Te Pokohiwi – The Wairau Bar 1250 AD

Wairau Bar ExhibitionThis exhibition focuses on the most significant recent discoveries about the people of Aotearoa - New Zealand. This is a land mark exhibition about the understanding of the people of our land, and their origins in East Polynesia.

The Wairau Bar is a most significant site in the archaeology of Marlborough, and also the Pacific. It is the place where the ancestors of Maori today rest. These are the earliest known graves in the country. The guardians of the site are Rangitane iwi. Due to the foresight of Rangitane, and their work with archaeologists and scientists, we have had an explosion of information in recent years. These insights are shared in this exhibition.

At least four graves on the Bar belong to the first generation of Polynesian settlers.The latest scientific work has proven that these people were once children in East Polynesia. While current DNA research will hold the key to their exact origins, this new permanent exhibition summarises the key points that are relevant today in understanding our origins, and daily life in the 13th C.

Brilliant exhibition design, with clear information, and fascinating artefacts will inspire you!

The Wine Exhibition

wineimages9_sml.jpgThe Wine Exhibition is a permanent exhibition, showcasing the history of wine and viticulture in Marlborough.

Exhibits include iconic, old, rare, and unusual wines, interesting viticulture and winemaking equipment, educational audio visuals, interactive displays, oral histories, memorabilia, photos, stories, and wine company histories.

There is plenty to entertain and educate the visitor including:

A wine bottle shaped oral history centre where visitors can listen to industry pioneers, such as Jane Hunter and Gerry Gregg, tell their story.

An Environment display that shows soil profiles of the region that match Sauvignon Blanc flavours.

A Cultivars Wall showing differences in cultivars and wines made from them. A technology section that highlights innovation and kiwi ingenuity: a home made wine bottle labelling machine, corkers, tipping tanks, leaf plucker, and wine pumps.

A Contemporary Change wall, that demonstrates how the face ofMarlborough has changed through the years.

A Decades Wall showcasing ‘society and wine’ through the years, from the 1800’s.

Displays showcasing twenty four individual wine companies, who sponsor the exhibition.

The Victorian Rooms

Our Victorian Rooms showcase collections in the context of a nineteenth century replica bedroom, sitting room, and kitchen. Each room provides a fascinating insight into the function of the Victorian home. The rooms relate to different types of homes showing how European settler families lived over 100 years ago.

Other displays relate to: The Wairau Affray

Wild Things - Marlborough Natural History set in a Colonial Naturalist's Study

A great introduction to Marlborough plants, birds, fossils and crystals. Set in a Victorian naturalist's study, inspired by Sir David Monro. Check out our drawers!

For more information view this pdf


Fran Maguire Domestic Goddess 6o Bowls and Cups

This exhibition includes an amazing reference collection of work from a 20 year period recently donated by Fran Maguire. In addition we have added a number of works by Fran from our collection. The range of creative concepts and technical achievement has been amazing our visitors!



A mind boggling selection of items unique to New Zealand, especially from the early to mid-twentieth century. Our exhibition includes pop culture, toys, food brands and souvenirs with a touch of kitsch!


The exhibition includes Tiki from our collection and our local community, including notable early example from before 1850, on until March 2021.

Anyone who would like us to display an image of themselves wearing their tiki would be most welcome to email us with a high resolution file (about 1 MB) that we can print and add to our display. We would you to include a sentence about what wearing this tiki means to you. Please email images to