Welcome to Ongaonga Museum
Open throughout the year every Sunday from 1 pm until 4 pm. Note during winter when it is cold and wet we may close earlier at 3 pm. Entry is free! Donations are welcome.
See the events calendar for upcoming events and for holiday opening hours.
Due to the Covid-19 level 2 restrictions, the Ongaonga Historic Society Victorian Market Day is now set for the 04 of October 2020. We apolgise for the short notice on the postponement and look forward to welcoming you all again this year. Come along, dress in your ‘Sunday best’ and enjoy the family fun and traditional treats.
Please click the building names below to find out more.
Old School House
Built in 1869 by Mr H. H Bridge, the founder of Ongaonga, this building was initially built as a
place where local people could gather before it became a school serving local Ongaonga children in 1874.
The school is still on its original site and was opened as the Old School Museum in 1966. It is the founding
building of the Ongaonga museum.
The butcher shop was owned by WC Ross who was the local Ongaonga village butcher. As well as selling meat goods in the shop which had a sawdust floor and a native kahikatea wooden butchers block, he also delivered locally. The butchers shop was relocated in March 1988 from its original Bridge Street site across the road to its current Ongaonga museum location.
The old jail was built in the early 1900s and contained a station office as well as a cell. It was an active policing station serving the Ongaonga area until August 1955 when the police station was closed. It was later relocated to the Ongaonga museum grounds.
The military hut begin life at Linton Army camp. It was then moved and used by the Central Hawke's Bay College for cadet training. It was moved to its present location at the Ongaonga Museum in May 1982. It contains a number of war artefacts and exhibits from the Boer war and the two world wars connected with the Ongaonga district and families.
The old cottage was built in 1876 on Wellington Road,Waipukurau. It was built for the matron and master of the Waipukurau hospital.It also served as a local maternity ward where the midwife stayed to assist and deliver babies of local women giving birth. It was later moved onto the Ongaonga museum site.
The wool shed was built approximately 1910 when mechanical shearing began and started en masse in the local area. The wool shed is built from native local heart matai timber and was relocated to the museum in 1995 from Hinerua. Before moving to the museum, the wool shed belong to Alfred Reeves, a long-time identity of the Wakarara area.
Pioneer Bush Hut
This pioneer bush settler hut is true to the 1860-1870s period and it served as a home to the first settlers that cleared bush, farmed and served the Ongaonga district. It is made from slab timber milled from local native bush timber and the timber runs vertically in the building. It has a mud lined chimney which is typical to the type built in the 1872 to 1880 period.
The orange bush hut was built in 1964 up in the Ruahine Forest Park Ranges. It is coloured orange so that it has high visibility in and amongst the dense bush. It served as a sleeping and living quarters for those who were on long multi day trips in the ranges. It was then moved to the Ongaonga museum site in 1995.
This outhouse is made from slabs of native timber milled locally. It is typical of the long drop style used by pioneers and in some instances long drops were used well into the 50s and 60s and many country and township homes. More often than not it was not a door on the outhouses and it was very draughty. The outhouses were often towed to a 'new' dug hole when necessary.
Pendle Hill Homestead
Pendle Hill was built in the mid 1890s and was relocated to Ongaonga in 1990. It is a multi-room small pioneer family Homestead and the home of the Fletcher family who were early settlers in Whakarara of Ongaonga district. The Homestead over the years has been the scene of many wonderful get togethers and is used regularly today by local community groups.