This gallery tells the pioneering stories of exploration, settlement and trade in New Zealand
See how coastal trade was fundamental in establishing New Zealand as a nation. Before the construction of roads, goods were mostly transported on water to ports and harbours around the coastline. The vessel REWA is a genuine trading cutter used during the 1800s.
The epic journeys undertaken by early European explorers were truly remarkable and form an important part of New Zealand's maritime history. The gallery tells the stories of Dutch, English, French and Spanish explorers as they set sail to the far side of the world, searching for the fabled 'Great Southern Land' as they ventured through the South Pacific.
Explore our world-class display of replica voyaging canoes from Oceania, and learn about the differing techniques, shapes and designs of the canoes used to colonise the islands of the Pacific. You can also view a Māori dug-out canoe and other artefacts . Find out about the adventures of TARATAI, a traditionally built 76 foot baurua voyaging canoe from the Kiribati Atolls.