Museum & Galleries

Te Papa – Museum of New Zealand

New Zealand / The Pacific

Te Papa Tongarewa (The Museum of New Zealand) is the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand. It is prominent at the eastern end of the Waterfront. The rough translation of Te Papa is ‘the place of treasures of this land.’ Te Papa developed from the Colonial Museum, founded on Museum Street in 1865. In the 1930s this moved to the new Dominion Museum Building in Buckle Street, where the National Art Gallery of New Zealand was opened in 1936. Te Papa itself was established in 1992 by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Act of 1992, its official opening taking place on 14 February 1998 and had a million visitors within the first five months. In 2004 more space was devoted to exhibiting works from the New Zealand art collection with a long-term exhibition entitled Toi Te Papa: Art of the Nation.The Te Papa building was designed by Jasmax Architects and built by Fletcher Construction. It has six floors on Cable Street, dedicated to New Zealand’s culture, and there are also outdoor areas with artificial caves, native bushes and wetlands. There is a further building on Tory Street (not open to the public) which serves as a scientific research facility, contains the extensive archives and storage.Since 2013 the museum has had a dual mission – to focus on the past and the future. Its collections include dresses and textile, 20,000 stamps, and 13,000 historic and contemporary items from the Pacific Islands. There are fossils and a great many specimen of birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals as well as collections of photography, Māori taonga (cultural treasures) and Pacific cultures. The museum also incorporates outdoor areas with artificial caves, native bushes and wetlands.

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