While declarations of war or agreement, signed by famous figures, or paintings of those in high office or even letters written by politicians of the day are all valuable historical artefacts, it is in the ordinary, the every-day and the mundane that you will find the true history of a people or a region.
From a child’s toy to a butter mould to a soldiers’ uniform to a teapot, the Taranaki Life gallery contains a treasure trove of items telling the story of the people who have lived, worked and played under the benevolent gaze of te maunga.
Discover how their lives changed and evolved, from the primitive slab hut that the first settlers called home to the ground-breaking technologies employed by the oil and gas industry. Trace how the backbone of Taranaki industry, dairy farming, grew from the simple walk-in milking shed of the 1850s thanks to the extrordinarily innovative nature the region’s farmers seem to hold. The growth of other industries is also charted, from furniture, flax and farm equipment to the more colourful ones such as beer, motorbikes and Swanndris.
The contribution of the huge diversity of the different ethnic and social groups that have made their home here is not forgotton, with displays celebrating the English, Swiss, Dutch and Polish, among others, and telling their stories.
The stories of those who have fought to keep their way of life for their families and neighbours are also featured, from the local Land Wars to conflicts overseas.
The ever-present mountain has also given us fascinating tales of mountaineering cats, the first woman to scale its summit and a besotted lover wooing his future wife with a cape made of the pelts of bush rats who live in its forests.
Come and meet the Taranaki people – you will leave with new friends!