About the Elms Mission Station & Gardens
The raupo (rush) house live in by the Brown family from 1838 to 1847.The Elms collection.
Watercolour titled: The Elms Tauranga, by Col. G. J. Carey, 1864: Source: The Elms Collection
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.
Imagine sitting down to a meal at the gleaming mahogany table, listening to the old square piano, or using the delicate ivory spools and threads to create exquisite embroidery on a new gown.
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.
View our Contact page for instructions on getting to the Elms
Relax in the gardens, open daily free of charge.
The house, library and gardens are open 10am - 4pm, 7 days a week.
The Chapel is open for weddings and services (The Second and Third Sunday of each month).
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.
What you will find at the Elms...
The Mission Library
The library has changed little since it was built in 1839, and still holds books belonging to the Brown and the Church 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.
Click here to view the listing on the Historic Places website.