Te Aroha & District museum

Presenting the history of our town and district in ways that recognise and explain our shared past, as the foundation of our future

Our Aviation Story

An often unknown story about Te Aroha's Aero Club.  

Did you know that Jean Batten flew here in 1934?   She arrived with an escort of other planes and was welcomed by the Mayor at a civic reception at which over 600 people attended, such was her popularity.

Read about famous long-distance aviator Charles Kingsford-Smith, and also pilot Clarence Waite and his tragic accident during a mock 'dog fight' and the importance of "Goodfellow's Paddock" at Waihou.

Read more about this story on page 39 of
Coast and Country News

The Te Aroha and District Museum Society Inc presents the history of the district through thousands of artefacts and extensive displays of historic photos; early Maori relics; gold mining days; early settlers; business and development; the Domain; and the town's rich spa history through which the story of Te Aroha, the district and its people is told.

The Museum's home, for the last 53 years, is the Cadman Bath House sitting splendidly at the top of the Domain and along with the other buildings at its side it forms the only complete Edwardian Domain remaining in New Zealand.  The Bath House opened in 1898 and was the first building commissioned especially for tourists - Te Aroha is hailed as "the birth place of tourism in New Zealand". 

In 1971 the Te Aroha Mayor Henry Skidmore began the Museum.   From humble beginnings the Museum has grown to be a vibrant place of interest and is constantly developing both through extending its collection and methods of display.  The Museum is proud to showcase a great number of its artefacts, along with photographs and the stories behind the objects and people of Te Aroha and its surrounding districts.

"Taking the waters" is a wonderful DVD by author Kevin Wells which provides a fascinating history of the spa days and the Domain, narrated by actor Ian Harrop.  This DVD will take you on a journey of discovery and is available for viewing at any time at the Museum, it's a great place to start your visit.


Take our full immersion virtual reality tour here and get a flavour of what our Museum is all about.

"Excellent, really enjoyed it"

"So much information, wonderful"

"Awesome"  "Absolutely beautiful"

Recent comments from our visitors book


Volunteers have added to, created and refreshed many displays recently at the Museum, including: the Power display; the Hot Springs; Pioneer Days; Sporting Heroes; Spa History; Honouring our People; Waihou Village - and there are more new displays in development.