Skip to main content

Martinborough Museum

Eighty year old wedding dress.

The Martinborough Colonial Museum is a treasure trove of interesting local artefacts and ephemera. Located in the old Martinborough Library, it is full of fine hand-made and embroidered clothing and linen (including several very fine wedding dresses).  In the old laundry (wash house) are old washing machines and even a mangle.

The kitchen, with an early range built into the fire place, demonstrates the challenges of cooking in pioneer times. It also has much old kitchen equipment and appliances.

There is much to interest men as well, with the old Martinborough and Hinakura switchboards from the former manual telephone exchanges, together with old carpentry and other tools.

Beautiful hand embroidery.

Detail of intricate embroidery on pillowslip.

Another wedding dress

The old iron bedstead is used to display beautiful hand-embroidered and smocked children's clothes and linen.

Manual switchboard from the Hinakura telephone exchange. When locals wanted to call someone, they had to ask the operator at the exchange to connect them.

In the late 19th century Martinborough was a popular centre for deer shooting.  This sepia photo, displayed in the museum, suggests the man in the photo was responsible for shooting all these stags.  Shooting was encouraged as, by 1913, deer had become something of a problem, with 20-30,000 estimated to be in the district.

Further reading
Deer shooting in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Martinborough Museum is in The Square, Martinborough, and is open from 2 - 4 pm at weekends.

NZ Museums listing


Popular posts from this blog

Featherston Military Camp

B Company, 22nd reinforcements, on the Rimutaka Hill, 1917. The men are wearing toitoi on their hats. 00-38/

In January 1916 the biggest army training camp in New Zealand opened in Featherston. The camp occupied the land on both sides of the main road between Featherston and Tauherenikau. In 1916 the camp was the biggest settlement in the Wairarapa at a time when Masterton’s population was 5,500. It covered almost 30 hectares. Today there is only a memorial to the camp by State Highway 2.

McRae-Tatham wedding, 1902

Wairarapa Daily Times, Volume XXVI, Issue 7325, 1 December 1902, Page 2

One of the prettiest weddings which has taken place on the East Coast, for a long time, was celebrated on Wednesday last, at Homewood, the residence of Mrs Tatham.

The contracting parties were Nehemiah, youngest son of the late Nehemiah McRae, Esq., of Nelson, and Effie Mabel, second daughter of the late Frederic E. Tatham, of Homewood. The bride, who was given away by her brother, Mr J. H. Tatham, was dressed in soft white silk trimmed with lace insertion, and wore the usual bridal veil and orange blossoms. The bridesmaids were Miss Ivy Tatham, sister of the bride, and Miss Marjorie Ward, niece of the bridegroom, and were prettily attired in white silk dresses. The bouquets, which were carried by bride and bridesmaids, were composed of white roses, syringa, and maiden hair fern.

The bridegroom was attended by Hugh Morrison, Esq., of Blairlogie, as best man. The bridegroom's present to the bride w…

1942 Earthquake: Masterton's business area badly wrecked

Evening Post, 26 June 1942


Masterton's main street was a sorry sight yesterday.

With huge piles of brick and masonry sprawling across the footpaths and roadway, shattered shop windows, and trailing high-tension lines, the condition of the mile-long thoroughfare was testimony to the intensity of the previous night's earthquake. In the residential areas householders suffered considerable damage to property, and it appears that Masterton took the main shock. Miraculously no casualties of any sort have been reported.