The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum of New Zealand, located on Cable Street on Wellington’s waterfront.
Te Papa Tongarewa roughly translates as “the place of treasures of this land.”
The Museum was established in 1992 by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Act 1992. Te Papa had its official opening on 14 February 1998.
Te Papa is open every day from 10am till 6pm, and until 9pm on Thursdays. Entry is free but there may be charges for special exhibitions and activities. For information on parking please check their website.
The museum covers six floors of interactive exhibits.
The Awesome Forces exhibition on level 2 explores New Zealand’s geological history showing how our landscape has been shaped by erosion, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. A highlight is an interactive shake house where visitors can experience an earthquake.
Also on level 2 is the Mountain to Sea exhibition where on display are over 2500 animals and plants. On display in 6 metre long case is a 495 kilogram squid. Visitors can experience the squid’s underwater habitat in a 3D show.
The theme of our powerful landscape is continued on level 3 in the exhibition Blood Earth Fire, which explores our ever changing landscape. A short documentary film Our Place screens, in which people show the place that is most important to them.
Those wishing to learn about Māori history can head to the Mana Whenua, Te Marae, Whiti Te Rā! The Story of Ngāti Toa Rangatira (local iwi Tribe of Wellington), and Signs of a Nation (Treaty of Waitangi) exhibitions on level 4.
In the Passports exhibition guests can explore the stories of some the communities that migrated to New Zealand. Tangata o le Moana: The story of Pacific people in New Zealand explores the people from the Pacific Islands that came to call New Zealand home.
Also on level 4 visitors can learn more about New Zealand in the 20th century with the Slice of Heaven exhibition. A highlight on display is the skeleton of celebrated race horse Phar Lap (1926 – 1939). While Te Papa has his bones, The National Museum of Australia in Canberra has his heart and the Museum of Victoria in Melbourne has his hide mounted on a model.
The national art collection of Te Papa is housed on levels 5 and 6. The galleries are constantly being updated and changed so there is always new works on display to see. There is also an interactive art studio space on level 5 for budding artists.
There are also two cafes onsite, the Te Papa Cafe on the ground floor, which is open from 9am to 5pm and Level 4 Expresso, which is open 10am to 5:30pm, with a late closing of 8:30pm on Thursday.
For shopping there are two stores the Te Papa Store on level 1 and the Te Papa Kids’ Store on level 2.