This gallery was named after one of the first members of the TAHS (Te Awamutu Historical Society) – Mr. Gavin Gifford. He gifted not only his collection to the new Museum, but also the use of his rooms as the first Museum space. The date, 6th February 1935, making the Te Awamutu Historical Society the first to create a Museum in the Waikato. From those humble beginnings, the Museum has transformed over the decades to what we have today. This gallery pays homage to the legacy gifted by Gavin Gifford.

The Gavin Gifford Gallery is a long-term gallery used for all types of displays, internally and externally developed and touring exhibitions.

Puāwai – “Poipoia te kakano, kia puāwai”

Welcome to Puāwai – an engaging creative studio workshop environment where audiences participate in various creative acuities and art development practice with an artist’s creative space.

Oriwa Morgan-Ward is a Māori artist who has been working with the Te Awamutu Museum for a number of years as an arts practitioner presenting educational programs, and arts workshops to all Museum visitors of all ages.

Within the gallery environment, there are spaces within spaces that are specific to activity which can then be moved to allow for full participation in hands on creativity. Puāwai is Oriwa’s way of showcasing her next stage of creative development as a Māori arts practitioner and the Museum is so excited to support her in her endeavours through the intricate design of the space that allows for interchangeability and flexibility.

Artist Creative Educator

“Kia ora, Ko Oriwa ahau. I help people tap into their creativity through the essence of my language te reo Māori and with mind, body, wellness practices. With my cultural and traditional values of aroha, manaaki, and kaititakitanga, my mission is to awaken the creative genius in others and encourage all that is positive.

Whakaoho i te tama i roto

Whakaoho i te hine i roto

Awaken the masculine and feminine within

Education Space

Based on mātauranga Māori and cultural traditions, the education space is where the audience becomes participants.

Since graduating with a Bachelor in Māori Art, Oriwa has been creating and presenting educational programs for tamāriki and adults within the Museum space, creative and community organisations with great success.

As a descendant of Maniapoto, I feel honoured to work in the Te Whare Taonga o Te Awamutu alongside her tupuna taonga, ‘Uenuku’, reviving traditional Māori games, sharing her creative practice and encouraging the use of te reo Māori with everyone.

Podcast & Youtube Space

Part of Owira’s creative development led her to embrace technology in two digital forums – a Youtube channel and Pod Casting. She will be exploring these two types of social media within Puāwai. For the podcast Oriwa will collaborate with her son Sydney (based in USA), on a series about how they support and inspire each other within their different mediums and media.

The Youtube channel series will involve inviting local artists to come in and kōrero about life, art, music, hot topics, and current affairs that inspire them to live a creative life and ultimately what inspires you.


Editing Suite

The editing suite is a space set up as a workstation for Toi Oriwa Creative to edit podcast and youtube content.

A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device or it can be made into an online list. It can be a series about a particular topic where conversations can take place between the host and invited guests, hear the latest audio books, learn a language or hear music. The possibilities to podcasting are endless.

The editing suite will give the audience to see how Oriwa works and how she engages with her invited guests.

The Museum is excited to participate in this new way of exhibition and working studio environment. Nau mai, haere mai!

Puāwai is open from July – mid October 2021

He Marangai ki te Whenua

An exhibition by Karangawai Marsh of abstract kōwhaiwhai aho paintings informed by Māori language that reflects a concept describing language immersion and the intimate relationships shared between mātua (parent) and tama riki (children).

Karangawai Marsh is a senior tutor of Te Toioho ki Āpiti (Māori Visual Arts), Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa, Massey University, a Māori language tutor and well known artist. Founder of Toi Inc and kaiwhakahaere of RaRau Mai (Māori language, whānau arts initiative), Tuku te Toi (annual marae arts project) as well as Ora te Toi (annual art exhibition project).

For the past 20 years, Karangawai has been an active member of Te Ataarangi and 3rd generation kaiak of the Te Ataarangi method. She holds a Masters of Te Toioho ki Āpiti (Māori Visual Arts) and is currently preparing her confirmation report for PhD with Toi Inc being the research focus. The proposed exhibition will be the first of four exhibition supporting Karangawai’s PhD research.

Exhibition Concept

“Kotahi kapua i te rangi, he marangai ki te whenua – One cloud from the heavens brings rain to the lands”

This is a whakataukī employed by Te Ataarangi describing and motivating their efforts as a community-based Māori language revitalisation initiative. Although the arduous efforts over the past 40 years have been carried out by a small few (kotahi kapua) the efforts have been beneficial to the survival of the language (he marangai ki te whenua). ‘He marangai ki te whenua’ will be the first of a series of four exhibitions over a four-year period committed to promoting language use and the inter-generational transmission of te reo Māori through art. All four exhibitions will be informed by art activities delivered by RaRau Mai, a community focused, Māori immersion arts initiative delivered in Palmerston North and Te Awamutu, online for whānau within the Rangitāne ki Manawatū and Ngāti Raukawa ki te tonga region.

Proposed Works

In preparation for the exhibition in October, Karangawai will be creating a series of abstract kōwhaiwhai aho paintings informed by Māori language kōwhaiwhai tutorials create for RaRau Mai. The paintings will demonstrate systems of symmetry and asymmetry through aho descending from the paintings to the gallery floor. The medium and process will reflect toutou tahi, a concept describing language immersion and the intimate relationships shared between mātua and tamariki, kaumātua and mokopuna.

The colours employed will commemorate and celebrate the efforts of Te Artaarangi and as a leading example of language revitalisation initiatives. The labels and descriptions will be written in te reo Māori in the attempt to normalise te reo Māori in a predominantly non-Māori domain.

He Marangai ki te Whenua opens 28th October 2021 and runs til 20th March 2022!