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Kiwi towns

What’s so great about Matakohe things to do

  • 4 minutes

@Find A Grave

Best bits a kiwi town

Find out what happened to the majestic kauri, who chopped down the forest and why. Matakohe is the home to the fabulous Kauri Museum and the adjoining kauri framed 19th century church and school house. The stunning display of heritage roses draws visitors every spring to the area.

Kauri Museum, Northland, New Zealand @KauriMuseum
Kauri Museum @KauriMuseum


  • Kauri Museum visit including excellent gift shop
  • Heritage rose collection surrounding 19th century church
  • Kauri Bushmans Reserve walk


The Kauri Museum narrates the stories of European settlers and Maoris involved in the kauri timber logging industry. Highlights include an interactive hands-on displays; the largest collection of Kauri Gum in the world; Real Steam Sawmill with moving saws, flat belts, countershafts, pulleys and steam engines; huge Kauri logs and real equipment for the transporting and milling of Kauri Timber, and collecting Kauri Gum; and a magnificent collection of antique Kauri furniture. The grounds have an ethnographic collection of the school house and original church. The grounds are known for their extensive nineteenth century rose collection

Built 1866 the kauri timber church is exquisite with its surrounding rose garden. The church is available for hire as a location for wedding photographs or ceremonies.

The post office functioned between 1909 – 1988 as the community hub. The building is built from locally milled kauri. The post office museum has displays of featured models and original equipment. It includes a fascinating exhibition of old telephones and the manual telephone exchange in the Postmaster’s Residence

Matakohe pioneer church, New Zealand @NZMuseums Matakohe pioneer church @NZMuseums
Matakohe Post office, New Zealand @Wikipedia Matakohe Post office, New Zealand @Wikipedia


The Coates Memorial Church is available for weddings and funerals. The Church is set in the historic Matakohe Cemetery which is open to the public and is the resting place of both early families to the area and local residents.


A pioneer home is now a living museum with the original coal ranges, kauri bench kitchen tops, native timber panelling, photographs of bullock teams in the billiard room and hand crafted furniture. The grounds are planted in the style of the 1880’s. The house is open by appointment, contact Kauri Museum for details.

Matakohe Coates Memorial Church, New Zealand @Find A Grave
Matakohe Coates Memorial Church @Find A Grave
Matakohe - Limestone Island @MatakoheLimestoneIsland
Matakohe - Limestone Island @MatakoheLimestoneIsland


Picturesque industrial ruins (cement mine), regenerating bush and views of the Kaipara Harbour. Forest and Bird lobbied vigorously for Matakohe-Limestone Island to become a scenic reserve. Today Friends of Matakohe-Limestone Island are the volunteers supporting the island’s status as a pest free sanctuary. Matakohe-Limestone Island is an open access island – which means anyone is free to visit the island. The main things to remember if you are visiting are NO DOGS, NO FIRES, NO CAMPING and NO STOWAWAYS. M.V Waipapa Sunday Cruises

The M.V Waipapa runs afternoon cruises to the island. Cruises depart from Whangarei.  Pacific Coast Kayak Tours offers half and full day sea kayak trips to the island.  They have a variety of double and sea kayaks and can cater to a variety of age groups. For more details check out Visit the Island – How to get here



There is free entry to the 120 heritage roses, recognised by New Zealand Heritage Rose Society with an award of Nationally Significant Planting of Historic Roses.

The rose collection is catalogued and includes popular names such as Charles de Mills, Cecile Brunner, La France and Mutabilis. The garden is managed by volunteers from Heritage Roses Northland.

At the museum, there are formal beds of shrub roses surrounded with box hedging and climbers trained on the tennis court fencing adjacent to the museum.

Matakone Rose Gardens @NZHerald
Matakone Rose Gardens @NZHerald
Kauri Bushmans Reserve @NZHistory
Kauri Bushmans Reserve @NZHistory


A boardwalk loop through a surviving kauri grove gives visitors a sense of what the forest was before the wholesale logging cleared the land. The 15 minute walk is suitable for all age groups. The reserve is a memorial to the kauri loggers of the nineteenth century.

The Kauri Bushmen’s Association was formed in 1936 with membership open to all men who had worked in kauri forests prior to 1914. The association held three annual reunions before going into recess during the Second World War. It resumed activity in 1949 and bought a fine stand of kauri trees that had been preserved by the Sterling family near Paparoa.

Length: 300 metres


The trail follows tracks using the original one lane bridges of Matakohe.

It’s suitable for families and a great way to explore the Kaipara coastline, with its native bush sections and gentle rural landscapes.

A stunning pou grounds the trail to the whenua in this place. Carved by master carver Te Warihi Hetaraka the sculpture speaks of the weaving together of the people from the four corners of the earth, called by the manu (bird) atop the pou, as we come together as one.

Ruawai trail @kaipara.govt
Ruawai trail @kaipara.govt
Ruawai Stopbank Walking Cycle Trail @NZHerald
Ruawai Stopbank Walking Cycle Trail @NZHerald

Ruawai Stopbank Trail

  • The Trail runs south along the stopbank from Ruawai Wharf for 4km to the end of Simpson Road. It is suitable for all ages and abilities. The ride offers views of the Kaipara Harbour and access to a very special wide-open space.
  • Cyclists may choose to loop around Wilson’s Landing Road or continue along Simpsons Road for a longer ride, either to Tinopai or the café at Matakohe Museum.
  • The Ruawai Flats were once a tidal swamp and over the past 100 years a man-made system of drains, floodgates and stopbanks have transformed it into some of the most fertile and productive kumara and dairy farmland in Northland. See the floodgates operating, learn about the history of the area from informative signs and observe the wildlife as you ride.
  • Facilities – there are parking, toilets and drinking fountains at the Ruawai Wharf and a Café in Ruawai township.


The town is on the tidal estuary of the Matakohe River, tributary of Arapaoa River flows into the vast Kaipara Harbour. State Highway 12 traverses the small town


  • Gordon Coates, Prime Minister 1925-28, born on the Hukatere Peninsula at Ruatuna, and attended Matakohe School. He was New Zealand’s first native born Prime Minister.


  • Mata: headland; kohe (shortened form of kohekohe): native tree.


  • Approximately 400


  • Outstanding museum with its interactive exhibits it will attract kids as well as heritage fans

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