A group of Tauranga citizens are fighting to see the fifth-largest city in New Zealand get its own museum.

The Tauranga Moana Museum Trust are a dozen committed residents working with Tauranga City Council to build a business case for a long-awaited local asset.

"The purpose of the trust is to help get a museum in Tauranga," says Cate Hlavac-Williams.

Larry Baldock, Tauranga City councillor and chair of the City Transformation Committee, admits that such growth will cost but says it is a vital part of the rejuvenation of Tauranga CBD.


Mr Baldock says contrary to opinion, ratepayers will not be heavily affected by the cost of a museum as corporate investment could cover much of the capital outlay.

And members of the trust agree wholeheartedly.

"It's the price of a cup of coffee a year, to have opex for a museum," says Anne Pankhurst. "It's not going to put your rates up hundreds of dollars.

"Roads, sewage plants or water are more likely to put up your rates. I'm not for a minute suggesting we shouldn't have that amenity, it's absolutely critical for a community.

"But I would suggest that a museum, into your intellect and cultural activity, is equally as important as a road."

A former Tauranga City councillor, Ms Pankhurst says she has always supported the idea that Tauranga has a story to tell.

"I have felt very strongly for a number of years about a museum. I don't think I will ever resile from that - I won't give up," she says. "Now, that may or may not be a character flaw, but for me right now, I believe strongly in having a place that venerates our past. We only learn about our future through our past."

She says she came on board the trust to work on a history hub that would further engage public opinion on a museum.


"The Bay has a huge amount of New Zealand's defining history. Where do we tell those stories? Where are they being shown? Where are our children - who live and breathe the Bay - where are they learning about that?

"No. We get on a bus and we drive to Rotorua and learn about Te Aroha history. I just think it's sad."

Early August is the deadline, when Tauranga City councillors will meet to discuss potential museum sites.

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