Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic Sites

New Zealand Museums

New Zealand Museums

New Zealand Museums

New Zealand is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean. The country comprises two main islands, the North Island and the South Island plus another 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is east of Australia across the Tasman Sea. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long period of isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life.

New Zealand’s major cities and rural hubs have some of the most engaging museums in the world. Explore some of the leading museums in New Zealand.

Explore New Zealand’s Museums

New Zealand’s Museum Highlights

  • Museums in Auckland
    • Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand and is located on the North Island. It is a diverse and multicultural city and is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. The Māori language name for Auckland is Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning “Tāmaki with a hundred lovers”, which refers to its desirable location in fertile lands and waters.
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum
      • The Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira is one of New Zealand’s major museums and war memorials. Its collections concentrate on New Zealand history, natural history, as well as military history.
    • New Zealand Maritime Museum
      • The New Zealand Maritime Museum, Hui Te Anaui A Tangaroa, is a maritime museum with exhibitions spanning New Zealand’s maritime history, from the earliest Polynesian explorers and settlers to the modern-day triumphs at the America’s Cup. Its Maori name is ‘Te Huiteanaui-A-Tangaroa’ which means, holder of the treasures of Tangaroa, the Sea God.
    • Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
      • The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is the leading public gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, and has the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand. The collection was initially dominated by European paintings following the historical taste of the 19th century however, today’s collection includes a variety of periods, styles and media.
  • Museums in Wellington
    • Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city located at the south-western tip of the North Island. It is the world’s windiest city and the world’s southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Situated near the geographic centre of the country, in 1839 it was chosen as the first major planned settlement for British immigrants coming to New Zealand. The settlement was named in honour of Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington and victor of the Battle of Waterloo.
    • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
      • The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the national museum of New Zealand. It is commonly known as Te Papa and Our Place. “Te Papa Tongarewa” the full Maori language name of the museum translates to “the place of treasures of this land”.
  • Museums in Christchurch
    • Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand and was first settled by Māori about 1250. With European settlement it became a city by Royal Charter in 1856, making it the oldest established city in New Zealand. The new settlement was laid out in a grid pattern centred on Cathedral Square. The city suffered a series of earthquakes between 2010 and 2012, during which hundreds of buildings across the city collapsed or suffered severe damage. Since then, 1,500 buildings in the city had been demolished, leading to an ongoing recovery and rebuilding project.
    • Canterbury Museum, Christchurch
      • The Canterbury Museum is located in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the city’s Cultural Precinct. The museum has a large collection of historical, cultural and natural specimen objects. It also has the world’s largest collection of Antarctic objects from the heroic age of exploration and discovery.

New Zealand – “Aotearoa” in Māori

  • Country:        New Zealand or “Aotearoa” in Māori
  • Capital:          Wellington
  • Largest city:  Auckland
  • Population:    5 million
  • Stages of Independence from the United Kingdom:
    • Responsible government:     1856
    • Dominion:                             1907
    • The statute of Westminster  1947

NZ Map


“An active person will remain healthy while a lazy one will become sick.”
– Māori Proverb


Photo Credits: By Lawrence Murray from Perth, Australia (Queenstown from Bob’s Peak) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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