Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa

Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa is New Zealand’s national museum, situated on Wellington’s waterfront. Its key tasks are to preserve and present the taonga (treasures) of New Zealand’s peoples and to interpret the country’s heritage for national and international audiences.

Its mission is to be a forum for the nation to present, explore and preserve the heritage of its cultures and knowledge of the natural environment in order to better understand and treasure the past, enrich the present and meet the challenges of the future. Ka tu Te Papa Tongarewa hei wananga mo te motu, ki te whakaara, ki te hopara, ki te whakapumau i nga tikanga maha, me nga mohiotanga mo te ao tuturu, kia whai mana ai enei mohiotanga, mai nehera, kia mau pakari ai mo inaianei, whai ki te wa kei mua.

Te Papa has a wide range of permanent and changing exhibitions, as well as educational programmes, films, speakers and forums on issues of cultural diversity. Its meeting facilities and theatre are widely used for conferences, public forums and cultural performances. Its website carries a wide range of background information as well as details of current exhibitions and activities.

Visit the website of the Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa.

Projects 2011
Exhibitions Programme
Community Gallery: The Mixing Room: stories from young refugees in New Zealand

Bursting with creativity, over 70 young refugees to New Zealand tell their extraordinary stories – through art, film, poetry, performance and new digital media.

They invite you to see the immense changes they have endured, and the hopeful new lives they are building on these shores.

Te Papa has facilitated a series of workshops around the country to enable some of these young people to record – through words, film, photography, and visual art – the joys and difficulties of their experience as they settle into a new way of life in New Zealand.

Signs of a Nation

The Treaty of Waitangi is living social document – debated, overlooked, celebrated. Is it a vision of peaceful co-existence or the cause of disharmony? An irrelevancy or the platform on which all New Zealanders can build a future? Signs of a Nation | Nga Tohu Kotahitanga is a contemporary commentary on the Treaty of Waitangi and its centrality to the wider New Zealand community.

The exhibition is also responsive to contemporary events a special section, ‘Poringi’, shows the Treaty partnership in action through the Treaty claims process. Panels on both sides of the space discuss grievances over breaches of the Treaty and show the process by which claims against the Crown are made and how they are settled.

The Treaty is fundamental to our vision of this nation. This exhibition invites you to engage with New Zealand’s founding document.


Passports explores and celebrates the remarkable stories of the people who migrated to New Zealand. Focusing on all nationalities other than Maori, this exhibition presents the objects and ideas the migrants brought with them and examines how they adjusted to the new land.

The New Zealand story is about journeys and arrivals. A thousand years of people leaving home to come here. In Passports you can meet the immigrants that have come here over the last two hundred years. Who were they? What did they bring? What did they leave behind? How would you fare in their position?

Tangata o le Moana

Tangata o le Moana, the story of Pacific people, is a major, long-term exhibition for Te Papa which opened in 2007. The exhibition spans history and into the present day and ventures into all areas of Pacific culture. This is achieved through exhibits ranging from ancient vaka (canoes) to contemporary jewellery to ‘Pacific Beats’, an interactive tool that enables visitors to remix the sounds of Pacific musicians such as Fat Freddy’s Drop.

The exhibition aims to raise questions of cultural identity as well as promote New Zealand as a Pacific place in location and history.

Kura Pounamu

Kura Pounamu is a rich and exciting exhibition showcasing examples of this exceptionally beautiful stone, its origins, and stories of the special relationship people have with pounamu. An iconic stone pounamu (New Zealand greenstone) is valued for its beauty, strength, durability, acoustic characteristics and there are many stories of its origins.

Iwi Gallery: Tai timu, tai pari, Tainui: Journey of a people

Tai timu, tai pari, Tainui: Journey of a people tells the epic story of Tainui – New Zealand’s largest tribal grouping. The Tainui people invite you to journey with them, from their origins in East Polynesia to their lives in present-day Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond.

E Tu Ake: Standing Strong

E Tu Ake – Maori treasures tells the story of a strong culture that is still alive and asserts the will of a people to be in control of their culture and their future.

Lapidaries, sculptures, architectural pieces, photographs, audiovisual works etc., come and admire 250 very diverse works all taken from Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in New Zealand.

Events Programme
Waitangi Day Treaty Debates Series

Waitangi Day: In partnership with the NZ Centre for Public Law at Victoria University of Wellington, Te Papa annually presents The Treaty Debate Series. The series provides an opportunity to debate highly relevant topics relating to the Treaty of Waitangi as NZ’s founding document, to examine the Treaty’s impact on society today, and to consider what its implications are for the future.

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rabbit

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rabbit will be celebrated with crafts, music, and dance.

Full Moon Festival

The two largest ethnic communities of New Zealand, the Chinese and Indians, come together on stage to celebrate the Full Moon Festival in September. Cultural presentations in the form of dance and music from the Chinese and Indian communities. There may also be presentations from other communities.


Matariki: For Te Papa, Matariki is an annual event that celebrates the indigenous calendar of Aotearoa, and it attracts performers and visitors from all around New Zealand. The calendar is based on traditional knowledge of the seasonal cycle, and looks at its significance to Maori. Te Papa, in conjunction with its partners Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori and Te Tahuhu o te Matauranga, celebrated Matariki, the traditional Maori New Year celebrated in June. The new year was heralded over the month of June with free shows, lectures, and activities.

Rugby World Cup 2011

Rugby World Cup National Days for the teams playing in Wellington:

  • South Africa – 10 September
  • Wales – 11 September
  • Fiji -17 September
  • USA – 22 September
  • Australia – 23 September
  • France – 30 September
  • Tonga -1 October
  • Canada – 2 October
Diwali 2011
Education Programme

Te Papa is a great place for learning. Come and experience the stories of NZ in five floors of fascinating exhibitions and objects. We welcome you to visit Te Papa either on a self-guided basis or with the support of our education team.

Our programmes, led by experienced educators:

  • are activity-based and cover a wide range of curriculum areas
  • are designed for all stages of learning, from preschool to secondary
  • are specifically developed to fit with achievement objectives
  • incorporate bicultural learning objectives and can usually be offered in English and te reo Maori are supported by pre-visit and post-visit activities
  • can be adapted to meet your specific needs.

For full details on all events and exhibitions, please visit Te Papa’s website.

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