Otaki Museum, Kapiti Island

F_SE15_museum-whaling-kapitiThe current exhibition, “Kapiti Island” is one of the most colourful and attractive the museum has had, with beautiful images and a wealth of information.

This exhibition will be on for several months.

The Otaki Museum
49 Main Street Otaki

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
10 am – 2 pm.

Group visits can be made at other times; to make a booking leave a message on 06 364 6886 or email otakimuseum@paradise.net.nz

Viewing the Island from Otaki

Kapiti Island, the people who lived there, the whalers, the Maori landowners, the creating of the island bird sanctuary: all these stories are told in the latest exhibition at the Otaki Heritage Bank Museum.

Kapiti Island
Kapiti Island

For over a thousand years various Maori tribal groups have occupied the land with several iwi today retaining links to the island. Descendants of the Webber and Parata whanau still own the 30 acre Waiorua land at the north end of Kapiti Island.

The displays include photographs and artefacts loaned by a number of the families with ties to the island, whether through the whalers, farmers or iwi. The Conservation Department’s display in the former bank manager’s office details the development of the wildlife sanctuary over the last 100 or so years, particularly since the final eradication of the rats in 1999.

The record of the island rangers is there, noting names and the years they lived and worked on the island. An early caretaker, James Bennett died during his tenure there in 1911-23 and was buried on the island. Kāpiti’s Peter Daniel was the longest serving ranger, spending 22 years out there from1976-98. During the late ‘90’s, world renowned conservationist David Attenborough, visited the island.

Jim Webber was at the exhibition opening and shared some of his memories of his early years, growing up on Kapiti. “It is a very special place for our family,” he reminisced. “We were self-sufficient, growing a lot of our food and catching seafoods and some birds – no keruru though! Other supplies came over by boat.”

The idea for the Kapiti Island exhibition came from Museum Trust member, Ann Thorpe the great- great-granddaughter of one of the early whalers.

The exhibition will run until February 2016, with the museum open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturdays between 10am and 2pm.

Margaret Andrews