In New Zealand’s oldest building is a museum where you can get a glimpse of times gone by and find a unique souvenir in the heritage shop.
The Stone Store, situated in the scenic Kerikeri Basin Reserve, provides a fascinating insight into early colonial times in New Zealand.
If you are feeling energetic, walk to the Stone Store from the Rainbow Falls in Kerikeri via the Kerikeri River Track, taking in the scenic Wharepuke Falls and Fairy Pools along the way. Upon arrival, admire the solid old building that stands proudly before you.
With construction beginning in 1832, the Georgian-style building served the Kerikeri Mission Station. The old warehouse became a general store in 1874 and was purchased by Heritage New Zealand in 1975.
Head inside the store to browse the displays and admire the store attendants’ elegant period costumes. Notice how the interior remains true to the origins of the building. Many of the items for sale reflect the early colonial period and others also have a retro theme or at least a typical New Zealand connection. Don’t miss the front room with fun gadgets and souvenirs, showing the sense of humor of the Kiwis.
Take a guided tour of the upstairs Stone Store Museum and adjacent Kemp House, the original mission house and the oldest-surviving building in the country. Learn about the missionaries, Māori warriors and sailors who worked together here, laying the foundations for modern-day New Zealand.
Visit the adjacent café for a coffee, cold drink or an ice cream. Alternatively, enjoy a picnic on the grass while taking in the views of the river inlet and historic sites.
The Stone Store is free to enter, but fees apply for the guided tour of the museum. The shop and museum is open daily year-round, except Christmas Day and Anzac Day. The café is open daily in summer, dropping down to 4 days per week afterwards and closing completely from July to October.
Getting to the Stone Store from Kerikeri by car or taxi is easy, with ample free parking available just across the river. This spot has proud Māori history and the display on the pedestrian bridge to the carpark tells you all about it.