• H.M.S. Buffalo







Mercury Bay Museum
11A The Esplanade
Whitianga  New Zealand

Phone 07 866 0730

Hours 10am to 4pm
Open daily except Christmas Day, Good Friday
& Anzac Day


The Mercury Bay Museum is proud to present a range of historic displays:

The Polynesian Navigator Kupe

Lieutenant (later Captain) James Cook’s 12 days in Mercury Bay wo important facts on his vist here are:

1) He was under orders from the British Council of the Royal Society to observe the transit of the planet Mercury across the face of the sun. He wrote, (by obtaining) "this Observation the Longitude of this place and Country will thereby be very accurately determined".
(Amazing fact: The longitude line that cuts almost midway through Mercury Bay, is directly opposite that of Greenwich.)

2) Cook, Banks, and other members of the ship's company visited Wharetaewa Pa by invitation. This is the first recorded visit by Europeans to a New Zealand pa (or settlement).

Shipwrecks in the Bay

The most important of these is HMS Buffalo, a ship with a colourful history. The museum has a wide range of artifacts from the Buffalo on display. Other shipwreck information is also available.

A Dairy History

This includes a huge factory butter churn, as well as milking shed equipment. This display is scheduled for a major upgrade.

The (award winning) History of Fishing

Unique displays that emphasise the passion the people of Mercury Bay have for the marine environment and fishing, both recreational and commercial.

The 1953 School Room


Natural History

Take a walk through Cathedral Cove and the bush to see the native birds, animals and preditors that inhabit our region. But the best of all is the giant moa bird.

Kauri Logging and Gum Digging

Our Kauri Room displays many artifacts to illustrate this important period in our history. The main milling period was 1862 to 1922. Some interesting facts:
The second largest kauri ever recorded was in this part of the Coromandel Peninsula. First to be built in Australasia: a water-powered sawmill on the Ounuora River (now Mill Creek) and the oldest remaining stone wharf at Ferry Landing (1837).

The Whitianga Blacksmith’s Workplace in 1900

This realistic display contains many of the tools used by blacksmith,Billy Keane.  His smithy was situated in Blacksmiths Lane.

An Historical Agriculture & Machinery  Display

This includes a cart, a horse dray, chaff cutter, engines, whim (or capstan), and a portable steam engine.