Welcome to The Elms - Nau Mai Haere Mai
The Elms historic house museum, the oldest European heritage site in the Bay of Plenty, is an essential stop for all visitors to Tauranga. From this traditional English home, Maori were given the opportunity to learn about Christianity, and were educated in reading and writing, as well as agricultural and domestic skills.
History of the Mission Station
Once the flourishing Te Papa Mission Station, now a tranquil oasis amid the bustle of the modern city of Tauranga, these buildings and gardens carry us back in time to the early nineteenth century.
A family home for 150 years, the mission house is now a museum, showcasing the lives of the three generations who lived within its walls. The house was lived in from 1847 to 1992. The contents reflect the lives of all the occupants.The name was changed to The Elms in 1873, when active mission work ceased.
The Mission Library
The library has changed little since it was built in 1839, and still holds books belonging to the Brown and the Chruch Missionary Society. The early missionaries had to be self sufficient, and the wide range of topics covered by the books include theology, medicine, music and gardening.
A replica chapel was erected on the original site in 1965. It is now a popular wedding venue, with the gardens providing many opportunities for photographs.
In the 1830s Maori and missionary met on this site, then the Te Papa Mission Station. Eager students listened to the Christian message, learned to read and write, grow new crops and use new tools. The missionaries established a haven of civilisation in a new, often dangerous, far off land.
Many of the English trees in the gardens were planted by missionary Alfred Brown in the 1830s. An acorn carried from England in 1829, has grown into a fine specimen on the north lawn. Norfolk Island pines were favoured by missionaries for the Christian cross, renewed in each year's new growth.
New Zealand trees and shrubs were planted in the early twentieth century by the second generation of the family to occupy the property.
There are also fine examples of unusual trees, such as the bunya bunya pine.
Illustrated signs in the gardens interpret the influence of succeeding generations on the mature garden we enjoy today.
Recognition by NZ Historic Places Trust
The mission house and library are registered as Category One by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
Getting to The Elms
The Elms is about 10 minutes stroll from the Tauranga city centre I-site office, past the historic Monmouth Redoubt. Buses run from the port at Mount Maunganui to the city centre. Map to The Elms
Relax in the gardens, open daily free of charge. The house and library are open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, between 2 and 4 pm. Further information regarding visiting The Elms is available here.
Friends of The Elms
The Friends group provides financial support from subscriptions and events. Many "Friends" also work as volunteer guides, help maintain the collections, and lend a hand with special projects.