The Helensville Museum on the Riverside Reserve opened to the public in 2006,
with displays spread over three buildings. The emphasis is to portray as many aspects
of life in the South Kaipara district as possible so to bring to life the trials, tribulations
and successes of the settlers of the district.
It has been said: “To know the past helps to understand the present and to face
As well as housing the administration, research and service facilities of the Museum the
Schoolhouse features the Kaipara Room, which portrays the background to the history of
Some Ngati Whatua artefacts, represent the lives of the district’s first
settlers. Then came the kauri millers (McLeod families initially), the shipping fraternity,
farmers, gum diggers, railway people, commercial, industrial and business interests. Fishing
has been a significant activity in the Kaipara district. The importance of the Harbour
and river is marked by the large wall map, and a photographic display (the Arthur West
Memorial Collection and the recently presented Kaipara Cruising Club Collection))
Schools, churches, hospitals and doctors were all featured in the growth and development
of the area. The Hot Springs at Parakai provided the opportunity for visitors and
tourism from the early days onward.
Tribute is paid to the pioneer families through the portraits, family and oral histories and
much information is available through the archives.
The history of the Kaukapakapa district is faithfully presented in the Alan Jordan photographic
The addition of the Schoolhouse at the move to the River Reserve allowed Hedley House
to be become an Edwardian cottage portraying all the rooms of a house of that era, and
a big refurbishment project was undertaken, which involved the rebuilding of a coal range,
and new displays for a pantry/scullery, bathroom and washhouse.
The annex of Hedley House portrays a number of aspects of social life and history of the
area – including education, wartime activities, businesses, organisations, hobbies
The oldest building of the Museum, the courthouse dates back to 1864, and played a significant
role in the history of the area. As a native land court it saw much of the land alienated
from Maori ownership developed by European settlers. In later years it became a Magistrate’s
Court and the interior is little changed from the days of the early Twentieth Century. The
figure at the bench represents Judge Rogan, the first resident magistrate, who had
the courthouse built in the 1860s.
The largest of the three small rooms opening off the courthouse, although currently used
for storage will be developed as a small theatre, or further display space.
Hector Nicholls Barn
This building houses farming, fishing, milling and similar equipment.