Firth Tower Museum

12 Totara Ave, Matamata
Matamata, Waikato
No Small Museum.

A massive concrete blockhouse was built at Matamata by prominent settler, J.C. Firth, in 1880-81 when it was feared fighting between Maori and Pakeha was set to resume. The tower is now the central feature of this Museum.

Firth's tower was next to his 1879 homestead, but as that was burnt down the 1902 version is here, decorated and complete with time pieces. Also on the grounds are Matamata's 1912 Methodist church, and brought in from around the District and all in working order are a Victorian post office, schoolroom, jail, barn, stables and woolshed as well as several other vintage farm buildings. All the old communications equipment is in the Post Office as well as a tiny second hand bookstore.

The grounds are immaculately maintained and complete with Potager Garden and Orchard, provide a perfect setting for many local events and weddings.

Important in New Zealand History is the 1966 replica of the Memorial that the same JC Firth in 1866 erected to Wiremu Tamihana Tarapipipi Te Waharoa of Ngati Haua. Tamihana, a Christian and a Chief, was a significant figure in the Kingitanga early years and known as Kingmaker during those volatile times.

The Matamata Historical Society combined with the District Council have created here a plethora of exhibits for the interested visitor, even inviting campervans to stay over for a nominal charge.

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