Front Porch Taniwha

Front Porch Taniwha


Celebrate Māori Myths & Legends with Taniwha, your Tui & Tama Club mascot friend!

For the month of October we are excited to display three local myths and legends in the form of graphic novels on the Front Porch Gallery at the Te Awamutu Museum – Education & Research Centre.

Do you know what a myth or legend is? 

A myth or legend is a story passed on through the generations. It can be based in fact or it can be left up to our imagination whether it is true. In the Waipā district, we have myths about taniwha that live in the rivers, guardians of the forest and shape changers who can take the form of birds.

These particular pūrākau stories are presented in the form of graphic novels – similar to comic books, using imagery to reveal the plot and identify unique things in te ao marama – our understanding. Local to mana whenua in the Waipā, these pūrākau stories are for all of us to enjoy.

To celebrate this exhibition for the month of October there will be creative activities associated with mythical creatures like taniwha!

On display from 30th September – 31st October 2023!

Te Hokioi Exhibit

Te Hokioi Exhibit


Celebrate Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori Month with Huhu, your Tui & Tama Club mascot friend!

For the month of September we are excited to display information on one of our significant objects in the collection – Te Hokioi the Printing Press, in celebration of Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori month at the Te Awamutu Museum – Education & Research Centre.

The printing press Te Hokioi has an incredible story that spans over 200 years, a journey that took nearly 1800kms, crossing more than three seas and two oceans, and was used by Māori as a way to publish propaganda about the crown’s intention within Aotearoa New Zealand in te reo Māori before the Waikato Wars 1863!

It is a local story with connections to the Emperor of Austria, Franz Josef. Two Māori men took on an adventure that would ultimately undertake vocational training in the print industry and merge into European society. However the legacy of the printing press that was gifted to the two men, took on another perspective as it was welcomed into the heart of the Kīngitanga. The press quickly became a weapon utilised by Māori as a way to publish their opinions on how the crown was making headway into colonising the upper part of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The publication – Te Hokioi e Rere Atu Na (The Soaring War Bird) soon became an outlet for Māori to voice their opposition of crown forces making moves around the Waikato.

This small display focuses on the publication – who were the main players, what was it used for, and how it started a movement in Māori media to this day!

To celebrate this story for the month of September there will be creative activities involving – learn how to create a print using our specially hand-made printing press and how to design your own mono print!

On display from 1st – 3oth September 2023!

Family History Month

Family History Month



For the month of August we have activities, exhibitions and crafty arty workshops supporting whakawhanaungatanga – relationship connections with family. To support our community to start, refresh or research family connections we have a FREE Ancestry Library subscription available for visitors to use at the Te Awamutu Museum – Education & Research Centre at 55 Rickit Road, Te Awamutu.

When you first delve into, the world’s largest subscription collection of genealogy databases, it can be a bit mind-boggling. After all, encompasses thousands of collections with more than 30 billion historical records at last count. Subscribers can access all available US census records, from 1790 through to 1950 census, along with many Canadian, English and Welsh enumerations.

In addition, the centre is offering a FREE self scanning archival digitisation service. Researchers. avid historians, or collectors can book in time to use an overhead and flatbed scanner. The overhead scanner is great for hand written diaries, scapbooks and legal documents, whilst the flatbed scanner can digitise film negatives, slides and letters.

During the month of August centre staff are offering one-on-one overview on how to use Ancestry and give you a few tips on what you can achieve with your research. These one hour slots are bookable on Tuesday or Thursday between 10am-12pm by either phoning the centre on 07 872 0085 or emailing Please book quickly as these bookings will fill up.

Don’t worry, these two amazing FREE services will continue as long as the community uses it.

Matariki 2023

Matariki 2023


Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in the east midwinter and heralds in the start of Te Tau Hou, the Māori New Year!

Iwi across Aotearoa understand and celebrate Matariki in their special ways, for example some iwi acknowledge seven and some nine stars. Every iwi is unique in its rituals, ceremonies and celebrations. The things we do similarly around the time of Matariki is to prepare mara kai, plant trees, share kai, and be together to remember loved ones passed. 

In 2022, Matariki became an official public holiday in Aotearoa. Te Sure mō te Hararei Tūmatanui o te Kāhui o Matariki 2022 – Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Act 2022 came into effect in April 2022. It is the first public holiday in Aotearoa to recognise te ao Māori!

Mānawatia a Matariki website was launched to share kōrero about this special time, events happening nationally, stories, news and resources. It’s a great place to get started on how to celebrate Matariki. The theme for 2023 is ‘Matariki Kāinga Hokia – Matariki calls you home. It is encouraged to return to your whānau and their people, wherever and whoever that might be to journey back home and celebrate, feast and be with whānau and friends.

It is also underpinned with an important environmental message – re-connect with your maunga, awa, moana and whenua. It is our responsibility to take care of the places we all call home.

Here in the Waikato most iwi acknowledge seven stars – Matariki, Waitī, Waitā, Waipun-a-rangi, Tupuānuku and Ururangi. Each has their own specific attribute:

Matariki – signifies reflection, hope, our connection to te taiao the environment. It highlights the health and well-being of us all.

Waitī – associated with all freshwater like awa, roto, puna, etc and the kai sources that are sustained by them.

Waitā – associated with te moananui-a-kiwa the ocean and the food sources within it.

Waipuna-ā-rangi – the tear of Rangi – the rain.

Tupuānuku – connects us with mara kai – everything that is grown in the soil to be harvested or gathered.

Ururangi – connects us to the winds.

Come on in and learn more about our special Aotearoa holiday coming up 14th July 2023!

Click here to go to the Mānawatia instagram

Click here to go to the Matariki ki Waikato website



Rangiaowhia, a small journey east of Te Awamutu, was a thriving and productive village, until 1864. From the 1830s Māori and invited European settlers worked collaboratively to develop this into one of the regions most important agricultural areas. One of the most significant relationships that nurtured property for both Māori and settlers was between Rahapa Te Hauata and Thomas Power.

This exhibition shares personal whānau accounts about life in Rangiaowhia during 1800s up until the British Invasion into the Waikato 1864. It also highlights letters sent by Thomas Power and Rahapa to Governor Grey 1865, expressing dismay at the soldiers treatment of the locales and compensation. A powerful story which whānau members today have instilled in their memories.

The following is an extract from one of the exhibition panels about Thomas Power, set down by his son-in-law Thomas Moisley in 1938:

“In 1845 Sir George Grey sent Mr T Power to instruct the natives in agriculture and he made Rangiaowhia his headquarters. He brought down from Auckland horses, drays and ploughs, harrows and cows. The first of these any sorts of implements in the Waikato. They used to bring goods up the Waipa River as far as the pun then up the pun River as far as what was the Ford Redoubt in the later years. 

Each settlement around Rangiaowhia and Pukeatua at that time was divided by a row of peach trees to mark their boundaries. That is how Rangiaowhia got such a name for peaches which were very luxurious in those days.”

This photograph of Rahapa is a copy from an original Tin-type, also known as Ferro-type. The photograph is made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with dark lacquer or enamel – which holds the photographic emulsion. This type of photograph was popular during 1860s-1870s.

New Zealand Land Wars

New Zealand Land Wars

“E hoa! Ka whahwai tonu mātou, mō Ake, Ake Ake!”

When called upon to surrender by the British Troops at Ō-rākau Pā in 1864, Rewi Maniapoto uttered those famous words translated into English – “Friend! We will fight on for ever and ever!”  Ō-rākau Pā was sacked 2nd April 1864, the last of a trail of battles littered across the Waipā district between February – April 1864 by British soldiers. These events at Ō-rākau were largely unknown until a monument was erected at the Pā site in 1914 for Māori heroism, 50 years after the siege. Since then the most prominent memorial event was held in the Waipā at Ō-rākau in 2014, 150 years after the sacking of the pā. Local and national interest grew to ensure local history be included in the education curriculum. In 2017, students from the Ōtorohanga High School, sought through a public petition, to have local history taught in schools with the main aim to create a day of remembrance of the New Zealand Land Wars.

On the Front Porch Gallery this month highlights He Rā Maumahara: National commemoration of the New Zealand Land Wars. The flag created to highlight this event in the Waipā reminds locals and visitors of this incredible time in history. On show are projected images of the graphic novel as seen on Te Ara Wai Journeys, archival photographs and objects from the Museum collection pertaining to the 1863-1864 Waikato Wars. In the display case is a map and ephemera from past commemorations held at Ō-rākau.

For more information on He Rā Maumahara, and Waikato Wars click the links below:

New Zealand Government

NZ History online

Te Ara Wai Journeys

Front Porch Gallery

October 2022