Aotea Utanganui The museum of South Taranaki, situated on Egmont Street in Patea, officially opened on a beautiful West Coast morning, 30 April 2011, with Mt Taranaki forming it's majestic backdrop for this most important event. PATEA MAIN STREET with Mt Taranaki in the background The trustees and staff of Aotea Utanganui, Iwi, members of the local community and Council had their work cut out for them from the start of this enormous undertaking, to get through all the stages of applications, fundraising, co-ordinating and restoration of treasures and readying the exhibition for the grand opening which finally took place on 30 April 2011. Once the building, now a beautiful and modern representation of a storehouse, was complete, the objects and artefacts were installed creating a visual display of the colourful history of the area.The ceremony commenced at 11.00am with a powhiri and speeches, Kaumatua Syd Kershaw said a karakia (prayer) and the Mayor of South Taranaki, Ross Dunlop cut the ribbon with the assistance of a young Maori maiden announcing to the waiting crowd that the museum was now open. The Patea Maori Group added to the occasion with their beautiful voices in harmony singing Poi-e Visitors can expect to see the exhibits change and grow as artefacts currently held in safe-keeping are restored and added. Intricate and vibrant Maori wall or Tukutuku panels greet you as you enter through the main doors - lovingly restored for the occasion and representative of various Iwi in the region. Gifted objects include Maori antiquities, one being the oldest dated wooden artefact of a canoe prow found in Whenuakura. Along side these are many examples of the early european settlers influence which progresses through to today showcasing the changes in farming machinery and domestic items of the day. Many photographs from the community adorn the walls. A more modern-day Soldier's thanks from Egypt 1941 George Isbister embroidered this cushion cover for the ladies of the Waverley sewing circle in gratitude for the parcels he received while on active service overseas. It was often the way injured servicemen filled their hours of inactivity while recuperating. Kristelle Plimmer, Museum Curator and Marie MacKay were just two of many people totally committed to the success of this project and judging by their smiles after the ceremonies were over and the place filled with people, that said it all! 1st Curator Kristelle Plimmer on right Marie MacKay (STDC) in the crowd Take a trip to Patea and discover just how unique this part of Taranaki really is. Opening hours are 10am to 4pm every day except Christmas and Good Friday. Entry is free.