PM Opens New Taranaki Tourist Attraction
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The Prime Minister’s opened the attraction as part of an action packed day in South Taranaki, which included opening the billion dollar Kupe oil and gas production station and the TSB Hub - sports, events and recreation complex in Hawera.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived,” said Mr. Key, “And I was totally blown away. It is well worth the money and I can see this would have massive appeal for domestic and overseas visitors. It is just a shame I don’t have time to take it all in. I’ll have to come back,” he said.
The Traders and Whalers attraction is the latest work of Nigel Ogle, owner/creator of the world class Tawhiti Museum, in partnership with the South Taranaki District Council who gave Nigel a grant of $500,000.
“Traders and Whalers is a truly unique experience, and a New Zealand first,” says Nigel. “Using light and sound the ride takes you on a journey (quite literally) through our past. It transports visitors to a time when our coastline witnessed piracy, abductions, massacres and espionage, dangerous explorations and bloody revenge,” he says.
Illuminated only by the twinkling of lanterns visitors drift in boats through an eerie world, where distant birds call and water drips from mossy banks as burley sailors barter with local Maori for pork, potatoes and flax in return for European goods – especially that most sought after item – the flintlock musket.
“There is something for everyone to experience at Tawhiti Museum, – from the Bush Train, to arts and crafts shops, Mr Badgers Cafe, Traders and Whalers, to the Museum itself,” says Nigel. “I have tried to bring our amazing, and often bloody history alive in a way that everyone can enjoy.”
Widely acclaimed as the best private museum in the country and with seven separate tourism awards to its credit, Nigel uses life size exhibits and scale models to present our heritage in a series of realistic and engaging displays.
All the displays - including the life size figures created from moulds cast from real people - are designed and built on the premises. In fact the 'body shop' - a series of three studios viewed as part of the museum visit - is Nigel's workshop where both scale model 'dioramas' and all the life size figures are built. Friends, relatives and local people have been coerced into allowing a casting to be made from their features - creating the very real images that have become a trademark of Tawhiti Museum.