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Christmas at the Museum


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 5 – 31 December 2021 Okains Bay Museum features 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 groups and individuals. You can even vote for your favourite.

Normal admission costs apply.

  • Adult: $15.00
  • Child: FREE (up to 13 when accompanied by an adult)
  • Concession: $10 (Student, Community Service or KiwiAble Card Holder)


“A Christmas Night at the Museum”

Saturday 4th December 2021, 7:30 pm – 10 pm


Okains Bay Museum is planning “A Christmas Night at the Museum” as a seasonal follow-on to our “Night at the Museum” held last year to celebrate Xmas at the museum with a beautifully festive interactive experience.

Visitors will be guided around the museum after sunset by members of Tectonic Tones, directed by Jillie Toogood, singing carols and stopping at each Christmas Tree display to see it lit up for the first time. The trees will stay in place until New Year. 

Decorate a Tree

Local and creative communities are invited to take part.

Designers will be supplied with an undecorated artificial tree. Live trees are not suitable for a museum environment as they can introduce pests. No organic materials are to be used for the decorations for the same reason.

Each display will carry information about the designer, their inspiration and their theme. The public may vote for their favourite display, onsite or online.

So far, we are excited to have some wonderful designers and local teams taking part, including:

  • Okains Bay School
  • Duvauchelle School
  • Le Bons Bay Craftamorn Group
  • Christchurch Needlework Guild
  • Garden City Miniaturists
  • Lydia Woods
  • Ali Riley
  • Vix & Vi
  • Okains Bay Museum
  • Canterbury Museum
What’s Involved: 

1: Choose a theme

It might be linked to your group or organisation, or the part of the museum collection where your tree will be displayed. For instance, the museum has collection areas focussed on old musical instruments, colonial home life, blacksmithing, local ANZACs, saddlery and lots more!

2: Design Your Tree

Be creative as you like. Remember to include lights! (The museum does have a limited number of decorations and lights available.)  Please note that due to the museum environment it is not possible to use decorations that may attract pests, such as dried fruits or food items.

3: Decorate Your Tree at the Museum

This can happen at a time during the day of the event. You are welcome to stay and join in the evening.

4: Disassemble your Tree in the New Year.

Museum staff will be available to help or do this for you. As we have staff based in Christchurch and the Peninsula, we may be able to return your decorations to you to save a trip. If this is the case, please let us know.

Register Here: (free to take part)
Xmas Night at the Museum

Photos by Jung Ho Park, Erik Mclean, Igor Rodrigues, Alexandru Petolescu on Unsplash, and Boredpanda.