The Far North Regional Museum was established in 1969 with the purpose of collecting and preserving treasures and taonga relating to the history of the Far North.

In 1985, archives became an important part of the museum and over the past 25 years have become a comprehensive asset.

Our Far North history, in New Zealand terms, begins very early with the arrival of the French explorer de Surville in Doubtless Bay in 1769. Thirty years later, whaling ships were dropping anchor in Mangonui Harbour. The settlement of an Anglican Mission Station in 1834 and a thriving industry of kauri timber spars, flax and kauri gum all contributed to a robust community.

In 2006, the concept of bringing all Far North District Council amenities under one roof was envisaged. The new community centre, named Te Ahu, was completed in 2011 -incorporating the i-Site Visitor Centre, Library, Cinema, Café, Auditorium, Council Service Centre and Te Ahu Heritage Museum.

The museum and archives are administered under the guidance of the Far North Regional Museum Trust and staffed by a full time curator/manager and a part-time archivist.

Current trustees are:

  • Bronwyn Bauer-Hunt (Chair)
  • David Senior (Deputy Chair)
  • Sean Stratton (Treasurer)
  • Awhina Murupaenga (Secretary and Te Hiku Community Board representative)
  • B.J. Natanahira (Te Runanga o Te Rarawa representative)
  • David Russell
  • Russell Shackleton
  • Sarah Wale

What's in a name?

Over the years our Museum has been known by many different names which has become confusing. In February 2018, these three names were chosen by the Far North Regional Museum Trustees but they wanted the public to choose the final name:

  • Te Ahu Heritage Museum
  • Museum @ Te Ahu (or Museum at Te Ahu)
  • Far North Regional Museum

Voting for preferred name was placed as a 'Comment' on our Facebook page or dropped in a box at the entrance to the Museum in Te Ahu.

Voting closed on 8 March 2018 and the name 'Museum @ Te Ahu' was chosen.

July 2018: Big win for Museum @ Te Ahu

Museum @ Te Ahu has secured lottery funding for an off-site storage facility, thanks to the Museum Curator, Trustees and Council staff.

The Lottery Environment and Heritage Committee has granted the museum trust $130,000 to establish an environment-controlled archive facility at Pioneer House. The newly refurbished environment will ensure the safe keeping and preservation of the archived heritage collections.

Museum Curator, Whina Te Whiu, says applying for the grant was a collaborative effort, giving effect to the partnership agreement between Council and the Museum Trust signed a little over a year ago. She is now finalising the project plan to deliver the new facility with help from Nina Gobie (FNDC), Museum Assistant, Maraea Brodrick, and museum trustees.

Behind the scenes at the Museum

The mammoth task of upgrading the quality of storage and accessibility of the thousands of items held by the Museum @ Te Ahu is about to begin.

Funding is in place, tenders to undertake the specialist work required are being requested and the staff and Trustees of the museum are raring to go.

The first task will be the thorough cleansing of Pioneer House and the Sanctuary. High quality, industry-standard environmental controls will be installed to ensure that everything is kept at the correct temperature and degree of humidity, eliminating the dangers of damp and mould. This will both protect the collections and provide a healthier working environment for anyone using the space.

Museum Trust Chair, Bronwyn Bauer-Hunt, noted that "this project has been in the wings for a few years now, and the trust is satisfied that the process followed to prepare for this long awaited project has been robust. Trustees, staff and volunteers are very much looking forward to the unearthing of historic treasures that will tell our community story."

Once this work is done the items in storage will be cleaned, catalogued and stored in appropriate cases, shelves or containers. They will be easy to find and readily available to museum staff and any researchers who care to apply for access.

Watch this space ….

Trustees, staff and volunteers
Museum @ Te Ahu Trustees, Staff and Volunteers at the Blessing of the work to be done at Pioneer House and The Sanctuary.

Museum Opening Hours

Winter (June - September)

  • Monday to Friday -
    10.30am to 4.30pm

Summer (October - May)

  • Monday to Friday -
    8.30am to 4.30pm

25 April 2019

  • 8.30am to 4.30pm
    There will also be an ANZAC Service held in the Te Ahu Atrium at 11am.

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