The Tauranga Heritage Collection includes objects of local and national importance and items of lasting significance to individuals, families, hapu, iwi and the community at large. The collection exists due to the dedication of volunteers, local groups and individuals who have contributed possessions and time in the hope of preserving the cultural heritage of the Western Bay of Plenty.
In 1969 the Tauranga Historical Society called for objects from its members and the community to establish a museum. Premises in Hamilton Street were provided by the Tauranga City Council to display collected items. One of the first and largest acquisitions made by the Society was Charlie Haua’s blacksmith shop and contents. Early donors include, V. MacMillan, Tuirirangi Te Kani, E. L. Adams, E. Brain, P. & W. Jensen, W. Cross, P. Delamere, D. Maxwell and A. Faulkner.
At the Tauranga Historic Village and District Museum, in 17th Ave, the collection grew rapidly and to a size of comparative national scale with over 30 000 items. The Historic Village was closed in 1998 and the collection was placed into storage. Research of the collection is being undertaken in order to achieve a complete picture of the extent and significance of the Tauranga Heritage Collection.