gladstone Road exhibition will feature some of the more interesting images of the road and the buildings associated with it.

In 1975 a photographic survey of Gladstone Road from Reads Quay to Roebuck Road was made by a university student and donated to the museum. A similar survey was made in 1993. Maybe it is time to produce another? The 1975 photographs will be 'merged' together resulting in a long continuous view of each side of Gladstone Road that will run along the walls of the photographic gallery.



 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 -