• A mystery photographer on the Rotorua tour

    Tuesday, 18 July 2017

    Rotorua Museum has a collection of about 40 glass plate negatives all taken by an unidentified photographer between January and March 1912. They show groups of tourists, all in their heavy Edwardian clothing in the summer heat. Some are standing on Hinemoa’s Steps taking in the sights of Okere Falls, or…


  • Big Red – New Zealand’s endangered Pōhutukawa

    Tuesday, 4 July 2017

    In 2003 Rotorua Museum opened their exhibition called Big Red – celebrating the pōhutukawa. It marked 11 years of Project Crimson, a community-based project to save the endangered tree. Back then the main dangers for the pōhutukawa were possums and humans. Today Project Crimson is 27 years old, and there…


  • Māori All Blacks: Looking Back at One of Our Own

    Thursday, 15 June 2017

    Rotorua is home to a number of Māori All Black greats. With the 2017 Māori All Black squad in town, we thought we would look back at one of our own: Hector Archibald Steele (1915-1990).Hector, known as Heke, was the youngest son of Duncan and Ngaroma Steele who both came…


  • Tarawera Sausages

    Saturday, 10 June 2017

    The Tarawera eruption On 10 June 1886 at about 2am an eruption of great magnitude occurred in the Rotorua region. It was Mount Tarawera, just 24km from the town. The eruption lasted 6 hours and consisted of lightning, earthquakes and molten rocks which were thrown into the air along with…


  • Le Vaiaso o le Gagana Samoa – Samoan Language Week 2017

    Sunday, 28 May 2017

    Talofa Lava! We are very excited to launch our new blog which kicks off by celebrating Pacific Island Language Weeks 2017. Over the course of each Pacific Island language week, we will share some of our newfound knowledge, engage directly with our Pacific communities to share treasures from the Museum’s…


  • Norma Evans (1927 – 2017) – loss of a true Rotorua icon

    Wednesday, 19 April 2017

    It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Norma Evans (1927-2017) – the loss of a true Rotorua icon. Born in Invercargill on 27 May 1927, Norma Mae Jackson was brought up in Kurow, Central Otago, in a family steeped in the ‘making-do’ tradition. Her mother and…


  • Melvin Vaniman’s Rotorua adventure

    Monday, 16 January 2017

    Melvin Vaniman was an American photographer with a tendency towards thrill seeking and risk taking. Under an agreement with the Oceanic Steamship Company, in 1902 – 1903 he travelled to various countries including New Zealand. During this time he came to Rotorua where he took some photographs which are held…


  • Featured Collection Item – WWI Victory Medal Awarded to Ohinemutu man

    Thursday, 10 November 2016

    When the Rotorua RSA closed its doors in 2015, there were real fears many items in the collection would end up outside Rotorua or worse yet, outside the country. RECT to the Rescue Thanks to Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust (RECT) three hundred pieces of valuable memorabilia will now stay in…


  • Featured Collection Item – Jean Batten ‘Hine-o-te-Rangi’

    Friday, 14 October 2016

    Jean Batten was and remains New Zealand’s greatest aviator. Famous the world over for her heroic solo flights, she garnered many names ‘the Garbo of the skies’ and in closer reference to home ‘Hine o te Rangi’ ‘daughter of the skies’. A life of public fame and adoration followed by…


  • Featured Collection Item – Viking ship as gift from US Navy fleet visit 1925

    Friday, 12 August 2016

    US Navy fleets have tended to feature quite strongly in the life and history of the Rotorua bathouse building. Bath House building opens It began with the buildings opening, 13 August 1908 by US Rear Admiral Sperry during his fleet’s visit to New Zealand. It would be another 17 years…


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