Tauranga Heritage Collection

About the Collection

The Tauranga Heritage Collection includes objects of national importance and items of lasting significance to individuals, families, hapu, iwi and the community at large.

The collection exists due to the dedication of volunteers, local groups and individuals who have contributed possessions and time in the hope of preserving the cultural heritage of the Western Bay of Plenty. It has a strong focus on Maori Taonga spanning a period of approximately 800 years and European settlement between 1880 and the 1930.

The Heritage Collection was created by the Tauranga Historical Society in 1969 when it called for objects from its members and the community to establish a Museum. Premises in Hamilton Street were provided by the Tauranga City Council to display collected items. One of the first and largest acquisitions made by the Society was Charlie Haua’s blacksmith shop and contents. Donors recorded in the early pages of the register include, V. MacMillan, E. Brain, P. & W. Jensen, W. Cross, P. Delamere, D. Maxwell and A. Faulkner.

At the Tauranga Historic Village and District Museum the collection grew rapidly and to a size of comparative national scale with over 30 000 items. In 1973 the Bay of Plenty Times wrote, “it is Mr Nicholls’s ability to relieve people, groups or firms of their precious artifacts, elderly machines, ancient clothing, furniture or anything else "pioneerish" for which he is best known…Mr Nicholls has ranged far, gathering everything from whalebone corsets to much of the equipment from the last steam powered timber mill in the Bay of Plenty. Much of the pioneer gear needed to reconstruct a pioneer village was donated directly through the influence of the Museum committee chairman’.

After the closure of the Historic Village in 1998, some collection items were deaccessioned and the remainder was placed in storage. Passive collecting continued with a focus on local heritage that comprehensively represents the natural and cultural history of the region. Further research is still required in order to achieve a complete picture of the extent and significance of the Tauranga Heritage Collection.



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