Local identity, Jack Morgan, gave both his name and diverse collections to this wonderful museum located 30km north of the regional city of Whangarei, Northland. The collections reflect the local history of Hukerenui and closely allied communities and areas and include a large collection of stationary engines, most in full working order; agricultural tools; blacksmiths forge; cow shed; the Old Store; a builder and joiner section; separators used to separate milk and cream; logging of often massive Kauri trees and a large assembly of Kauri gum (amber). There are also collections of cameras and other paraphernalia and a sample fence built with timber posts and the ubiquitously New Zealand, Number 8 wire. Photographs and historical details complete the picture and work continues on improving and describing what is there already as well as new gifts and acquisitions.
Hukerenui and much of the local landscape was covered in thick native forest when opened up for settlement in 1886. The school opened in 1889 and will this year celebrate its 125th anniversary in October. Through logging and deliberate clearing, productive farmland was gradually created. Early transport was very difficult, especially in winter as the constant winter rain made the track into a virtual bog. In summer it was rough and dusty. Things changed for the better in around 1901-02 with the main north railway line reaching Hukerenui and then gradually being extended northwards. Prior to European settlement, the area had been rich in Maori settlement, use and history for hundreds of years and the museum also reflects some of this much older history with artifacts being recovered from local swamps during drainage operations. Other artifacts include canon balls and rockets from the nearby battle site of Ruapekapeka Pa where ended land-related hostilities in 1846.
The Morgan family and helpers have catalogued, recorded and written about the items on display and while there is plenty of opportunity to ask questions, much of it is so well presented and explained as to be self-explanatory.
This is really a place of many treasures and an absolute "must visit" for anybody interested in regional, settler, Maori and logging history.