Our beginnings

A glimpse into the history of the Warkworth Museum

The Warkworth Museum truly embodies the spirit of community and collaboration. It all began in the early 1970s. Local residents Jack Keys, a local teacher and historian, and Ken McInnes, a retired farmer, started the ball rolling with discussions about establishing a museum to preserve the rich tapestry of Warkworth and the surrounding Mahurangi district.

Their vision took shape. At a public meeting on December 3, 1973, the community rallied behind the proposal to create a dedicated space to display the past for the present and preserve the present for the future. The Warkworth Museum was a place ‘by the people for the people’. Many locals got behind the project physically, financially or by providing items for the museum.

Museum History 03
Museum Fundraising Board

The museum takes shape

Permission for the museum was sought and granted. By 1977, thanks to the mammoth fundraising efforts and unwavering support, construction of the museum could begin. Then on September 21, 1980, the patron, Norman Parry, opened the doors to reveal the first phase of the Warkworth Museum.

This included what are now the reception area and the Wilson and Tudor Collins rooms. This momentous occasion was well celebrated by all the locals who had worked tirelessly to bring this vision to life.

The museum continued to grow with the second stage, the two-storey Parry Wing, opening in 1983.

In 1998, the Governor General Michael Hardie Boys opened the Founders Wing. This new area further expanding the museum’s capacity to preserve and share our heritage. This wing contained an artefact store, workshop, special textile storage, archives and genealogy rooms, and the ASB foyer with its changing displays.

In the years that have followed, the museum complex has expanded with the addition of historical buildings. We now boast a 1900 outhouse, the tiny 1867 Mahurangi Heads Post Office, Warkworth’s 1912 jail, a bushman’s hut and two army huts the Americans stationed at Warkworth used during World War II. There is also a barn for old machinery displays and workshops for restoring and maintaining artefacts.

By the people for the people

Since its inception, a dedicated army of some 70 volunteers has tended the Warkworth Museum and the exhibitions. These wonderful people generously donate their time and expertise and you can see their passion and commitment in every corner of the museum.

From maintenance and restoration work to assessing and preserving textile artifacts to warmly welcoming visitors at the front desk or managing and tending to the plant or gift shop, our volunteers are the lifeblood of the museum. It is thanks to them that we can all look forward to the continued success and growth of the Warkworth Museum.

Warkworth Museum beginnings

A self-funded institution, the Warkworth Museum relies on the support of visitors and volunteers alike. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a curious traveller, or simply seeking a deeper understanding of New Zealand’s heritage, we invite you to come and experience the resilience, ingenuity, and spirit of those who came before us.

The Warkworth Museum is a place where the past comes alive, and the future is shaped by the stories we tell.


Adult: $7

Child (6-16 years old, under 6 are Free): $3

Family (2 Adults plus children): $15


Opening Hours

Open Daily from 10 am to 3pm

Closed – Christmas Day, Good Friday and the morning of Anzac Day.

How to get here.