Who we are

We are a local museum in the ex coal mining village of Blackball, telling the story of the 1908 strike which saw the local miners lead the country into a new political era. We also mount local heritage exhibitions, exhibitions on current social and political issues, host a schools' programme teaching students the virtue of collective action, and run events reflecting a people's  culture.

The Museum was opened in 2009 and is supported by: E tu union, Tertiary Education Union, Public Service Association, the Dairy Workers Union, the Maritime Union of NZ and First Union. Infrastructure development has been funded by TrustPower, Development West Coast, Lotteries NZ, the West Coast Development Trust, Blackadder Trust and the Grey District Council.

Current Board: Nick Secker, Kyle Webster, Garth Elliott, Paul Kearns, Caroline Selwood, Tania Smallridge (Chair), Paul Maunder.

Winter Exhibition: Universal Basin Income

Schools' programme

We run a one day interactive programme, Without our brain and muscle, designed for years: 6-10.  The children are transported back to early last century conditions, the miners going to work for insufficient pay and the family budget stretched. What can they do?


Celebrating Mayday is a major event on the Museum's calendar, bringing people from all over New Zealand. This Mayday will be held on Saturday May 1st, with a focus on the transition economy. We will have guests from Taranaki to enable a cross regional encounter and have asked Damien O'Connor to give a keynote address as to the government's second term aspirations. The detailed programme will be posted closer to the event. Meanwhile the summer exhibition features a collection of old bottles from a local collector.

Enquiries: wkcultur@gmail.com or text 0211063669 or facebook/Mahi Tupuna- Blackball Museum of Working Class History.

Stop Press: We were recently honoured to receive the inaugural Frederick George Evans Grant from the Workers Institute for Scientific Education. The grant was made 'in recognition of the museum's significant role in retaining a living record of NZ workers' struggles historically and its contribution to the awareness of current working class issues and struggles.'

Addition to Museum complex. Our new accessible toilet, funded by Lotteries Community was opened on Feb 24th by Mayor, Tony Kokshoorn.


An intervention

The Museum has facilitated the setting up of a co-operative incubator as a response to the need for a transition economy. More information and details about applying for membership is available at www.tepuawai.co.nz.

Te Puawai launched by Cuban Ambassador.

Links: video  Walter Shaw of Blackball reminisces - YouTube; Pike Commemoration in Blackball 2016 -YouTube; Picket at Pike River Mine -YouTube. Accommodation www.blackballhilton.co.nz. Food www.blackballsalami.co.nz. Walking Croesus Track. Walking and tramping in Southern Paparoa Range.


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