A country of green hills and tranquility, New Zealand is a seemingly calm country that hides the chaos that Mother Nature sometimes bestows upon this great nation. Like a phoenix, it is reborn from these ashes and rises stronger and more determined than before. Moreover, it is a country of celebrated women, even in art, a traditionally male dominated profession. As a country devoted to its artists, it has many museums and art galleries, not only in Auckland but also in Christchurch and Wellington. In this article, we showcase five that are worth a visit.
Te Papa Museum
New Zealand has its roots in the Māori culture, whose long history is thankfully still taught in schools on a par with the English culture. Although tensions between natives and settlers have never been as strong as those between the Aborigines and English settlers in Australia, the Māori people have tried to settle as far as possible from New Zealand’s Anglo-Saxons, which is why the government has recently approved a program of integration between the two cultures. The Te Papa Museum was created with the important mission to keep New Zealand’s past alive – a time before the arrival of settlers who brought with them the customs and traditions of the old continent.
Address: 55 Cable Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
Auckland War Memorial Museum
One of New Zealand’s largest and most important museums, this war memorial stands on Auckland’s Domain Hill and commemorates the fallen during World War II. The museum is impressive and boasts a floor dedicated to the traditions of Māori culture, with some rooms focusing on the creation of life on earth and in the oceans, while the top floor is dedicated to the events of the Second World War.
Address: The Auckland Domain, Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Admission: Click here for more information
Christchurch Art Gallery
With a unique design from that of the rest of the city, the Christchurch Art Gallery, founded in 2003, is a hypermodern, earthquake-proof, glass and steel building. Its exterior structure, which is very contemporary, reflects the collections it houses: modern and dynamic. Right behind the Art Gallery is the Centre for Contemporary Art (CoCA) building, built in 1880 and the city’s first art space.
Address: Montreal Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand
The Waikato Museum in Wellington boasts a varied collection of artifacts, showcasing the life and history of Hamilton and its surroundings. Māori artifacts represent the largest part of the collection, including a giant Māori war canoe – a.k.a “waka taua” – and also the Tangata Whenua collection, which includes over 30,000 objects displaying the history of the tribes that inhabited the Hamilton area. An important part of the museum is dedicated to the visual arts and the works of the local Iwi (Māori) artists.
Address: 1 Grantham Street, Hamilton 3204, New Zealand
Established from the private collection of German geologist Julius von Haast, its founding director in 1867, Canterbury Museum displays the sometimes troubled Māori and English history, traditions, and culture of the region through an incredible collection of artifacts from different eras. Not to be missed are the many jewels and objects made with the famous New Zealand green jade (pounamu), and Fred & Myrtle’s Paua Shell House – a house with walls entirely covered with paua (quintessential Māori shells).
Address: Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand