This small but fascinating museum has an excellent Māori gallery and quirky displays, which include a 1960s caravan set up as if the occupants have just popped down to the lake. The centrepiece is an elaborately carved Māori meeting house, Te Aroha o Rongoheikume. Historical displays cover trout fishing, volcanic activity and a scale-model diorama of a sawmill tramway.
There's also a gallery devoted to local and visiting exhibitions. Horticulture lovers should check out the rose garden next door, as well as the 'Ora Garden of Wellbeing' in the courtyard, a re-creation of NZ’s gold-medal-winning entry into the 2004 Chelsea Flower Show.