We champion Waipā’s History by sharing powerful and relevant stories with experiences that captivate, transform and build connectedness within our community and nation.

Te Awamutu Museum is Waikato’s first museum.

It grew from the private collection of Gavin Gifford, first sited in a room above Gifford’s bookshop in the main street of Te Awamutu. In 1935 the collection was gifted to the Te Awamutu Historical Society and formally became the Gavin Gifford Memorial Museum. The aims of the Society were to establish and develop a Museum in Te Awamutu that would collect and display objects of historical value to the district.

The first purpose built museum was erected in 1954 near the current Anzac Green. This was the result of joint fundraising efforts by the Society, Te Awamutu Jaycees and Te Awamutu Borough Council. As the Museum grew it became clear that a dedicated team was needed to manage the business, so on 9 May 1987 the Te Awamutu and District Museum Trust Board was formally Incorporated to manage the operation of the Museum. Ownership of the collection transferred from the Society to the newly established Trust Board.

Negotiations with Waipa District Council in 2005 resulted in the transfer of operational responsibility from the Museum Trust Board to Council.


Te Awamutu Museum today

Today the Museum is managed by a small team of staff who are employed within the Customer and Community Facilities Group of Waipā District Council. Ownership of the collection remains in community hands under the auspices of the Te Awamutu Museum Trust Board.

As well as a vibrant exhibitions and public events calendar, the Museum runs a LEOTC (Learning Experiences Outside The Classroom) programme for over 4000 children a year. We also provide research services to anyone wishing to access heritage information held in the collections.

To be relevant to our diverse community by;

  • Finding practical ways to involve our community in what we do
  • Exhibiting relevant objects and telling powerful stories
  • Ensuring our collection represents who we are, where we have been and informs our future
  • Stimulating curiosity, engagement and learning through our programmes, exhibitions and services.
  • We value and honour relationships with whānau hapū iwi and recognise tangata whenua as cultural partners
  • We are passionate about history, culture and arts
  • We embody integrity, ethical practices and accountability
  • We are welcoming, accessible and collaborative
  • We are resourceful, creative and open to new ideas
Gavin Gifford (1936-1949)
William Tucker (1956-1967)
Mrs A. Williams (1967-1970)
Mrs A. J. Evans (1971-1977)
Mrs N. Cleal (1977-1980)
Mrs J. Harihari (1980)
Jim Mandeno (1980-1987)
Toni Mitchell (1981-1992)
Kelvin Day (1987-1989)
Jennifer Evans (1989-1994)
Cherie Meecham (1992-1994)
David Woodings (1994-1999)
Alexi Simmons (1999-2000)
Debra Kane (various terms Acting 1999-2006)
Tracy Puklowski (2000-2002)
Roy Gould (2002-2003)
Toni Fortune (Acting 2006)
Stephanie Lambert (Acting 2006)
Sharon Toi (Interim 2007)
Jan White (2008-2011)