Taupo Museum is located on Story Place between the Domain and the Rose Gardens. It is open daily, except for Good Friday and Christmas Day, from 10am to 4.30pm. Adults are $5 and seniors and tertiary students are $3. Entry is free for children, Taupo residents and ratepayers.
When you enter the museum to the right are two art gallery rooms, the Main Art Gallery and the Niven Room, which have changing exhibitions. When I visited in December the Main Art Gallery was exhibiting work from senior students from Wanganui Glass School, and the Niven Room had a photography exhibition featuring the works of Peter Beazley, Adam Wallis, Jeremy Bright and Steve Sherburn.
In the foyer welcoming visitors to the museum is a wharenui, a traditional Māori meeting house. The meeting house is name Te Aroha o Rongoheikume, which means the love of Lucy Reid. The meeting house was carved by Tene Waitere between 1927 and 1928.
Te Aroha o Rongoheikume meeting house
After visiting the meeting house follow the museum around to the right to see a series of exhibitions on the Taupo area including displays on timber mills, trout fishing, and Taupo’s volcanic area.
Visitors can climb inside a New Zealand made Anglo Imp caravan, which has been decorated like a holiday caravan from the late 1950s and early 1960s.
The Busy Corner Store screens a 10 minute short film about the Taupo District and its history.
In the Tuwharetoa Gallery is a 14 metre long waka made from a Kauri log. It was found in 1967 in a bush in Opepe and is believed to be around 150 years old.
Outside in the courtyard is the 100% Pure New Zealand Ora – Garden of Wellbeing, which won a gold medal at 2004 Chelsea Flower Show. The garden opened at Museum Spring 2007 and the following year was accorded Garden of National Significance status.