Fodor's Expert Review Tawhiti Museum

Stratford Family

This isn't a boring old museum but rather an outstanding presentation of Taranaki’s lively history. It’s the creation of former schoolteacher-cum-historian Nigel Ogle, who has created life-size fiberglass figures and set them into historic scenes: dioramas depict the huge intertribal wars of the 1830s and European–Māori land wars of the 1860s, for example. More than 800 model warriors, none of them the same, have been created. In "Traders and Whalers," you glide by lantern light on a boat through an eerie world of traders and whalers and witness their first encounters with Māori tribes. Outside, Tawhiti Bush Railway highlights historical logging operations in Taranaki (runs the first Sunday of each month). Mr. Badger's Café, with its Wind in the Willows theme, and a quaint gift shop, can bring you back to the present. To reach the museum, in southern Taranaki, head south on State Highway 3 for 30 km (18 miles). It's a fascinating stop, but well off the beaten path.

Family History Museum

Quick Facts

401 Ohangai Rd.
Hawera, Taranaki  4672, New Zealand


Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Museum NZ$15, Traders and Whalers NZ$15, Bush Railway NZ$6, Closed Mon.–Sat. June–Aug.

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