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Christmas at the Museum 2023Christchurch Cit Creative Communities Logo

Imagine stepping back in history into a colonial lounge or settler’s cottage at Christmas time.

The tradition of decorating our houses with greenery at Christmas was brought to New Zealand by British settlers. Today, it is hard to imagine a Kiwi summer Christmas without the trees and mistletoe wreaths popularised by Queen Victoria.

From 3 December 2023 – 13 January 2024, Okains Bay Museum will feature displays of Christmas trees throughout the museum’s buildings and collections spaces. You’ll be transported back in time to a Christmas night over 100 years ago, with uniquely designed trees decorated by talented local artists and craftspeople.

This year’s exhibition boasts an even higher standard than the last, thanks to the dedication of local organisations, groups, and whanau from Okains Bay and Christchurch. Each team poured their creativity into crafting their unique displays, drawing inspiration from their passions, surroundings, and even a year’s worth of planning.


Interactive delights like Underground Overground Archaeology’s tree and Tiakitanga Pūtaiao Aotearoa’s (Biosecurity New Zealand) offering invite visitors to delve into local history and discover the importance of biosecurity.

Others, like Te Wānanga o Aotearoa’s student weavers, showcase their artistic talents with “Te Whetū Kirihimete – Christmas Stars,” two woven masterpieces inspired by their learning and friendships.

And then there’s “Pacific Ebb & Flow,” a captivating installation by Pioneer Crafters, a group of friends who met through exercise classes. This piece brings together windswept and sea-kissed creations collected from local beaches.

From paracord and clay to shells and driftwood, the creativity on display is as diverse as the community itself. Each piece reflects the unique spirit of its creators, weaving a tapestry of festive joy throughout the Museum.

“Christmas at the Museum” runs until 13th January 2024, and is a must-see for anyone seeking a dose of holiday magic. Grab your loved ones and wander through the Okains Bay Museum, where Christmas lights twinkle alongside the stories of our community.

Christmas at the Museum has been supported by Creative Communities Scheme (CCS), Showbiz Christchurch and The Light Site.