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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taoNgā Pare-mata
Mangatū Taonga Returned

  13 April 2018 - 1 July 2018

Opening 5.30pm 13 April 2018

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, as requested by iwi and whānau (family) members.

Duncan Campbell and his brother Mackay Campbell gifted the collection to AWMM in 1929. The collection consists of eight intricately carved tao or tara (bird spear points), a carved pare (door lintel) and a number of stone mata (blades), hence the title – tao-ngā pare-mata, inclusive of the types of taonga in the collection and its literal meaning ‘taonga returned’. 


Walking with the Ancestors

  21 April 2018 – 17 June 2018

Opening 5.30pm 20 April 2018

Te Korowai Aroha -Toni Rangi

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, i te tika, i te māramatanga 
me te aroha anō o tētehi ki tētehi. 
e Rongo whakairia ake ki runga ki a tīna

Hui e, Tāiki e

We are all on a hīkoi, whether it is a physical, emotional or a spiritual one. With each hīkoi we learn more about ourselves and our place in the world.

Come into a space where wahine rise from the earth and taniwha are set free to roam the walls amongst their mokopuna. Embrace the intricate weaving of past, present and future as the stories of the land and its people are reflected and sung through the artwork of Toni Rangi, Yvonne Tana and Jeannette McDonnell-Rata, begin a new hīkoi today.


Erana Koopu - Hei ō Mō Apanui | Iwi Sustenance

  5 May 2018 – 24 June 2018

Opening 5.30pm 4 May 2018

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.

This latest series of works encompasses the tribal narratives of Te Whānau a Apanui captured in the lyrical musings of tohunga and renowned Māori composer, Rikirangi Gage.

As both a visual and performance artist, Erena fuses her two passions in this exhibition to contribute toward the retention of her iwi stories.

Koopu is a respected senior lecturer at Toihoukura School of Māori Visual Arts, EIT Tairāwhiti campus, and one of the most recognised faces of Te Matatini on the contemporary kapahaka stage.

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 and is now responsible for Toihoukura’s Te Toi o Ngā Rangi: Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts degree and Level 4 Foundation Certificate. Koopu is also senior painting lecturer, a role which allows her to investigate art in a framework that encompasses all aspects of Te Ao Māori for students who may have little to no experience of a Māori worldview of art and its related protocols.

“Since childhood, art has played a major role in my life. It is my true passion and has been the motivation for my pursuit of higher education, and has shaped the pathway to my vocational choices.”

This will be Koopu’s first solo exhibition at the Tairāwhiti Museum. It will highlight her journey thus far - filled with the challenges beheld within her sightline and reinterpreted through her visual commentaries stamped with contemporary savvy.


Gisborne Artists' Society and Gisborne Potter's Exhibition

  2 June 2018 – 8 July 2018

Opening 5.30pm 1 June 2018

Untitled by Derek Solomon

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 on, but there is nothing like seeing the finished art works in a well curated exhibition.

Stars of the show this year will include Jamie Quirk and Peggy Ericson of the Gisborne Pottery Group, both artists produce highly original , thought provoking pieces.

It is always a pleasure to see Roger Shanks’ atmospheric landscapes, and to see what new approaches Graeme Nicoll is taking with his landscapes.
Janet Roderick has taken a break from oils and is becoming adept at using coloured pencils. Art society stalwart, Norman Maclean’s highly distinctive style and approach is always visually interesting and appealing to local art collectors.

The printmakers will be well represented too, look out for Ian McKelvey, a recent Molly Morpeth Award Winner and Amber Graham, an up-and-coming local artist who studies at Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

Artists enjoy producing art, but it is always gratifying when others view and appreciate the end product and even more gratifying when they decide to purchase a piece of original local art.

Chris Smith, President, Gisborne Artists’ Society




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 -