Pātaka Art + Museum, which has become the cultural heart of Porirua City, opened in 1998. In the 19 years since then the museum and gallery, which is about 15 minutes drive from central Wellington, has developed a reputation for showcasing the best in contemporary Māori and Pacific Arts, as well as contemporary New Zealand, Asian and international arts & culture.
Pātaka’s origins date back to the Porirua Museum which opened in 1980. By 1997 the museum was outgrowing its site at Takapuwahia, and a local community art gallery, Page 90, run by the Mana Community Arts Council since 1990, also needed more space and funding to expand. Porirua City Council suggested the two organisations should be amalgamated and a new combined Porirua museum of arts and cultures should be created.
The new museum and gallery was set up temporarily in the old Porirua Museum building while the Page 90 site, on the corner of Parumoana and Norrie streets, was revamped and greatly expanded, including building a second floor, storerooms, education centre, museum courtyard, workshops, the Japanese Garden, Community Meeting Room and extensions to the library.
The building had been named Te Marae O Te Umu Kai O Hau and the new museum and gallery was officially opened in September 1998. Later that year it was given its current name, Pātaka Museum of Arts and Cultures – Pataka in te reo means a storage place for precious things.