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Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tāmaki Paenga Hira

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Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tāmaki Paenga Hira

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.

The museum collections include:

  • Māori and Pacific Island artifacts and treasures
  • A photographic collection of 1.2 million images
  • Natural history specimens from the fields of botany, entomology, geology, land vertebrates and marine biology.
  • An exhibition covering wars, both within New Zealand and New Zealand’s participation in overseas conflicts.
  • Applied and decorative arts in New Zealand

The Cenotaph, including parts of the museum, as well as its surrounding consecrated grounds, such as the Court of Honour, also serves as a war memorial, mainly to those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars.

A Tour of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tāmaki Paenga Hira

Highlights of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tāmaki Paenga Hira

  • Te Puawai o Te Arawa, Pātaka
    • Te Pokiha Taranui was a notable New Zealand Māori tribal leader and soldier who commissioned traditional carvers to carve this Pātaka. A Pātaka is a traditional Māori storehouse that was used to keep preserved food such as fish, birds, and seed safe from kiore or Pacific rats.
  • Tiki Gateway Carving
    • This Tiki gateway (kuwaha) carving celebrates a famous Maori ancestor who lived more than ten generations ago on the shores of Lake Rotorua. The renowned carver Te Umanui created this masterpiece in the early 1800s while still a young man. This Tiki guarded one of three entrances in a Māori stockade that surrounded a fortified hill (Pa) in Rotorua. In the 1830s, the people of Ohinemutu fortified in preparation for an attack by Te Waharoa and his Ngati Haua warriors.
  • Hinana
    • These carved panels (amo) were part of a famous pataka called Hinana, which stood at the south end of Lake Taupo. A Pātaka is a traditional Māori storehouse that was used to keep preserved food such as fish, birds, and seed safe from kiore or Pacific rats.
  • World War I, Military Aircraft Propellers
    • This collection of World War I, Military Aircraft Propellers recognize the almost 1,000 New Zealanders who served as military pilots in the British air services in World War I. Nearly 70 died, and 17 become prisoners of war in WWI.
  • Kave, Goddess Figure
    • Kave De Hine Aligi was a powerful female spirit and goddess that presided over the Polynesian people of Nukuoro, a small atoll in the Caroline Islands. This image was carved with shell and stone tools in the early 1800s. The people of this area were matrilineal, where kinship was traced through the mother or the female line. This influence is apparent from this, the most significant figure, from the many Nukuoro gods that were erected on the sacred spaces.
  • Nazi Germany Badges
    • These Nazi Germany Badges are a selection of the many thousands of propaganda and fund-raising badges sold in Hitler’s Germany between 1933 and 1945. The National Socialist German Workers’ Party, referred to as the Nazi Party, was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945 and practiced the ideology of Nazism. These badges were used to raise funds for the Nazi Party.
  • Kumete Koha
    • Two squatting figures support this Kumete with a carved lidded presentation bowl. One naturalistic and one ‘wheku’ a Maori term meaning ‘carved face,’ depicting the face of an ancestor. On the lid are two figures, reclining so that the heads touch. To either side of these is a low-relief koruru or ancestor head.

Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tāmaki Paenga Hira

  • Museum:              Auckland War Memorial Museum
  • City:                      Auckland
  • Country:               New Zealand
  • Inaugurated:        1929
  • Location:              Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand

A Tour of New Zealand’s Museums


“As man disappears from sight, the land remains.”
– Maori Proverb


Photo Credit: By Photograph by Greg O’Beirne (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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