In 1975 Nigel and Teresa Ogle bought the 70 year old Tawhiti Cheese factory.
As a child, Nigel had delivered milk to the factory with his father in their farm truck, but he could never have imagined that he would one day convert that same building into a museum.
What started out as a hobby and a small private collection, grew rapidly with public demand to become the focus of an impressive visual history of South Taranaki.
The museum uses life size exhibits and scale models to capture the past in a series of super-realistic displays. All the displays - including the life size figures created from moulds cast from real people - are designed and built on the premises. In fact the 'body shop' - a series of three studios viewed as part of the museum visit - is Nigel's workshop where both scale model 'dioramas' and all the life size figures are built. Friends, relatives and local people have been coerced into allowing a casting to be made from their features - creating the very real images that have become a trademark of the Tawhiti Museum.
Now with seven separate tourism awards to it credit, the museum has become an important visitor attraction for South Taranaki as well as a valued educational facility.