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

From China to Te Aroha

Wong Foo is the main subject of this fascinating display.  He arrived in 1908 and eventually established a market garden in the Te Aroha district.

Here, Wong Foo stands proudly by his Model T Ford which he drove very slowly so local children could keep up with him - and often got a free apple!

The story of Wong Foo and his descendants has been carefully and sensitively researched.  The display provides a rich insight into the relationship Wong Foo and his family had with local people and a glimpse into the struggles early settlers faced with equity and racial prejudice. 

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.

"A lovely gem to explore"

From a couple visiting from Canada in January


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 - and there are more new displays in development.