Protecting the future use and careful development of the Kawhia Museum

We researched the history of this local museum and added to the body of knowledge about the building and boatshed.

WSP Opus was commissioned to develop a conservation plan to ensure the protection, future use and careful development of the Kawhia Museum.

The classically styled Kawhia Museum was designed in 1916 on reclaimed land as the Kawhia County Council building. As one of a number of buildings developed around a coastal port, its orientation towards the sea was typical of a time before road networks were established.

Today the building and its associated museum collection is at risk from the annual spring tide inundation that has increased by 160mm during the last century.

Our heritage team members carried out a photographic and non-invasive survey of the building and adjoining boatshed, supplemented by research into its historical background.

Information was used to prepare a conservation plan where recommendations included providing improved access and new toilet facilities, general internal and external remedial work, the implementation of a disaster management plan, a maintenance plan and an independent assessment of the museum operation.

Other options we recommended for consideration included providing a coastal breakwater, relocating the building, raising the building or a combination of these. The Museum isn’t currently recognised by the Otorohanga District Council or the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, yet is still of high heritage value to the community. It has been suggested that inclusion on the Otorohanga District Plan should be considered and recognition of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust be sought.