The stories of people with kind and brave hearts are being celebrated and told in an exhibition coming to Rotorua.

Brave Hearts is a new interactive exhibition profiling pioneering Kiwi heart clinicians and their brave patients, opening on Wednesday in Jean Batten Square.

Celebrating the New Zealand cardiac story, Brave Hearts is an exhibition developed by the Auckland Medical Museum Trust (AMMT) with support from Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

It explains how the heart works, how heart disease is investigated and the largely untold story of New Zealand's leading role in the evolution of heart surgery.


Children are free to enter and the gold coin koha from adults will be donated to charity.

There will be displays with interactive models demonstrating normal heart function, what could go wrong, and what can be done to diagnose and correct heart problems.

The exhibition delves into the inspiring stories behind New Zealand's first open-heart operation, the cooling of children's hearts to allow life-saving surgery and the innovation which led to replacing damaged heart valves.

Visitors can also learn more about the recipients of ground-breaking heart care.

The exhibition has been brought to Rotorua by Rotary Rotorua West with the support of Rotorua Lakes Council, Four Winds Foundation and One Foundation.

Rotary Rotorua West's Brett Marvelly says New Zealand were world leaders in heart surgery in the 1960s and continue to be so today.

"The exhibition is full of inspiring stories of innovative cardiac procedures that were developed in New Zealand, alongside some moving stories of the heart patients they operated on.

"This is the first time this exhibition has left Auckland so it is a wonderful opportunity to view it in Rotorua."


He says it is great to showcase a special piece of New Zealand history and educate people about how to look after their own hearts.

Brett says one of the interactive exhibits allows people to pump the heart and shows the blood circulating around the body, and there are several exercise activities that show the impact exercise has on the heart.

Rotorua Museum are running a supporting education programme for New Zealand school children Year 7-10.

Rotorua Museum education lead Emma Liley says the education programme helps to explain that heart health is not just for the older generations.

"Fitness and a good diet now will make a big difference to their heart's overall health in the future.

"We will explore how the heart works and the important role it plays in your body."

During term time the exhibition will be open to the public from 3pm to 6pm on weekdays.

On weekends and during school holidays it will be open to the public from 9am to 6pm. The exhibition will be closed on public holidays.

Groups of more than 20 should pre-book by contacting

For more information on the exhibition and education programme go to

The details
- What: Brave Hearts Exhibition
- When: November 5 to March 5
- Where: Jean Batten Square, Te Aka Mauri
- Gold coin for adults