Ngā Taonga

Te Manawa has a mission to 'present, preserve, and make accessible collections of art, science and heritage'

The collections at Te Manawa number around 55,000 items, and include artworks, interactive science exhibits, taonga, heritage objects and natural history specimens. By maintaining these collections, Te Manawa seeks to preserve the region’s heritage, enrich the cultural life of our community and support and explain scientific endeavour. Items in the permanent collection are considered to be of such significance that they should be maintained and preserved for the future. They are therefore cared for, documented, conserved and housed to accepted professional museum and art gallery standards.


Te Manawa encourages public access to its collections, providing the safety of the collections is not compromised and subject to any information restrictions. Guided tours for small groups can be arranged.


Te Manawa is always seeking new items to maintain the relevance and significance of its existing collections. However, objects will only be added to the permanent collection if they conform to the Collection Policy.


The primary purpose of the museum collection is to preserve the region’s heritage, thereby strengthening the identity and memory of the communities of Manawatū. Te Manawa also has a special responsibility to care for sacred objects. The permanent collection includes the following areas:

Māori- Te Manawa undertakes to care for taonga Māori in consultation with tangata whenua. Tikanga and kawa are practised when required, in conjunction with iwi guidance.

Art Gallery

Te Manawa is committed to collecting work by New Zealand artists who have been or who are important to the development of New Zealand art. Te Manawa has a particular interest in developing its collection with regard to emerging artists, works by Māori and Polynesian artists and works that relate to the Manawatū

The core of the collection is recent New Zealand art (post-1960), with a particularly strong representation of 1970s work. The range of media in the collection is wide and includes installation art, artists’ books, ceramics, sculpture, photographs, prints and painting.

Science Centre

Te Manawa maintains a collection of some 300 interactive exhibits that have been created for hands-on use in exhibitions and education programmes. The majority of interactive exhibits explore science and technology themes such as electricity, colour, communication, time, human biology and aspects of natural history. New exhibits are continually being created and added to the collection.