Rotorua Museum's 'Design a Tea Towel' competition received an impressive range of entries and made celebrity chef Richard Till's job of picking a winner that much harder.

The competition prize includes having the winning designs printed onto tea towels that will be on sale at Rotorua Museum. Till will also add both designs to his personal collection of more than 300 tea towels.

Winner of the 15 years and under section, Rotorua's Sionee Mills drew inspiration from the volcanic plateau.

Till describes the design as having a boldness of colour and design that struck him immediately.


"The design has everything, its eye-grabbing, colourful and in a slightly abstracted way, very Rotorua," he said.

Rotorua's Silke Hackbarth took the winning spot in the 16 and over category with a design that showcases many of the iconic sights of Rotorua. It was described by the judge as "a classic tea towel, nicely proportioned (as were other entries in this section), but this one had a lot of 'essential' Rotorua icons in it......and it had the museum building. This tea towel will have legs and I can imagine it selling well."

The exhibition Every Tea Towel Tells a Story showcases hand-picked favourites from Richard Till's collection of nostalgic New Zealand tea towels and the stories behind them.

The exhibition served as inspiration for the competition and is currently on display at Rotorua Museum until May 1.

It is developed and toured by the Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre.

Rotorua's geysers, bubbling mud pools and Maori culture feature on several of the tea towels and the Rotorua Museum's 'Design a Tea Towel' competition was created to embrace and reflect this history.

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"We're hoping these tea towels become a launching point for further designs from both our winners," said Rotorua Museum events coordinator Kathy Nicholls.

Both winning tea towels are on sale at Rotorua Museum from April 23 while stocks last.