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6 must-see exhibits at Australasia’s most visited museum

Te Papa Tongarewa hosts thought-provoking exhibitions from the ground-breaking Gallipoli: The scale of our war to the national art collection in Ngā Toi. Thanks to the free entry, you can easily go back for more!

1. Gallipoli: The scale of our war

This ground-breaking exhibition combines the worlds of movies, model-making, and museums to immerse visitors in the Gallipoli campaign. Crafted by Oscar-winning Weta Workshop, the towering presence of eight giant figures, at 2.4 times human scale, highlights the enormous impact that the war had on these everyday people.

2. Marae (meeting place)

Te Marae

Te Papa is currently home to New Zealand’s oldest wharenui (meeting house), a beautiful illustration of carving techniques traditionally used by Māori. For a more contemporary take, Te Marae on Level 4, with its bold colours and forward-thinking design, is a striking example of how Te Papa uses modern art techniques to tell traditional stories of Maori culture. 

3. Phar Lap

Phar Lap

A truly trans-Tasman horse, Phar Lap’s heart currently resides in Canberra, his hide in Melbourne and his skeleton in our very own Te Papa in Wellington. View the resting place - well, one of them, of the racehorse that captured people’s imaginations almost a century ago.

4. Ngā Toi

Te Papa’s Ngā Toi exhibition space is home to some of New Zealand’s most significant artworks, and is currently undergoing extensive renovations to create even more gallery space to show them off. In the meantime, you can be the curator of your own Art Wall through your smartphone by browsing and selecting from the awe-inspiring art collection, and your final choices will be projected onto the museum's walls. 

5. The Colossal Squid

Colossal Squid

With 35cm wide eyes and weighing in at around 350kg, the world’s only colossal squid specimen on display certainly lives up to its name. Decide for yourself whether it satisfies the description of one scientist as “the most perfect colossal squid [she] has ever seen”.

6. Guided tours

mountains to sea te papa

To get the most out of your time at Te Papa, book a private or group tour. You can get early entry to the Gallipoli exhibition, discover New Zealand's fascinating Māori history, see an overview of the museum's highlights and more. Find out more about Te Papa guided tours. 

Time to plan a visit?

Check out more must do’sbrowse and book accommodation, search Wellington’s sights and activities, see what events are coming up, have a nosy at all the incredible bars and restaurants, and start planning your trip with our handy experience planner.

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