Container of treasures
Wellington's Te Papa Museum is one of the most important collections in New Zealand. From its founding in 1865 as the Colonial Museum, the collections have been continuously growing with scientific specimens, paintings, ethnographic curiosites and items of anitiquity. Over the centuries, the museum has changed name, locations, and focus, with bigger premises and more diverse exhibits being developed.
The museum's full name, Te Papa Tongarewa, translates to 'container of treasures'. And after more than 150 years of collecting items of national historical and cultural importance, it is a perfect name.
The museum spans five floors, covering everything from giant squid, extinct birds, geology and geography, Māori prehistory, Māori ancestry and culture, European settlement, the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand history and culture, and the collections of the Nation Art Gallery.
To cover every exhibit takes several days, and so it is best to focus on your key interests first. There is a fantastic restaurant on level one and a great cafe on level four - so you can refuel throughout the day.
To get a more immersive and detailed exploration of the exhibits in a short timeframe, it is best to take one of the guided tours. This way, you can have your questions answered without needing to navigate your way around reading every exhibit.
Te Papa Introductory Tour
1-hour Guided Tour
Beginning over one hundred million years ago, join a Te Papa guide on a journey through New Zealand’s rich history and cultures. Hear stories of our adaptive wildlife, the resilience of the Māori people, and artistic interpretations of life in the South Pacific.
Whether you have limited time or here for an extended visit, this tour will give you a great opportunity to understand the vibrant landscapes and cultures you will encounter throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.
Māori Experience Kīnaki Tour
1.5 - 2 Hour Guided Tour
Take a truly immersive journey through the Māori and indigenous culture exhibitions at Te Papa, our national museum.
Led by an experienced Māori guide, discover how te iwi taketake (first peoples of the land) have formed unique tools, foods, and medicines provided by the natural world of Aotearoa New Zealand.
The tour will conclude with a shared kai (traditionally-inspired food tasting) and conversation with your hosts.
You can visit Te Papa when booking any of the following journeys, packages and tours, and our Travel Centre can add Te Papa guided tours your package or tour booking: