Apart from the rural charms of this village, the reason for visiting is the superb Kauri Museum. The giant cross-sections of trees are astounding in themselves but the entire industry is brought to life through video kiosks, artefacts, fabulous furniture and marquetry, and reproductions of a pioneer sawmill, boarding house, gumdigger’s hut and Victorian home. The Gum Room holds a weird and wonderful collection of kauri gum, the amber substance that can be carved, sculpted and polished to a jewel-like quality. The museum shop stocks mementoes crafted from kauri wood and gum.
Facing the museum is the tiny kauri-built Matakohe Pioneer Church (1867), which served both Methodists and Anglicans, and acted as the community’s hall and school. Nearby, you can wander through a historic school house (1878) and post office/telephone exchange (1909).