Te Papa is a museum like no other
With six storeys of cutting-edge interactive exhibitions housed in an architectural wonder of a building, this national museum is a must-visit
Any visitor to Wellington should have Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa at the top of their to-do list. This national museum is a must-do, with six storeys of cutting-edge interactive exhibitions housed in an architectural wonder of a building.
Te Papa Tongarewa translates to "container of treasures", which is an apt description for a museum considered the home of New Zealand stories. If the phrase "national museum" conjures images of dusty artefacts in glass cases, let Te Papa change that for you. The clever, contemporary, and bicultural approach puts Te Papa in a league of its own and, unlike so many museums, general entry is free.
Explore some of the national art collections in Toi Art. This set of galleries both maps the evolution of Kiwi art and hosts newly commissioned contemporary works. The exciting and interactive exhibitions are proof that art is about so much more than paintings on a wall.
In an exhibition that's true to Wellington's famous spirit of collaboration, Te Papa has joined forces with Wētā Workshop to create an exhibition that humanises the stark realities of war. Gallipoli: The Scale of our War follows eight ordinary New Zealanders through the Gallipoli campaign, using their real stories and words to explain this harrowing event.
The exhibition opens with literally larger-than-life models of these real Kiwis, expertly crafted at 2.4 times human size. This monumental scale reflects the monumental impact of this event, which is explained through models, 3D maps, interactive displays, and miniatures.
Take a tour
If you're short on time, book a guided tour. Options include Introducing Te Papa, Daily Mana Māori, and Art Narrative tours or opt for your own private tour.
New Zealand natives
If you want to know more about New Zealand’s creatures and critters, head to Te Taiao Nature, an exhibition that celebrates our weird and wonderful wildlife. It tells the story of our shaky isles and their seismic history, how this influenced our incredible native flora and fauna, and what we're doing today to protect our natural treasures.
And once you've learned about our natural wonders, head out to Bush City for some fresh air. This living outdoor exhibition is a bushwalk with a difference, with thousands of native plant species and some fun family-friendly activities too.
Museum host Anny Mawson says that having returned to New Zealand after years living overseas, working at Te Papa has made her fall back in love with her own country. Once you've experienced this museum's magic, it's hard not to feel the same way about New Zealand.
Celebrating a quarter century
On 14 February 1998, Te Papa opened its doors for the first time. In the 25 years since that day, the museum has welcomed almost 34 million visitors.
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