New Zealand in your Pocket


Join Our Free eNewsletter

Join our newsletter and get the latest updates and news on our apps, services and opportunities.

Tawhiti Museum

Is this your listing?

» iStay
»» Heritage & Museums

Business Type: Unique enterprise

Price: 15


The Tawhiti Museum is a truly unique enterprise. The creation of artist Nigel Ogle, its attention to detail is simply stunning.

Address: 401 Ohangai Road, Hawera, New Zealand New Plymouth,Taranaki

Phone: view phone06 278 6837

Contact Name: Nigel & Teresa Ogle


E-mail: send an e-mail


Widely acclaimed as the best private museum in the country, the museum uses life size exhibits and scale models to present our heritage in a series of super realistic and engaging displays.

All these displays are designed and built on the premises in the 'Body Shop' and accompanying studios, which can be viewed as part of a museum visit.

Tawhiti Museum Displays

The museum is divided into a series of themed galleries, each using scale and life sized models as well as artifacts, photos and test. All these displays are designed and built in the museum's studios.

The smaller scale figurines are painstakingly sculpted in wax before a mould is made, allowing further copies to be cast.

Whether the subject is shipping, farming, railways of just a small corner of a colonial kitchen, the attention given to research and detail is the same. The settings and figures combine to create strong three-dimensional images of our past.

For Nigel the museum is "one big art project" An ex-art teacher, he now finds outlet for his talents constantly developing new displays for the museum.

"I hope my enthusiasm for local history comes through the displays. I'm particularly aware of drawing children into the displays - they mustn't feel museums are old buildings, full of old dusty junk. Historical display should be exciting and I'm always looking for more innovative ways of making it just that."

Traders and Whalers

Children under 14 years must be accompanined by a responsible adult.
Young children may find aspects of this attraction scary.
Guests must be ambulatory.
No photography of any sort is permitted in Traders & Whalers.
No flash photography is permitted in the museum

Museum History
In 1975 Nigel and Teresa Ogle bought the 70 year old Tawhiti Cheese factory.

As a child, Nigel had delivered milk to the factory with his father in their farm truck, but he could never have imagined that he would one day convert that same building into a museum.

What started out as a hobby and a small private collection, grew rapidly with public demand to become the focus of an impressive visual history of South Taranaki.

The museum uses life size exhibits and scale models to capture the past in a series of super-realistic displays. All the displays - including the life size figures created from moulds cast from real people - are designed and built on the premises. In fact the 'body shop' -   a series of three studios viewed as part of the museum visit - is Nigel's workshop where both scale model 'dioramas' and all the life size figures are built. Friends, relatives and local people have been coerced into allowing a casting to be made from their features - creating the very real images that have become a trademark of the Tawhiti Museum.
Now with seven separate tourism awards to it credit, the museum has become an important visitor attraction for South Taranaki as well as a valued educational facility.

Hours of work

Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday 10am - 4pm

Open every day from Boxing Day
to the end of January

June, July, August - Open Sundays only

By arrangement only.

Mr Badger's Cafe
Opens same days and hours as the museum.
Catering for large groups willingly arranged.

Tawhiti Bush Railway
The railway runs on the first Sunday of each month, Sundays during school holidays, and most public holidays, weather permitting.


401 Ohangai Road, Hawera, New Zealand

Photo Gallery

Tawhiti Museum

Click here for Slideshow. You can also click on any of the photos to start slideshow.


Map Location


Complete the form below to contact us.

Please enter the text you see in the image at the left into the textbox. This is required to prevent automated submission of contact requests.

*Verification Code image cannot be displayed