Kauri Museum

Orientation & Geography

Oceania, New Zealand, Northland

The Kauri Museum is in the west coast village of Matakohe, Northland, New Zealand. The museum, to the south of the Waipoua Forest, contains many exhibits that tell the story of the pioneering days when early European settlers in the area extracted kauri timber and kauri gum. The museum has over 4000 sq metres of undercover exhibits, including the largest collection of Kauri Gum in the world, and the largest collection of Kauri furniture. It has a model of a 1900s kauri house with furniture and models in the dress of the early years, and an extensive collection of photographs and pioneering memorabilia. On the wall, there are full-scale circumference outlines of the huge trees, including one of 8 1/2 meters, larger even than Tane Mahuta. The museum includes a working mock-up of a steam sawmill. It has been called "New Zealand's best kept secret". The museum tells its story from the colonial viewpoint, and presents its representation of the kauri gum industry as part of the process of creating the New Zealand identity. It has little to say about negative aspects, such as the impact on the Maori people. The museum has however helped raise awareness of the need to conserve the remaining forest through a display of photographs by the conservationist Stephen King, presented in partnership with the Waipoua Forest Trust.