Firth Tower Museum - Matamata

226a Tower Road, Matamata 3320

07 884 0060


Enjoy the tranquil gardens, picnic under venerable oaks, and learn about late 1800s and early 1900s life through the museum exhibits and displays created by the Matamata Historical Society housed across 13 buildings. 

The Firth Tower was built in 1882 by Josiah Clifton Firth to provide a lookout over the country side. It was also used as the estate office and sleeping quarters for single men. The tower stands on rising ground commanding an extensive view of the surrounding country. The tower is 16 metres high and is one of the earliest reinforced concrete buildings in New Zealand. The tower was refurbished as the centrepiece of the museum in 1978, with the lookout rebuilt in 1990 by Stanley Construction.

The museum occupies the site of the headquarters of the Matamata Estate, covering 56,000 acres. The present 1902 homestead replaces the old 1879 station homestead that was razed by fire. In 1904 the estate was divided into 117 farms and the then manager, John McCaw gained the Tower Farm. The front rooms of the house and the kitchen, dairy and laundry, have been furnished in the style of the late 1880’s when the McCaws began their residence.

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.

Matamata’s Firth Tower is also used for celebrations, weddings, working purposes or family picnics, with the relaxing surrounds and wealth of history appealing to all ages. Firth Tower Museum offers an interactive education programme that provides an opportunity to engage in 'hands on' activities to gain appreciation of life in New Zealand in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Contact us to discuss your requirements and make a booking. 

Opening Hours

Winter opening hours are Thursday to Monday from 10am to 4pm.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays closed.

Closed on public holidays