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There has been a museum in Hokitika since at least 1869 although details are slim. When the Carnegie Library was built in 1908 the museum moved into a room in the new building.
In 1952 a museum committee was established to raise funds for a special museum building. In December 1973 the museum moved into a new building behind the Carnegie Building which had been funded by public subscriptions, service club fund-raising and a grant from the Department of Internal Affairs.
At this time the museum was named the West Coast Historical Museum, employed its first director and was run by a committee which included representatives from Westland Borough Council and Westland County Council. It became part of the Westland District Council’s operations when the two councils amalgamated in 1989.
During the mid-to-late 1990s the Carnegie Building was restored by the local community and in 1998 the museum moved back into the Carnegie Building. The extra exhibition space meant that the museum could turn some of the 1973 building into much needed storage space for the growing collection.
Today, staff at the museum include a director, curators, and a research assistant. In 2011 the decision was made to return to the museum's original name - Hokitika Museum.
The Carnegie Building is currently undergoing earthquake strengthening work and is closed to the public with the collection in storage. The research centre is still available. Please contact us to enquire.
In 2020, Council purchased the former Mountain Jade Building opposite the Council Headquarters. Poutini Ngai Tahu approved the name 'Pakiwaitara' meaning 'stories' for the building. This building will house museum exhibitions and the Westland District Library in the future.
More information can be found on the Museum website.