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, Jane Wells,Graeme Axford, Caroline Selwood (chair), Paul Maunder.

Extension Project. We were recently awarded a seeding grant from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage Te Urungi Innovation Fund to assist in an extension project which will see the addition of a further five replicas of the single men's huts. Dr Grace Millar is currently researching the project. We have now received funding to build the huts with Jane Wells as Project Manager.


Current Exhibition:Together; a story of women and the struggle for midwifery


Labour Day Debate: Should Blackball Workers be unionised or is our heritage simply a brand..


Mayday took place on Saturday April 29th. In the morning, the AGM of Te Puawai Co-operative Society was held, followed by a strategic planning session in terms of a workshop programme for the Kotuku School for Social Change, In the evening a Mayday Dinner was held at the Blackball Inn and '08 cafe, with an after dinner programme of speakers and song covering the Greens in government, alternative tax systems and Julian Assange.

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 by then 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.


Copyright Mahi Tupuna - Blackball Museum of Working Class History