Centennial Project

400x200 Centennial Project breaking ground

Rotorua Museum Centennial Trust

When the Bath House opened in 1908 the building was only partially constructed. As a result of funding shortages, the far end of the northern wing and most of the southern wing were not built.

Although it has always been considered one of New Zealand’s most iconic heritage buildings, significant features of the original plans were missing.

In 2006 the Rotorua Museum Centennial Trust was established to drive fundraising efforts for the completion of the Bath House building to its original design.

The development was broken into three phases and cost approximately $22 million dollars.

Stage I was completed in 2006 in which the north wing Viewing Platform reinstated. Originally this platform was in place when the building opened in 1908, however it was removed sometime in the late 1930s or 40s, probably for safety reasons.

400x200 Centennial project north wing construction

Stage II – Rotorua Trust Galleries

Stage II of the Rotorua Museum Centennial Project, the north wing extension, saw the construction of the Rotorua Trust Galleries, opened in November 2008. This phase added 187m² of high quality exhibition spaces adjacent to the existing 220m² north wing gallery.

The extension also included a major upgrade to the air conditioning system for the north wing galleries.

The additional display space and improved air conditioning enabled the Museum to develop larger in-house exhibitions as well as attract large, high quality touring exhibitions.

On 4 July 2008 Prime Minister and Minister for Art, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark announced a major grant to complete the final stage of the Rotorua Museum Centennial Project. Announced during her speech at the “Roof Shout” for the north wing extension (Stage II), the $7.5 million grant enabled the Rotorua Museum Centennial Trust to complete stage III of the project, the south wing extension and refurbishment.
400x200 Centennial Development

Stage III – Don Stafford Wing

The final and most significant phase of the Rotorua Museum Centennial Development began in May 2009 with a major extension to the south wing of the Bath House.

Stage III saw the building completed to the original footprint proposed by Dr Arthur Stanley Wohlmann in the early 1900s.

The south wing was named after Rotorua historian Don Stafford, acknowledging the important contribution he made to Rotorua Museum and to the wider Rotorua community.

Don Stafford was delighted to receive this honour but unfortunately passed away in April 2010 prior to the opening of the Don Stafford Wing in September 2011.

The South Wing now houses the long term exhibition Ngā Pūmanawa o Te Arawa – The Beating Hearts of Te Arawa which follows the dramatic journey of Te Arawa, from origins far across the Pacific Ocean to their lives in Rotorua today. A number of significant Te Arawa taonga, from institutions across New Zealand and around the world, are now on long term display in this exhibition. Some of the works are associated with prominent Te Arawa ancestors, others are representative of important events in Rotorua history.


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