Captain Cook Pioneer Memorial Cottage

399-407 Wellington Road, Marton

  • Captain Cook Pioneer Memorial Cottage.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Rebecca O'Brien.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2839 Date Entered 2nd April 2004


Extent of List Entry

Registration includes the building, its fixtures, fittings and chattels, and land in part CT WN47C/402 (Lot 29 Deed Plan 14)

City/District Council

Rangitikei District


Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 29, Deeds Plan 14 part CT WN47C/402


Situated amongst a group of historic buildings in the Marton Historic Village is the Captain Cook Pioneer Memorial Cottage, an historic cottage that displays the momentoes of the people of Marton.

The cottage was originally a homestead named 'Glenfield' that was built for Scottish farmer Neil Small and his wife Margaret Sutherland around 1869. Glenfield was situated in the upper reaches of the Tutaenui District, located 5 miles out of Marton.

In 1970 the cottage was donated to the Marton Historical Society by its then owner, local farmer Robert (Bob) Smith. An increasing number of items had been donated to the Society, and the acquisition of the cottage prompted the decision to establish a museum, which would allow them to be displayed in an appropriate manner.

At the time the cottage was donated, it had not been in use for six years and was in need of renovation. Members of the Marton community actively assisted in this process, donating their time and effort to restore the cottage. All rooms that had been added to the cottage since its original construction in 1869 were removed, as it was believed that this would restore the authenticity of the house.

In 1973 the cottage was moved to its present site on the grounds of the Retired Services Association and Citizens Memorial Hall. The site was supplied free of charge by the Marton Borough Council. A new verandah roof was added to the cottage in 1974 and a picket fence was built around the exterior. The cottage then underwent further work to make it suitable for displaying exhibits.

The decision of the Marton Historical Society to display their materials within the house museum was part of a national trend towards this form of exhibiting between 1960 and 1980. The removal of the cottage from its original setting, and the substantial alteration that was conducted in an effort thought to restore its authenticity was not uncommon at this time. Today, however, it is considered appropriate to conserve the original settings as much as possible.

On 1 April 1978 the cottage was officially opened as the 'Captain Cook Pioneer Memorial Cottage'. The name reflects the connection of the Marton township's own name to Captain Cook, who was born in Marton, Cleveland.

Furnished with the items donated by the people of Marton, the cottage is arranged to appear as if a nineteenth century family was still in residence. The nursery, for instance, is furnished with a variety of pieces, including a cot, books, dolls, baby clothes and christening gowns. At ground level, the one and a half storey house features a room at the entrance to the museum, a kitchen and pantry, a parlour, and a bedroom. The upper level has another bedroom and a nursery. Pictures of various early settlers from Marton are displayed throughout the cottage along with other items of relevance to the town's history.

Through exhibiting personal items donated by local families, the Captain Cook Pioneer Memorial Cottage is a monument to the history of people in Marton. The museum holds strong significance because it links the local history of the township with the people of Marton who have been actively involved in the museum's inception and formation. The cottage has been well restored by the people of Marton and includes many exhibits that reflect a form of colonial lifestyle typical not only of the Marton area, but New Zealand in general. Cooks Cottage is a valuable educational resource and is able to provide viewers with a glimpse of a type of colonial lifestyle associated with nineteenth century settlement.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The historical significance of the museum lies within its exhibiting of materials that show history relating to early settlement in Marton.

The Captain Cook Pioneer Memorial Cottage has cultural significance as it houses exhibits that reflect the changing cultural landscape of the Marton township.

The Cottage also has social value due to the way in which it links local history with the local community. The museum was a community project in which a large number of local residents actively participated.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

Through displaying a selection of items that have been donated by the local residents of Marton in the form of a house museum, the Captain Cook Pioneer Memorial Cottage reflects a type of lifestyle associated with early settlement in late Nineteenth and early twentieth century New Zealand.

(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history:

The Captain Cook Pioneer Memorial Cottage has potential to provide knowledge of New Zealand history through its exhibits and their display within the house showing, for example, the importance placed on the separation between public and private spheres within the home.

(e) The community association with, or public esteem for, the place:

There is a strong community association with the museum due its linking of local history with the community. This has been achieved through the museum displaying exhibits that have been donated by the local people of Marton along with residents being actively involved in its inception and formation.

(f) The potential of the place for public education:

Cooks Cottage has educational value through providing an example of a type of lifestyle associated with early settlement in New Zealand history. Members of the public are able to experience and interact with New Zealand history, which makes the museum a valuable educational tool.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

With its placement in the Marton historic village, alongside the Marton General Store and the Snellgrove Barn, Cooks Cottage contributes to the wider historical landscape of the village.


Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Timber with a corrugated iron roof. The house is 1½ levels with the ground level including a room at the entrance to the museum, a kitchen and pantry, a parlour and a bedroom. The second level has another bedroom and a nursery.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1869 -
House constructed for Neil Small and wife Margaret Sutherland

1973 -
Portion of house removed and house relocated to current site

1974 -
New verandah installed and roof replaced

1978 -
Opened for public viewing

Construction Details

Constructed from timber with a corrugated roof.

Completion Date

8th September 2004

Report Written By

Laura Burbury

Information Sources

Journal of the New Zealand Federation of Historical Societies

Journal of the New Zealand Federation of Historical Societies

Paul Melody, 'Marton Cottage Museum Commemorates Great Navigator', vol 1, no 10, July 1980, pp 19-22

Other Information

A fully referenced Registration Report is available from the NZHPT Central Region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.