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The Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum

The Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum is accessed through the Kawerau Library, Jellicoe Court and can be visited during Library opening hours. As of 1 January 2009, the Kawerau District Council took on the management of the Museum. The Museum has accumulated considerable donated historic memorabilia and photographic material which needs to be preserved, correctly catalogued, and displayed to the public in a professional manner. Contact for the Museum can be made by email to or by phone to:

Irene Sandle              or            Susan Harris
Museum Curator            Library & Museum Manager
Ph 07 306 9041            Ph 07 306 9041

Previous to this, the Museum was managed and run by the Kawerau Historical Museum Trust which disbanded in 2010. The Trust was established in 2000 by a group of concerned residents in response to a growing concern that because of the changing direction of the Pulp and Paper Industry and its effect on the Kawerau township, the history of the establishment of the area was in danger of being lost to the present and future generations.

The Museum holds a wide range of resources relating to the history of Kawerau. Resources include local historical newspapers and newsletters, as well as photographs and ephemera. We have begun the process of digitising this material and some of this can be viewed online at Kete Kawerau. However, the bulk of our collection can only be accessed by appointment with staff. To make an appointment, please contact us so staff  can prepare items for your visit or material required. The initial two hours of research time is free of charge, after which fees apply. Below is a pdf of information around requesting Museum material, including fees and charges plus the forms needed to make an information request and/or a reproduction (photos) request. Please contact Museum staff if you need assistance with these forms.

Customer Request Information For Museum Requests Click

Information Request Form Click

Reproduction Request Form Click

Please be aware the bulk of our collection is still under copyright restrictions meaning requested material cannot always be supplied depending on the nature of the request. 

Current Displays

Inner Galley Closure

The inner gallery of the Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum is currently closed until further notice as part of the project to move the collections and staff workroom to 16-18 Jellicoe Court. Displays are still currently available for viewing on the outer Museum walls in the Library, the Library foyer and the windows of 16-18 Jellicoe Court. Staff are still able to be contacted in the Museum office.

Edgecumbe Earthquake

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing around 1.30pm on the 2nd of March 1987? This date and time in 2017 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Edgecumbe Earthquake. The Museum Staff have prepared an Exhibition of newspaper articles published on the days following the earthquake. This is on display in the Library Foyer.  Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum are collecting written memories of that day and the days following the earthquake. If you haven’t already added your memories to our earthquake memories collection and would like to do so please contact the Library/Museum staff for a form to complete.

Kete Kawerau

The Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum supports the website Kete Kawerau which collects the stories and images of Kawerau. Visitors can view and use Kete Kawerau at the Kawerau District Library or go online at to add your own material. Kete Kawerau has been created to capture and preserve the historical and current memories, stories, and activities of the Kawerau community and we need you to share your stories and images, past and present. This site was launched September 2010.

Naming Of The Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum

The Museum was named for Sir James Fletcher (1914-2007) who joined the family business, Fletcher Construction Company Limited in 1937. In 1953 construction of the Pulp and Paper Mill and the township of Kawerau began by a consortium company of Fletcher Construction Company Ltd. Auckland, Merritt Chapman and Scott New York, and Raymond Concrete Pile Company Delaware generally referred to as FMR. After the Government had accepted the tender from the Fletcher Group, the Tasman Pulp and Paper Company Limited was formed as a joint venture with the New Zealand Government. Sir James Fletcher was Chairman of the first Board of Directors.

Sir James Fletcher was knighted for his services to industry and the community in 1980. He was the Chairman of the Fletcher Trust since its inception. The Museum has received valuable assistance from the Trust over the past few years and in recognition of the history of the Fletcher family and the community of Kawerau, the Museum Trust named the Museum in his honour.