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

New Display
The Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902
In the 1890's many settled New Zealanders still had strong emotional ties to Britain.  Britain, looking to expand her Empire, had her sights on African colonies and on 14 October 1899 war was declared when the British forces moved into Natal.  Soldiers from here, including Te Aroha, responded to the call for action.

The New Zealand contingent soon stood out as something special, with abilities and characteristics that set them apart from other nations.  It fostered a feeling of being New Zealanders first and British second.   This informative display covers New Zealand's first overseas war.

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.

24% of visitors spent longer than an hour in the Museum. 22% of visitors were from overseas.

(from the Museum's Summer Survey 21 Dec 2023-12 Jan 2024)


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; our Aviation Story; Waihou Village - and there are more new displays in development.