Opening Hours

Open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm, Saturday 10am to 2pm. Closed Sunday and Public Holidays.

Thank you for visiting.

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Opening hours

Open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm, Saturday 10am to 2pm. Closed Sunday and Public Holidays.

If you are able to, we would appreciate you wearing a mask when you enter the Museum spaces.

Kia atawhai – Be kind and stay safe

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Temporary closure

The museum display area will be closed from Thursday 19 August 2021 and re-opening Friday 27 August 2021.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you. If you need to contact staff please do so by email or phone 03 525 6268.

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Heritage Trip, 11 February

Waitui Goldfields Trip, Saturday 11 February

Our organised visit to the former Waitui goldfields in Upper Takaka on a perfect day was a huge success, with 45 adults and several children participating. They heard from Blue Horton, whose grandparents worked the small river for six years in the depression of the 1930s, and also from Dr Mike Johnston of Nelson, who explained some of the dramatic geological events that shaped the immediate landscape. Gold was first found in the Waitui in mid-1858, but no traces remain of the workings, because manual alluvial gold-mining is very low impact.

Nowadays the river powers a small hydro plant which drives the irrigation system, with any surplus being fed into the national grid.

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Newsletter, January 2017



 Abel Tasman 374 at the Museum, 18 December 2016



Yes, a naked whalery! At last, after 3 months, the safety fence has gone — and doesn’t it look good?  Just a small amount of finishing work inside and some initial landscaping work and then we’ll be able to  use it. That feels great!  The whale skeleton arrival and formal opening will take place in early January, and we’re grateful for the assistance of Manawhenua ki Mohua in preparing display information.



 PAST HISTORY … to remind us how far we’ve come!

The end of September brought some great news for our Whalery fundraising. Pub Charity donated the cost of the special UV-resistant glass ($3241), and TDC has covered the cost of the new decking ($1760), and is also going to do the landscaping. We’re very grateful.

Those two donations mean that ALL the basic construction costs are now covered. What a relief! Thank you everyone for your support. We are still gently fundraising to cover “extras” like information panels, and installing the skeleton itself, probabimg_3529-10-oct-largely in late December.  So, if you’d like to help with that part, we’d be very grateful. And yes, donations over $5 are still tax-deductible. 
Since the windows and doors went in, from the street it looks as if not much is happening. But inside, the wiring and insulation is in, and the gib-board is going up. So, just a bit of plastering and sanding, and some painting inside and out, but not long now until it’s handed over. It’s quite emotional after 2+ years of planning and fundraising. It’ll be great to let everyone enjoy it.

Thank you Golden Bay Community Board for your generous decision this week to grant a further $2000 to our Whalery project.  You gave us your vote of support (and $1000!) right at the start of our vision in July 2014. Now, at the end of your term, you’ve given us a wonderful boost as we head towards our target — just a $1500 gap to cover the essentials … it’s feeling a bit of a miracle.

Building progress has been great, too — here we are on 15 September, with the corrugated cladding going on!  And windows next Tuesday, maybe. It’s a real team effort.


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Our whalery — Is happening!

Friday 2 September–Amazing progress after just 4 weeks:

Topped off with roofing iron … and the colour matches!  The new, easier ramp is begun. So Spring is looking good as our new frontage becomes reality. We’ve had to commit to the special museum-grade glass for the windows, though we still need to raise the funds. Maybe you can help?  Our supporters are very special people. Thank you.

IMG_3424--roofing & ramp (Large)





Progress report, Friday 26 August–and we need your help, please!

UV glass--flier--rev 26 August--2on1--JPEG

It’s remarkable what’s happened in 9 days of work (just 1 day of rain). Installing the big steel framework yesterday has made a huge difference — we can really see what it’s going to look like — dramatic!   Click on the images to enlarge them.

But we still need to find over $3,000 to do the UV-resistant glass — please help if you can.  CLICK HERE for details

IMG_3382--19 Aug--steel arrives (Large)IMG_3397 (Large)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How exciting — we have action, on Monday 8 June 2016, and it’s a lovely sunny day. Here’s to the Whalery.  Digger Day (Thursday) is the first step towards the new ramp, and easier access.

And, yes, we still have a bit of fundraising to do. We need to make sure that the glass in those new windows is UV resistant. CLICK HERE for details


Digger Day — Thursday 11 August


Monday 8 August--the story begins

Monday 8 August–a new chapter in our story

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Winner! Ray White Colouring-in & Story Competition

Thanks, Billy Kerrisk and your team for running the colouring-in and story-telling competition for local primary school students — it was such fun reading and looking at them all.  And we were thrilled to receive over $100 towards our whalery  fund from the entry fees (thanks, Billy and all the entrants)

Lief of Motupipi School won the big prize of an iPad Mini— Congratulations, Lief.  Here’s your entry for EVERYONE to enjoy:LIEF WINNER--drawing--smaller (Large)

LIEF WINNER--story p1 (Large)

LIEF WINNER--story p2 (Large)

LIEF WINNER--story p3 (Large)

LIEF WINNER--story p4 (Large)

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Museum Board News

At the AGM on 26 June, members of the museum society re-appointed seven Board members and appointed one new member. The 8 Board members for the 2016/17 year are:  Clive Bird, Geoff Rennison, Jenny Treloar, Leigh Gamby, Pat Ballard, Penny Griffith, Robin Manson, Robin Riley. A Tasman District Council (TDC) representative will be named following the local government elections in October.

When the new Board held its first meeting on 13 July they re-elected Penny Griffith as Chairperson (and Acting Treasurer) and Pat Ballard as Secretary.

Mail--15 July 2106--re grandstand supportOne of the major items on the agenda was whether the Board had a view on the retention of the Grandstand at the showgrounds, which has become a vigorous community debate following the council’s decision to demolish it. With two abstentions, the Board decided to write to TDC saying they are in favour of the Grandstand being retained.  The letter was presented to a TDC committee meeting on 14 July, being written up in the Nelson Mail:



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Hot News — Whalery Getting Underway!

Whalery Contract:  We’re really excited that a contract to start work has been signed with Steve Chamberlain, a local builder. Our council (which owns the building) will be the project manager and we’re expecting to have it all ready by next summer. Hooray!

What about the funding?  Well, a generous local person has made a personal loan to the museum to cover the gap … and we will need to pay that back by the end of October. So we still need to ask for everyone’s help in raising the final $4,000. (Yes, just $4,000) Please help us if you can…

HOW TO DONATE? Scroll down for the Give-a-Little hotlink … or click HERE for all the options.

… and CLICK HERE to read our latest newsletter (May 2016)

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Our Whalery donation box is still open!

Yes, you can still donate to our Whalery project through Give-a-Little!

Our whalery  “cause” page closed on 30 April, but we still need to raise $5,000 to cover the building costs. So, all donations to our general page (unless you indicate otherwise) will go into that fund … we’re very close to our goal now — Hooray!  And check out the YouTube video–CLICK HERE . (You can also “Like” us on Facebook)

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