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Hop in the boat and journey around the darkened cavern. Sail through a battle between Maori and pakeha - a wild pig rushes the boat - whalers and traders hail a war canoe. The bush and Taranaki coastal scenery, created by Weta Workshop, could not be more real. The life-sized figures, animals and birds, are the work of artist and museum curator Nigel Ogle. This is early Taranaki history in 3D.

Tawhiti museum near Hawera is home to 'Whalers and Traders', a spectacular living-history display, the brain-child of Nigel Ogle. Children are Nigel's target audience but the exhibit offers entertainment and education for everyone. Beyond the cavern journey is a series of dioramas, beautifully detailed miniature scenes which expand and build upon the drama in the cavern.

But there's no stopping Nigel Ogle. He's already planning his next project which centres on Taranaki's famous son author Ronald Hugh Morrieson. The writer's novel 'Predicament' has been made into a movie and Nigel has bought a set from the movie to use in his new exhibit. He's also recreating the attic of Morrieson's house where he used to write.

See images from the museum's display.