Tauranga's Cultural Heritage Collection was stored away in secret, in the hope that one day a museum would be built to showcase it.
That day has come, as city commissioners have approved a long-term plan amendment for Te Manawataki O Te Papa, Tauranga's new civic precinct centre that will feature some form of museum.
Residents voted against a museum in a 2018 referendum, but city commissioners said the CBD has changed.
"From a commission point of view we think it's a different proposition," commissioner Shad Rolleston said.
"It's not just a museum, but how does it connect into the wider civic precinct and across the city?
"The city isn't what it used to be, a retail centre.
"When you look across the world, CBDs are a place of arts, culture, heritage."
The collection features more than 30,000 objects, from the Rena anchor to weapons used in the Battle of Gate Pa.
Local Focus was not allowed to reveal where the collection was stored.
Cultural heritage manager Dean Flavell said any objects found during archaeological digs were housed and registered with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
One item in the collection, a shotgun used for hunting ducks, was donated in 1984 by commissioner Rolleston's family.
"It belonged to my great-grandfather, which I wasn't aware of," he said.
"It does hold some significance to me and the wider family but great for this to be held here, hopefully to be made available for either family members or the public to be able to view these types of taonga."
Tauranga's new civic space will take shape over the coming years but you can explore about 11,000 objects from the collection online now.