The Western Bay Museum's collections and exhibitions tell the in-depth stories of our history, our people and our places.

We are at the forefront of quality in museum principles and practices. We keep our collections and exhibitions current, uncluttered and simple and we display items in creative and engaging ways. Updated three times a year, we are fortunate to have forged close relationships with experienced museum curators and designers who help bring our high-quality exhibitions to life.  

Statistics from Museums Aotearoa tell us that, on average, visitors to New Zealand museums only spend an average of 45 mins on their visit, whether it’s Te Papa or one of the smaller regional museums such as ours. We’ve listened to this and as such, we do things differently at the Western Bay Museum. We want to ensure that our visitors have the most memorable experience in the short time they spend with us.

Our specialist rooms feature captivating collections of historic technology, beautiful natural items and hands-on features that engage and inspire visitors.

We want to ensure our museum benefits the entire community of the Western Bay area through connections with all our region’s towns. Our satellite displays at are updated along with our exhibitions and we aim to expand these further over the coming years.

Outdoor Museum

Our 'beyond the walls' philosophy means there is plenty to see inside and outside the museum. Our grounds over looking the Uretara Stream feature a Maori Medicinal Garden (Te Rongoa) the old jail from 1880 and more exhibits. After a visit to the museum you can explore the grounds, wander down to the famous Haiku Walkway and along the river or just  grab a seat in the sunshine and watch the world go by before exploring the rest of Katikati on foot.

George Vesey Stewart Collection

George Vesey Stewart was born in Brighton, Sussex, England on 3 October 1831. Stewart was elected the first Mayor of Tauranga in 1882. He had arrived in New Zealand in 1874 searching for suitable land to create a new settlement, his 'Ulster Plantation', located in Katikati. It is believed that he encouraged over 4,000 people to settle in New Zealand. Stewart and the settlers worked together with the local tangata whenua to create the Western Bay as we know it today. The museum tells the story of these pioneers who's determination, bravery and pioneering spirit forms the foundations of our communities and without whom, there would be no 'us'.

Technology Collection

Kids of all ages will love discovering our unique collection of technology from the 1900s. There is plenty of opportunities to get 'hands-on' and there's even a working telephone exchange you can try for yourself.

1900s School Room

Our beautifully curated 1900s school room takes visitors on a journey back in time. Book one of our experiences and you'll have the chance to try scones cooked on the range, dress in period costume and learn how pupils were taught back then. You'll also get to experience technology and machinery from the past such as a rotary dialphone and a typewriter. Our passionate volunteers bring stories of adventurers, ocean voyages and pioneers to life and give visitors an experience they won't forget.

“This was the best trip ever. We learnt so much and it was super fun”  – Student, Katikati Primary School

Samuel Middlebrook Collection

Sam Middlebrook had a long association with Katikati. When Vesey Stewart came to Tauranga in 1874 to look for land, the Survey office assigned young Sam Middlebrook to assist him. Sam guided him through the trackless swamps and hills to the Katikati block.

Sam acquired a fine collection of Maori artefacts over the years, mostly as payment for translating documents in cases before the Maori Land Court. This collection has been gifted to the Katikati Heritage Museum by the Middlebrook descendants.

Nature Collection

The museum features a fascinating collection of natural items including native insects and butterflies. Get involved in our current project with Predator Free Bay of Plenty, look through a microscope at slides and get up close to our famous shorthorn dairy cow, Daisy to learn about how dairy production was so important to the settlers in the Western Bay.

Connect with us

Opening hours

Monday to Friday
10:00 am — 4:00 pm

Saturday and Sunday
11:00 am — 3:00 pm

Closed: Good Friday, Anzac Day morning, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Contact details

The Old Fire Station
32 Main Road
Katikati 3129
New Zealand

Phone +64 7 549 0651

Email info@westernbaymuseum.nz