Whangārei’s landscape was formed millions of years ago, its valleys and mountains created by a fiery volcanic past. Explore this exciting geology and ecology through displays of fossils, maps, geological formations, and even stone tools. Creatures from our ancient landscape are visible as reconstructed skeletons, marine fossils, turtle shells, dried and preserved specimens. You can identify our native woods, plants and birds in the taonga on display such as cloaks, baskets, tools and carvings.
Tangata whenua - The Iwi of Whangārei
Whangārei has been home to different iwi (tribes) over the past 800 years. We are fortunate to care for taonga which connect us to the tupuna of Ngāi Tāhuhu, Ngā Puhi, Ngātiwai, Ngāti Pūkenga and Te Waiariki. Explore their rich history through displays of artwork, weaving, personal tools, clothing, weaponry and a very special waka tiwai.
New cultures, connections and conflict
As a hub connected by rivers, trails and sea, Whangārei Te Rerenga Paraoa has been a gathering place for war parties, trading parties and settlers from around the world. Artefacts from the significant 1846 Ruapekapeka battle, from land surveyers, missionaries, and new Dalmatian, French, Italian, British, Scottish and Chinese settlers reveal Whangārei’s early multicultural identity.
Northlanders at War
The parts that people from the Whangārei District have played in various international wars are acknowledged through military artefacts and the significant local story of the sinking of the RMS Niagara and recovery of gold blocks for the war effort.
Creation of a City
Learn about the transformation of Whangārei as a collection of kainga (villages) to a small town and eventually to becoming a city. Social history objects on display reflect the lives of local families, businesses, cultures and industries that have made Whangārei what it is today. These have been stored and displayed in Whangārei Museum since Robert Mair’s collecting in the 1880s right up to today.