The first custom office to serve Port Ahuriri was built in 1855, four years after the British Crown purchased the harbor and surrounding land from the Māori in 1851. It was replaced in 1856 and again in 1895 with this current structure. The Old Customhouse remained operational until 1953. In 1988, the historic building was given a reprieve from demolition when it was purchased by the Hawke’s Bay Harbour Board. The following year, it was completely renovated and is now rentable as a special event venue. Notice the black cauldron near the entrance. The Iron Pot was used by European settlers in the early 19th century to cook whale blubber and convert it into oil.