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, thereby strengthening the identity and memory of the communities of Manawatū, and enriching our community’s cultural life.
Te Manawa cares for taonga Māori in consultation with tangata whenua. Tikanga and kawa are practised when required, in conjunction with iwi guidance.
Te Manawa has long been committed to collecting work by significant New Zealand artists, with a particular interest in emerging artists, works by Māori and Polynesian artists and works that relate to Manawatū.
The core of the collection is recent New Zealand art (post-1960), with an especially 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.
Te Manawa maintains a collection of some 300 interactive exhibits, created for hands-on use in exhibitions and education programmes. The majority of these 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.