What Makes Te Papa Special

Is it worth visiting Te Papa?

Te Papa Museum is where culture, history, and art come alive. So, if you’re on this page right now, you’re probably wondering: Is it worth visiting Te Papa? 

Te Papa is worth visiting because the museum has a vast and diverse collection of artifacts that includes dinosaur bones and Maori treasures. It also has engaging and interactive exhibits, so there is something for everyone in it.

Want to learn more? Let’s break down what makes Te Papa worth visiting.

A Vast and Diverse Collection 

Te Papa has collections covering the natural and cultural history of Aotearoa, New Zealand and the Pacific region.

The museum’s collections include over 800,000 objects, from dinosaur bones to contemporary art, Māori taonga (treasures) to Pacific artifacts.

Below are some of the highlights of Te Papa’s collection.

Highlights of Te Papa’s Permanent Collection 

  • The Tohunga Māori Collection

Includes taonga (treasures) from Māori culture, such as carved wooden pounamu (greenstone) pendants, feather cloaks, and war clubs.

  • The Pacific Cultures Collection

Showcases the cultures of the Pacific Islands, from the Cook Islands to Easter Island using different artifacts. 

  • The Natural History Collection

The Natural History Collection includes specimens of New Zealand’s native plants and animals and fossils from the country’s ancient past. For example, a replica of New Zealand’s native kiwi is one of the animals displayed. 

  • The History Collection

It tells New Zealand’s story from its earliest settlement to the present day. This collection features artwork, photographs, and artifacts on display. 

Engaging and Interactive Exhibits

Te Papa Museum offers many interactive exhibits catering to a wide range of interests. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun and educational day out, Te Papa has something for you. 

Here are our team’s top-voted highlights among the museum’s exhibits! 

Quake Breaker 

This is one of the museum’s most popular interactive exhibits. The ‘Quake Breaker’ allows you to experience the power of a simulated earthquake. 

This exhibit is thrilling and educational, teaching you about the science behind earthquakes and how to stay safe during one.

Toi Art 

Art lovers will appreciate the ‘Toi Art’ gallery, which displays works from some of New Zealand’s most renowned artists. Many pieces are interactive, inviting visitors to become part of the art. 

Clever Crustaceans

Get up close with live crustaceans in touch tanks—feel the hard shell of a crab and observe tiny copepods to giant lobsters. 

The exhibit introduces you to the unique adaptations that allow crustaceans to survive and thrive in various environments. Multimedia presentations and informative displays detail crustaceans’ life cycles, feeding habits, and habitats.

Te Taiao Nature 

Te Taiao Nature exhibit includes a section dedicated to dinosaurs that once roamed the earth. The dinosaur exhibit showcases several life-sized models, including a towering Tyrannosaurus Rex and a gentle herbivorous Triceratops—captivating children and adults.

In addition to the models, a variety of fossils are on display like eggs, and footprints, providing tangible evidence of these creatures’ existence millions of years ago. 

There are also touch screens that allow you to learn more about different dinosaur species, their habitats, and their behaviors and an area where kids can dig for dinosaur bones, providing a fun and hands-on learning experience.