10 Reasons Why The Te Papa Museum is Simply Unmissable

(c) Tourism NZ

Because learning is fun!

Aside from the fact that the entry to the museum is totally FREE, New Zealand’s national museum is the telling of the extraordinary New Zealand history in the most interactive and fun way possible! The Te Papa Museum is an in-depth informative experience of what Aotearoa/New Zealand is all about, from its geological origin to its native species, as well as its human history. It’s far from your dusty and dingy museums.

Take a look at the list below for some of the best permanent exhibitions in the Te Papa Museum. There are many more temporary exhibitions, either free or with a small charge, to see too. Plus, guided tours are a great way to get more out of your Te Papa visit.

How do you find the Te Papa Museum? It’s quite hard to miss: the Te Papa Museum is pointed to by hundreds of signs in Wellington city centre. It is located on 55 Cable Street. Have a look at our Wellington Backpacker Guide for more awesome things to do in New Zealand’s capital city.

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1. Mountains to Sea

New Zealand is all about unique wildlife. The Mountains to Sea exhibit aims to give you a sample of New Zealand’s incredibly diverse fauna and flora. The exhibition also includes the “Colossal Squid”, the world’s only complete specimen of a giant squid!

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2. Awesome forces

Probably the most memorable of the museum, this exhibition gives you a hands-on experience of the power of the earth. This geological power created New Zealand and shaped its amazing landscape. Head inside the “Earthquake House!” for a real shakeup.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa(c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

3. Bush City

This exhibition is more about “doing” than “seeing”. Climb a lava flow, dig for fossils, walk through wetlands, cross a swing bridge, and visit a glowworm cave. Bush City is a fun peek inside New Zealand’s native bushland.

Tourism NZ(c) Tourism NZ

4. Blood, Earth, Fire

Learn about the extreme transformation of the New Zealand landscape since man set foot on the islands. The exhibition is bathed in Maori culture with native bird songs to walk you through displays of extinct species. Plus… HOLOGRAMS!!!

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa(c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

5. Mana Whenua

Showcasing contemporary art and ancient crafts, the Mana Whenua exhibition invites you to embrace the best of the Maori culture. A huge Marae (traditional Maori meeting house) and more carvings than you can count will amaze you while discovering traditional tribe stories. Vamp up the experience by taking a Maori Highlights Tour.

Tourism NZ(c) Tourism NZ

6. Golden Days

Spare 12 minutes of your time in the Te Papa Museum to visit the most well-assembled pile of junk in the country! The exhibition looks back at the last 100 years of living in New Zealand through classic Kiwi items. The presentation is a fun window into everyday Kiwi life from then to now.

BackpackerGuide.NZ(c) BackpackerGuide.NZ

7. Signs of a Nation

New Zealand’s founding document is the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 by over 500 Maori chiefs. This exhibition looks back at the creation of the document and its impact on the relationship between European settlers and Maori tribes. Until you get to Te Papa, have a look at our What is Waitangi Day? for a quick history lesson.

Backpackerguide.NZ(c) Backpackerguide.NZ

8. Passports

Immigration is the main topic of almost every political campaign in any country, but more than that, it is about people bringing their life into a country. By doing so, helping to create a country’s unique identity. The Passports exhibition presents stories of migrants from all origins about their journey to get down here to their positive impact on New Zealand.

BackpackerGuide.NZ(c) BackpackerGuide.NZ

9. truly amazing staff

With over 20 to 30 exhibitions, the museum has much more to offer than the ones stated above. This would not be without the amazing staff of the museum. We have never been to a museum with staff more passionate, friendly and helpful. If you have a question, turn to a staff member – they are awesome! Not to take anything away from the staff working behind-the-scene to make these exhibitions so great.

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa(c) Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

10. Free Wifi

Some of you may value this more than others, but the Te Papa Museum offers free WiFi to visitors. To be honest, this is one of the best free WiFi spots you’ll get anywhere in New Zealand. It works pretty well, plus, sending a message to your family directly from a museum is the best way to show them how much you are learning during this trip abroad! Right? Check out 10 Free Wi-Fi Spots in New Zealand Where You’ll Actually Have a Good Connection for more places to get internet in Wellington.

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