Since 1952 members of the Tauranga Historical Society have worked to preserve, interpret and promote historical and cultural heritage for the people of the Western Bay of Plenty.

As one aspect of this the Society is responsible for the management, preservation and display of the Brain Watkins House Museum, which is open to the public on Sundays from 2-4pm.  The house and contents were gifted to the Society by Elva Brain Watkins in 1979 and they tell the story of Tauranga through the lives of a prominent middle class family who lived in it for nearly 100 years. Part of the house museum’s hat collection can be viewed on line at www.nzmuseums.co.nz.

Members of the Society can join the guiding team that shows visitors through the house, sharing its stories. Monthly meetings, open to the public, focus on local history and the Society contributes to the Bay of Plenty Historical Review Journal, which is published twice a year. Special events are organised several times a year and include a Garden Party, Christmas Luncheon and field trips.

New members are very welcome. The annual fee is $25 single $30 couple and this includes subscription to the Historical Review Journal. If you are interested in joining the society or have a general enquiry please contact us:


Tauranga Historical Society Inc
233 Cameron Road
Tauranga
Phone: 07 578 1835

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Historical society logo.

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Archdeacon Alfred Nesbit Brown (c1860).
The story of European settlement of the Tauranga district really begins with the establishment of a permanent mission presence. Most