Whaling Museum,
House and Gardens

Butler Point is one of Northland’s most fascinating heritage tourist attractions. Notable for its association with the early history of the Far North of New Zealand the property boasts the Whaling Museum, acknowledged as one of the most comprehensive private museums of its kind in New Zealand, as well as Butler House & Gardens, the residence of Captain William Butler built in the 1840s. A Pa (hillfort) on the property provides evidence of earlier occupation by Māori.

Visit us and take a tour of the Whaling Museum, Butler House and Gardens.

Tours of the museum, house and gardens are by appointment only and can be booked online.


Explore Butler Point

Situated just a short drive from Kerikeri, Bay of Islands, and close to the picturesque village of Mangonui, the centre of Doubtless Bay, Butler Point provides a fantastic cultural day trip, or a wonderful stopping point on your Northland itinerary, before exploring Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach.

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Whaling Museum

Explore the history of whaling in New Zealand at Butler Point Whaling Museum, commemorating the close association of the Point and Mangonui with the global whaling industry. Exhibits represent one of the finest private collections in New Zealand and include a refurbished whaleboat; a reconstructed tryworks; examples of whalebone and a large range of harpoons and cutting in equipment. The Whaling Museum is a member of the Northland Museums Association, the Nantucket Historical Association, USA and the Museum of America and the Sea, USA. Read more.

House and Gardens

Butler House, originally built in the 1840’s by Captain William Butler, has been lovingly restored over the past five decades by the Ferguson Family. Recognised by Heritage New Zealand as a nationally significant heritage building the house present visitors with a snapshot of the interior of a New Zealand colonial house of the mid to late 19th century. The beautiful gardens of exotic and native flora, include large ancient Pohutukawa trees, a macadamia orchard, expansive grounds and picnic facilities. The gardens have been recognised as a ‘Garden of Significance’ with the New Zealand Gardens Trust (NZGT). Read more.
Tours of the museum, house and gardens are by appointment only and can be booked online.

Captain William Butler

William Butler was a retired whaling ship captain who became a successful merchant in northern New Zealand. With strong ties to the whaling industry, Captain Butler became wealthy by provisioning visiting whaling ships, from a store he had constructed on the Point, and by exporting flax and kauri timber and gum to Australia. Butler also advertised a service, recruiting crew members for the whaleships.