31 December 2008
The Mangawhai Historical Society owns a small ‘Early Settler’ type museum located in Mangawhai village, 27km from Wellsford. The display includes artifacts from early Maori settlement in the area, later European settlement, gum digging and shipping items along with a display of photographs. Family histories, community group records and oral interviews form part of a valuable resource. The present museum site is also home to the 1864 Te Arai Library, which contains many of its original books and also the first Mangawhai post office.
The community is keen to display much more than this, so a new museum building is planned for a commanding site right on the Twin Coast Northland Highway. The project should commence late in 2008. The design of the new museum is inspired by the stingray (a Maori translation of Mangawhai is ‘stream of the stingray’) with a soaring ‘winged’ entrance foyer. The theme of this new museum will be the fabulous Mangawhai Harbour. Stories will be told about the area including Maori, shipping, ship wrecks, the wharf as a transport centre, the 1862 development of a breakwater, and later harbour restoration, sand mining, dune preservation and the protection efforts for our unique and endangered Fairy Terns. Recently the harbour has attracted development to the area, drawing residents and holidaymakers who delight in the swimming, fishing, boating and beautiful coastal and dune scenery. The typical Mangawhai beach holiday of the past is also a story we wish to tell through the new museum.
The Mangawhai community has worked hard over many years to preserve the unique features of our natural environment and the chosen images, voices, models and other representations will assist these stories to come alive. Acclaimed museum display designer Chris Currie has designed the new display and the community is delighted with his plans.
Image: Mangawhai Harbour, Mangawhai Museum