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Our History

The Waitomo Caves Museum Society (Inc) is a charitable society which was formed and incorporated in 1973. For six years the original Waitomo Museum of Caves operated from a small room in the historic Waitomo Caves Hotel, which was then managed by the Tourist Hotel Corporation.

In 1980 a purpose-built museum was erected on the present site in the centre of the Waitomo Caves village and was doubled in size in 1989, followed by the addition of an Education Centre in 1994. The land upon which the Museum is situated belongs to the Tanetinorau Opataia Whanau Trust with whom the Museum maintains an on-going and close relationship.

Funding for the Museum has largely been made available through the NZ Lottery Grants Board, Trust Waikato, Environment Waikato, Department of Conservation, Waitomo District Council, Tourism Holdings Ltd., Pub Charity Inc., Hamilton Tomo Group Inc., Roselands Restaurant and R and J Gannaway, with many contributions in both kind and labour from the local community.

Other funding comes from our souvenir shop and membership of the Waitomo Caves Museum Society Inc., a non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation, preservation and presentation of the taonga of our people, our land and our history along with the delivery of quality (LEOTC) education programmes funded by the Ministry of Education.

At the beginning of 2008, the Waitomo Museum of Caves was rebranded to the Waitomo Caves Discovery Centre.

On 30 June 2008 the Waitomo Caves Museum Society was registered as a charitable entity under the Charities Act 2005.