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, 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.

Art Gallery

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.

Science Centre

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.

Museum in a Box

Te Manawa recognises that visiting the museum isn’t always practical for everyone. The Museum in a Box programme was created to take the collection outside the museum’s walls, to make sure no-one misses out. Initially the programme focused on retirement homes for the elderly, but is now available to visit schools.

Each Box features items from the Te Manawa collection that match a theme from a time period or event, tailored to inspire curiosity or nostalgia in its audience. Current box themes include “hair care” and “the Queen’s visit, 1954”.

Going behind the scenes

In the 2017/18 year, Te Manawa hosted 43 back-of-house tours and collection-based talks. Interest in these events remains high, and guided tours for small groups can be arranged. Regular tours of our heritage buildings also take place; more information about those can be found here.