welcome to the otaki museum

Gathering, preserving & telling stories of Otaki & its environs

Otaki Museum is a small local museum on Otaki's Main Street.  Changing exhibitions display the town's rich past. Admission is free. We are open Thursday to Saturday (during exhibitions) 10am-2pm.  Read more


For 75 years a student from a Scottish secondary school has travelled to New Zealand annually to visit selected schools and to see the country. The student, from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon’s College, holds the Otaki Shield which commemorates a sea battle fought in the Atlantic during World War 1.  A former pupil of Robert Gordon’s College, Archibald Bisset Smith, captained the SS Otaki which was sunk by a German raider the Moewe. Captain Bisset Smith went down with the ship and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery. In 1937 his family presented the Otaki Shield to the college in his memory.

This annual visit has helped to develop a strong relationship between Robert Gordon’s College, Ōtaki College and the Ōtaki community. Otaki Museum is hosting an exhibition to commemorate 75th anniversary of the scholarship. It features many of the scholars who have visited New Zealand, their interactions with local people and with national dignitaries, the voyage here by ship, the reciprocal Sander Scholarship which enables an Ōtaki College student to travel to Scotland and the SS Otaki story. A highlight will be an interactive digital display of the story of the SS Otaki and the Otaki Scholar.

The exhibition will be open to the public from the afternoon of Thursday 19 July and thereafter every Thursday- Saturday, 10am – 2pm.

Earthquake assessment of Museum building

The Kapiti Coast District Council has advised us that the full seismic assessment of the Otaki Museum building has been completed. The assessment has confirmed that the Museum building is earthquake prone ie.  it is under 34 percent of New Building Standards.
The Council has advised it will not insist on the building being closed or that its use will be restricted.
However, the Council and the Trust wish to make people aware of the building status and that they enter it at their own risk.

The collections

The Otaki Museum houses documents, photographs, oral histories and artifacts of significance to the history of Otaki and the surrounding district.  Read more