About Us

New Zealand’s geographic isolation has forged our identity as a country and as New Zealanders. We are a nation of innovators, of dreamers, and of pioneers. People who are driven to find their own course, to seek out new possibilities with imagination and conviction.

Nowhere is this expression of our New Zealand identity stronger than through our bond with the ocean. From the first discovery by Kupe, to one of the most courageous migrations by the Polynesian peoples, to Abel Tasman and then Cook. These pioneers forged our spirit of exploration and broke the boundaries of what people thought possible. Many of New Zealand's greatest maritime adventurers and explorers have emerged from this spirit, and the New Zealand Maritime Museum celebrates these people who sailed to the limits of their imagination.

Suitable for all ages, the Maritime Museum aims to provide a rewarding, enjoyable and unique discovery experience for present and future generations through the preservation and presentation of New Zealand’s maritime heritage.

We display and present items of national, regional, local and general maritime interest in a way that stimulates interest and preserves the items for the benefit of the people of New Zealand.


Our Gifted Māori Name

Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa

When asked for an appropriate Māori title for the New Zealand Maritime Museum Sir Hugh Kāwharu proceeded to give a steer toward the ancient Māori and Polynesian understanding of Tangaroa as personification of the sea and its many powerful elements.

Sir Hugh gifted the name ‘Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa’ to the museum. This is a traditional and universally understood name for the dwelling of Tangaroa, ‘an undersea haven; his home’ beneath the sea. The descriptions of Tangaroa are many, rich and vivid. And so too his dwelling in terms of its narratives in Māori lore, especially seen in the origins of whakairo (wood carving) and marae visual arts including ta moko (living skin art).

Tangaroa, Atua (guardian) has many personifications here and across the Pacific. Tangaroa, the controller of tides - he whose breathing makes the ebb and flow - taa ngā roa whakamautai, with connotations of the combined forces of waves, wind, moon, stars and the related forces of nature.

 


Our History

The Maritime Museum was first proposed in 1980 by a group of like minded individuals, many of whom were Auckland Harbour Board and United Steamship Company members. It was to house the growing collection of maritime archives within the Auckland Maritime Society and Auckland Museum collections, while establishing a New Zealand maritime history collection and exhibition facility. It was to be the first and only museum that dealt with New Zealand’s maritime history as a whole, and was to be called the Auckland Maritime Museum Hobson Wharf.

Auckland Maritime Museum Hobson Wharf opened in August 1993 with Dr. Rodney Wilson as its inaugural director. The name subsequently changed to the New Zealand National Maritime Museum. The New Zealand National title was bestowed by then Prime Minister the Hon. Jim Bolger in 1996.

The museum is run by the New Zealand National Maritime Museum Trust Board, a body incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957.

Founding Director, Dr Rodney Wilson, passed away 27 April 2013. View our tribute to a spectacular man. Read more.

 


Our Museum

Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa, New Zealand Maritime Museum is home to the world’s greatest maritime pioneers. We are a place of stories that have defined our identity as New Zealanders. People who are driven to find their own course, to seek out new possibilities with imagination and conviction.

We are a place of dreams, daring feats, amazing journeys, burning ambition, passion, human endeavour, imagination, exploration, and courage. We are a living expression of our New Zealand identity through our bond with the ocean.

From the first discovery by Kupe, to one of the most courageous migrations by the Polynesian peoples, to Abel Tasman and then Cook, our spirit of exploration has been forged and the boundaries of possibility broken.

Our museum honours those people who sailed to the limits of their imagination.

 


Our Vision

Our aspiration

To explore and unite people with the sea

 

Our Mission

What we do

To preserve, present, interpret, and celebrate Aotearoa New Zealand’s maritime heritage. Being a place of learning and understanding: engaging our audience through unique maritime experiences

 

Our Values

Guiding our decision making

 

Kaitiakitanga                 

To strengthen our identity by protecting and sharing Aotearoa New Zealand’s Nga Taonga o te moana o Tangaroa

Manaakitanga               

Respect and value all of our stories, all of our Taonga Moana and all of our relationships

Whanaungatanga           

Working together to achieve best practice

 

Courageous & Curious 

To explore, to challenge, to be bold, to be innovative. Being active and growing through curiosity

Creativity                      

Being smart and creative

Integrity                        

To have integrity in all that we do

 


Annual Report 2015/16

Highlights of our last 12 months 

For the museum's current annual report click here.

  • More than 155,000 total visitors onsite with the museum’s galleries programmes and functions, a 29% increase on last year.
  • More than 259,000 engagements with the museum’s website, an 86% increase on last year.
  • More than 498,000 engagements with the museum’s Facebook page, a 388% increase on last year.
  • More than 760,000 engagements with the museum through digital methods, a 124% increase on last year 46,079 of committed volunteer hours.
  • More than 20,000 participants in educational programmes, a 13% decrease on last year.
  • More than 11,000 items accessioned into the permanent collections, a 400% increase on last year.
  • More than 16,400 people experienced a heritage sailing, a 4% increase on last year.

Annual Report 2014/2015

Annual Report 2014/2013

Annual Report 2012/2013

Annual Report 2012/2011

Annual Plan 2017/18

For the museum’s current annual plan click here.