The Museum was built by descendants for the centennial celebrations in 1953. Descendants worked on the building and donated materials.
It was built in stone to resemble the old Highland crofts which had featured in the landscapes of their homelands.
Descendants brought historic records and items of clothing and furniture to be stored in the new building, which they named “The House of Memories”.
In 1981 Betty Powell took over the day to day running of the Museum and embarked on the task of both genealogy and story gathering.
She was massively admired by the huge numbers of descendants with whom she corresponded until her death in 2014. Her death was a sad milestone in the history of Waipu as along with her passing went much of the knowledge she had never put in writing. Nevertheless, a great team of genealogists and researchers continue her work so the business of Waipu’s story both past and present is in great hands!
The 150 year celebrations in 2003 saw a modern extension added to
The House of Memories for the safer housing of the collection.
In 2008 a new exhibition was established, largely inspired by the 2003 Grand Pageant which had “opened everybody’s eyes” to the tremendous emotive power of the migration story.
The Waipu Museum has achieved a huge amount over the past 15 years –
- The conversion of a charming “granny’s attic” into a modern story telling museum.
- The restoration of Waipu’s Old Manse.
- The rescue and acquisition of two more heritage buildings.
- The establishment of a ‘Men’s Shed’ in one of these buildings.
- The production of numerous theatrical and fund- raising events.
- Being twice a finalist in the national Museum’s Aotearoa Awards.
- Recipient of a Unesco Award for its collection of historic documents.
- The establishment of the annual “Art n Tartan” Wearable Art Awards.
- The creation of a village exhibition commemorating Waipu’s involvement in the Great War.
- A comprehensive plan for the future includes plans to foster greater awareness of the Maori life of the district prior to European settlement.