Museums and Art Galleries of New Zealand

New Zealand’s museums draw on a rich cultural heritage reflecting both European and Maori strands of society. Prominence is given to collections of Maori artifacts, carved buildings and canoes, the history of European settlement, and to New Zealand’s natural history and geology. There are major New Zealand museums in each of the main cities and frequently very good local museums in many towns. Visitors will also find a variety of smaller specialist museums including transport and war museums, as well as private collections that reflect the passions of individual collectors and enthusiasts.

The Auckland Museum is housed in one of the country’s most striking heritage buildings. Auckland Museum is internationally renowned for it’s collection of Maori and Pacific Island treasures. The Museum has wonderful natural history galleries where visitors can explore the unique New Zealand landscape, and learn the story of New Zealand’s emergence as a nation. But for many, the highlight is the performance of Maori song and dance.

In Wellington, New Zealand’s leading-edge national museum Te Papa, has an amazing variety of exhibitions and interactive displays which tell the stories of the land and its people.Hands-on exhibitions explain the formation of New Zealand and the creatures that live on it, and you can even experience living native bush. Explore the world of Maori, see their taonga (treasures) and visit a living, contemporary marae (Maori meeting house). For thrill seekers, the Time Warp will delight with exciting time travel rides. Virtual bungy jumping, sheep shearing, and other classic Kiwi activities provide challenging interactive fun.

The Canterbury Museum collections include a strong focus on Antarctica and the numerous expeditions to the sub-continent. Canterbury Museum is in the heart of Christchurch City, within strolling distance of the Botanic Gardens, The Christchurch Arts Centre, Christchurch Art Gallery and Cathedral Square.
Otago Museum is one of New Zealand’s oldest and largest Museums with a large variety of themed galleries, covering culture, nature and science. There’s something for everyone at the Otago Museum.
There are exciting treasures and stories to uncover where ever you are headed in New Zealand. Perhaps one of the easiest way to learn loads of fascinating information is to check out the museums New Zealand has to offer.

Art Galleries
New Zealand art, sculpture and jewellery is receiving increasing recognition. Many galleries around the country hold exhibitions that feature the works of nationally acclaimed artists, as well as fresh, new talent.

Major public art galleries can be found in the main cities, including Auckland City Gallery, Wellington City Gallery, Robert McDougall Art Gallery in Christchurch and The Dunedin Public Art Gallery. While often concentrating on their region’s artists, they also display national and international works. Historical artworks are predominantly held in the collections of the larger museums and public libraries. Visitors wishing to buy examples of New Zealand art should keep an eye out for dealer galleries in the large cities and most smaller towns.


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