The Ongaonga Historical Society

The Ongaonga Historical Society was first established in December 1964 as the Old School Museum Committee. Made up of enthusiastic local people and families interested in preserving the schoolhouse and led by E.S. Bibby. Over time, the museum has grown to the larger collection of 13 buildings that stand on the museum grounds. The committee is now the Ongaonga Historical Society and oversees the museum grounds and buildings.

Ongaonga Historical Society* is an incorporated, registered society and charity and works purely through volunteer membership and through the assistance of donations and gifts.  The society works hard to preserve the buildings and their stories for future generations to enjoy. Thanks to the vision and passion of the original committee’s principles we can continue in their steed

Our charitable aims are as follows: 

  • The Ongaonga museum collection of buildings, artefacts and records are subject to proper custodial control and that these remain available to future generations 
  • The museum buildings, artefacts and records are maintained and conserved to the highest standards and that visitors can view them in the best possible conditions 
  • Much of the museum buildings artefacts are displayed so they can be viewed by members of the public and that records can be made available as appropriate to members of the public
  • The buildings, artefacts and records we hold are presented and interpreted to enhance public appreciation and understanding of early New Zealand settlement (more specifically 1870s to 1940s) and of rural and pioneer life in the Ongaonga area of Central Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
  • Access to the Ongaonga museum and its collection is increased (subject to capacity) to ensure that as many people as possible can visit the collection of museum buildings and view the artefacts and the records we contain 
  • Appropriate acquisitions are made to the collection when resources become available 

Although we are one of only two museums in Central Hawkes Bay, our work is undertaken by volunteers, donations and gifts. We operate without public funding of any kind.  The donation income we receive is devoted to the achievement of our charitable aims. If you would like to support the Ongaonga Historical Society or are interested in becoming a member, please contact us. Our plight today is just as important as what it was in 1964 as we embark on the large task ahead of restoring the Coles factory building so visitors can fully appreciate and enjoy this for many years to come. 

* Ongaonga Historical Society Incorporated is a not for profit charitable society registered with the New Zealand Companies office. Incorporation number 635758.  

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