• The mummified cat from Tarawera eruption, found at Wairoa 1901 by C. Crowther, Rotorua

    The mystery of the Tarawera cats

    Friday, 8 June 2018

    Many people will remember the dried remains of a cat which had been displayed in Rotorua Museum in recent years. In fact it has been described as one of the museum’s most popular exhibits. Here is the story of the three Tarawera cats that were included in the Tarawera eruption…

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  • The Fenton Agreement 1880-2030

    Friday, 24 November 2017

    1980 was a busy year for the City of Rotorua. It was the year that the city chose to celebrate its founding on 25 November 1880. The year-long centennial celebration kicked off in style in November 1979 when the Morrison Quartet briefly reunited for a special concert at the Rotorua…

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  • How to Build a Bath House: designing and building the Rotorua Bath House 1902-1908

    Sunday, 13 August 2017

    The grand old bathhouse presides over the Government Gardens; its central tower rises out of the ground with its wings outstretched to embrace the surrounding landscape. 109 years ago the designers and architects of the Rotorua Bath House could not have foreseen the extent of discussion, debate and changes to…

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  • Rotorua Museum Art Awards 2017: Entries Closing Soon

    Thursday, 27 July 2017

    Have you got your entry in for the Rotorua Museum Art Awards? Applications close on 11 August so you’d better be in quick. And to help you find some creative inspiration, we’re taking a look back at some of the winning works from our collection. After a 10 year hiatus,…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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