Puke Ariki celebrates 20 years of inspiring creativity and enriching lives

Local Featured news

It’s been 20 years today since NPDC’s Puke Ariki made headlines as the world’ first purpose-built, fully integrated museum, library and visitor information centre.


It’s a far cry from the cramped, War Memorial Library and Museum complex in which just 5 per cent of the museum collection could be displayed and a growing selection of books seeing the two operations fighting for space.


Two decades on it remains one of our post popular facilities attracting an average of 253,000 visitors to the Museum and 253,959 to the library each year.  


Puke Ariki is also home to the Taranaki Research Centre and i-Site visitor’s Centre and three galleries. The team also manages five community libraries and mobile library and as of today 14,980,150 visitors had been welcomed across all sites.


Puke Ariki got its beginning in 1993 when a working party was set up by the council to address the space problem.


Two years later the site for the new building agreed – the former Puke Ariki pā site, once located near the mouth of the Huatoki Stream.    


While proud of the milestone the team took a low-key approach to celebrations with a book display, photos and newspaper articles from the past 20 years in the library and Te Pua Wānanga O Taranaki/Taranaki Research Centre. 


“We’re always looking at ways to offer different experiences and cater to changing needs of our customers – but what hasn’t changed is that commitment to inspire creativity and enrich lives by promoting the heritage of Taranaki and connecting local people and visitors to new ideas and other cultures from around the world,” says Puke Ariki Library manager Dyane Hosler.


Fast Facts

  • Former Prime Minister Helen Clark helped cut the ribbon to officially open Puke Ariki on 15 June 2003.
  • Puke Ariki has three long-term galleries -Te Takapou Whāriki, Taranaki Naturally and the Gallery of Taranaki Life as well as the temporary Lane and Wall exhibition spaces.
  • It has won several awards for its innovative technology and design.
  • There are 142,828 heritage items – photographs, artworks, archives and interesting objects available online.
  • 217,000 items in the library collection
  • 8,203,543 visitors to Puke Ariki, including nearby Richmond Cottage, over 20 years.


Find out more about the history of Puke Ariki, what’s on and the range of services available at pukeariki.com.


Caption: Puke Ariki during construction in 2001. Photo Don Sinclair (2001). Collection of Puke Ariki (PHO2009-229b)