Surrounded by mature trees and lovely gardens, Tauranga's original mission station incorporates the Bay of Plenty's earliest buildings, along with one of the country's oldest oaks and first pianos. Fascinating guided tours tell the story of the mission, founded by Anglican priest Alfred Nesbit Brown in 1838, and its relations with local Māori. The property remained in the extended Brown family until 1997, retaining much of its original furniture, books and other chattels.

The oldest building is Nesbit Brown's free-standing office, built in 1838. The family lived in a whare (traditional house) built of bulrushes until 1847, when the house was completed. There's also a reconstructed chapel (the original fell down) and various outbuildings.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Tauranga attractions

1. Robbins Park

0.17 MILES

At its best in late spring and summer, this verdant pocket of roses sits behind an ivy-covered colonnade on a cliff overlooking the harbour, and is like a…

2. Mission Cemetery

0.19 MILES

This shady little cemetery, overlooking the bridge, has some interesting memorials relating to battles fought between local Māori and government forces in…

3. Monmouth Redoubt

0.24 MILES

Shaded by huge pohutukawa trees, spooky Monmouth Redoubt was originally a Māori pā (fortified village), then taken over and adapted by British soldiers…

4. Hairy Maclary & Friends

0.43 MILES

Hairy Maclary author Lynley Dodd lived in Tauranga for years, and NZ’s favourite literary animals were immortalised in bronze on Tauranga’s wharf in 2015…

5. Tauranga Art Gallery

0.46 MILES

The city's pre-eminent gallery stages challenging exhibitions of thought-provoking contemporary work. The building itself is a former bank, though you’d…

6. Brain Watkins House


A fairly ordinary-looking Victorian villa stranded on a hill as the roads around it grew, Brain Watkins House (no, not Brian) was built in 1881 from kauri…

7. Hūria Marae

1.43 MILES

Located on a nondescript suburban street, this marae (traditional meeting place) has a sensationally carved wharenui (meeting house). This is the private…

8. Classic Flyers NZ

1.74 MILES

This fascinating aviation museum, beside the airport, is filled with predominantly military aircraft. You can scramble through the living quarters of the…