Aotea Utanganui’s mission is to create a bold schedule of professional, informative and attractive exhibitions for the public to enjoy.  The exhibitions celebrate the rich history and culture of South Taranaki and the pride that people feel in their district.  These exhibitions are predominantly internally-curated exhibitions from our heritage collections and these have been supplemented with touring exhibitions loaned from other cultural institutions.  We curate two large temporary exhibitions each year for a duration of six months at a time.  We have received funding from the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) for five major exhibition projects including Port-able: a History of Shipping in South Taranaki , Eltham and Beyond, Across the Centreline, The Wonder Gardens, and Our Milky Ways.  We also curate another 3-4 smaller exhibitions in our Livingston Baker Archive & Reading Room.

Current Exhibition

Our Milky Ways: a short history of dairying in South Taranaki                            

Aotea Utanganui Museum of South Taranaki is launching a new exhibition exploring the history and creation of the dairy industry in Taranaki through its unique collection items. From its pioneering beginnings to its domination on the world-stage; this exhibition showcases items from our collections and the unique stories behind them. 

Although nationally there’s about 1 dairy cow for every New Zealander, in South Taranaki where we’ve long been famous for our milky ways, it’s more like 11 sets of hooves to 1 pair of gumboots.

In this new exhibition, these objects selected by museum staff and the community tell tales of the men and women, bulls and heifers that have helped create a farming history unique to our part of the world.  Lead research content was provided by Bettina Anderson from Pūkekoblue Science Communication Ltd.

This exhibition has been funded by the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC).

DECEMBER 2017 – MAY 2018    




Pākaitore – It_s not black and white - Hero Image

Pākaitore – It’s not black and white

A photographic essay by Leigh Mitchell-Anyon of the 1995 occupation of Pākaitore-Moutoa Gardens, Whanganui

In 1995 Whanganui iwi, supported by many other local people, other iwi and international travellers, occupied Pākaitore, also known as Moutoa Gardens, in Whanganui.  This action highlighted the Whanganui Iwi Treaty of Waitangi Claim for the Whanganui River, which had been before all levels of the courts since 1886. The occupation was reported on the front pages of every newspaper in the country as well as around the globe.  Opinion was deeply divided in Whanganui and the leaders of the occupation were widely criticised.

What was the occupation all about? Why was it so controversial?  And where has it led to?  In 1995 photographer Leigh Mitchell-Anyon created a large photo essay of the occupation.  This exhibition, with images selected by iwi leaders, marked the 20th anniversary of the occupation and the progress of Whanganui tino rangatiratanga (absolute sovereignty).

The show was funded through the work of the Pākaitore Oral History Project Committee, which worked closely with the Whanganui Regional Museum in developing the exhibition.  This exhibition is on loan courtesy of the Whanganui Regional Museum.


NOVEMBER 2017 – FEBRUARY 2018                         

Livingston Baker Archive & Reading Room