The small museum that tells a big story


Fashion & Photography Exhibition

1870's - 1960's

Glamour and elegance is shrouded by total tradition.  As five of the garments on display in the Fashion division of the exhibition they are associated to weddings, you can discover the superstition and origin of many traditions dating back to Medieval and Roman times.

In later years Queen Victoria set many new traditions and trends.

Fashion is an instant language and although today we use speech as our preferred language, back in the day, single women used objects and behaviours to communicate – avoiding any flirtatious scandal to protect their reputation. The fire shields dating back to 1796 were designed to stop ladies’ wax based make-up from melting as they sat by the fire – however they also used them to communicate, the ‘language of the fan’. Holding the screen to the right cheek meant “yes”; to the left meant “no”.

The photography element has a direct focus on Emily Surtees who documented the people and places of the Katikati settlement between 1875 and 1900. Emily’s collection of photographs provides a valuable insight into the early life of the Katikati settlement.

Emily was the eldest daughter of George Vesey Stewart, founder of the ‘Ulster Plantation’. Emily came out to Katikati with her family in 1875 on-board the ‘Carrisbrook Castle’ with the first party of Ulster Settlers. This wonderful collection can be viewed on the digital screen in the ‘Taylor Bros Transport Ltd Exhibition Gallery’.

And of course when we mention photography in New Zealand we instantly recall the ‘Box Brownie’ so take a walk down memory lane with the display – ‘Our Love Affair with the Brownie Camera’.

This exhibition is a MUST SEE and will run from December - April 2020.

Visit us today and be warmly welcomed by a wonderful team of enthusiastic volunteers.

Please enjoy following our progress, watch this space for our next exhibition and feel free to share this link!


Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm

Saturday - Sunday 11am - 3pm


Telephone: +64 07-549-0651      Email:

Address: 32 Main Road, Katikati, 3129, Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand  


Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm

Saturday & Sunday 11am - 3pm