Visit Butler Point Whaling Museum in Mangonui

Mangonui and Butler Point have strong historical ties with the whaling industry. The first recorded Whaleship to visit Doubtless Bay was an American ship in 1792.   Captain Eber Bunker and many other whaling Captains had contact with the local Maori.  Department of Conservation archaeological excavations on the pa (hillfort) at Butler Point have uncovered such items of non-Maori manufacture as clay pipe pieces and glass bottle fragments. Artefacts belonging to local Maori are displayed by their courtesy in the Museum.

What sorts of things are on display at the museum?

Among the items on display in the Museum are a refurbished whaleboat; a reconstructed tryworks; examples of whalebone; a large range of harpoons and cutting in equipment; paraphernalia associated with shipboard life, including a full set of ship's surgical instruments; old prints and photographs of aspects of the whaling industry; and models of whaleships and whaleboats.

Butler Point is notable for its association with the early history of the Far North. On the property are a Whaling Museum, acknowledged as one of the most comprehensive private museums of its kind in New Zealand; Butler House, the residence of Captain William Butler built in 1847; and Gardens of exotic and native flora, including extensive stands of ancient Pohutukawa trees.

  • Suggested duration 1 to 2 hours
  • Adults – $25
  • Kids – $5