Jack Morgan’s museum and Ruapekapeka Pa Historic Reserve


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Driving north along Route 1 back to Paihia, we stopped at Jack Morgan’s museum. Lawrence had thought that Jack Morgan was someone else, but it turned out he had been a prominent local man who’d collected farm equipment! Still, we had a good chat with the gentleman in charge of the museum about the charms of the country and its remoteness.

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The museum had an interesting collection of cream-makers, and if you have made cream by hand as I have in the past, you will know how important these gadgets were! It also had an area set aside with a collection of photos of locals and their roles in World War 1. The knitted poppies on the wall display were quite striking, and I saw something very similar later in the Auckland Museum. There was also a mock-up of a grocery shop, and both Lawrence and I felt a little disconcerted to see items on display with which we were familiar as children; so my history is now in a museum!

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Nearby was the Ruapekapeka Pa Historic Reserve. ‘Pa’ means ‘fort’ and this was the site of the last major battle between the Maoris and British troups in Dec. 1845 - Jan. 1846 (the last War of the North). The Maoris had dug extensive groundworks and tunnels into the hillside, from which you could see for miles around. These sites are considered sacred, so there are special monuments as you enter the battlefields and what look like totum pole.

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The only other visitors to the site on this day were a family of turkeys, out for a late afternoon stroll. 

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At the top of the hill was a sign to Timperley’s Bush Scenic Reserve and a giant Puriri tree! So, we had to visit that! It certainly was a big tree, but its size isn’t obvious in this photo. We could not get closer to the tree because it was on a steep muddy hillside, and this was not the time or place to slip down a hillside

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© Helen Gray 2019