Located on Wellington’s waterfront, the Museum of New Zealand, aka Te Papa Tongarewa or simply Te Papa, holds massive collections of New Zealand art and artifacts. Hear stories from local communities, see some of the best contemporary Aotearoa art, and entertain your kids while teaching them about the world at the museum’s Discovery Centres.
New Zealand’s national museum is full of art and stories shining a light on darkened corners of the nation’s history, society, and environment. Te Papa (“our place”) tailors their short-term, long-term, and international exhibitions for all ages, making it a popular space for education and discovery among young children and their parents. Te Papa also houses stunning Maori artifacts—such as Te Hau ki Turanga, a faithfully preserved meeting house from precolonial times—and remarkable modern displays, such as John Britten’s speed record–breaking Britten V1000 motorcycle.
A wide range of guided tours are available: Visit the Maori highlights with the help of a Te Papa host, or turn up late and get an abbreviated whirlwind tour of all you need to see. The museum is also a stop on a hop-on hop-off minivan excursion.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Te Papa is ideal for anyone interested in history, art, and Maori culture, and all first-time visitors to Wellington.
- Catch a breath of fresh air in Te Papa’s Bush City, a slice of native forest in the heart of the city.
- Take in Te Marae, Te Papa’s vibrant, contemporary community gathering place.
- Grab food or coffee at one of the museum’s cafés and bars.
- Special guided tours are available for the blind and visually impaired to explore the museum through touch and sound.
- The museum as accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. Wheelchairs and mobility scooters are available free of charge.
How to Get There
Te Papa is a short walk from most highlights in central Wellington. From the cruise ship terminal, walk down Waterloo Quay and onto the waterfront—you can’t miss the museum across the harbor. Alternatively, catch a taxi, or drive and park under the museum.
When to Get There
The museum is open from 9am to 6pm, and can get very busy around midday, especially during school holidays. Avoid the worst of the crowds with an early morning or mid-afternoon visit.
Educational Events at Te Papa
The Museum of New Zealand hosts events throughout the year. Listen to the museum’s curators talk about exhibits, hear excerpts from emerging and established authors’ new works, and enjoy panel discussions on the hot social and political topics of the day.