Te Papa Museum Wellington

When visiting Wellington, capital of New Zealand an absolute “must see” attraction is http://www.tepapa.govt.nz/pages/default.aspx Te Papa Museum which is located right on the harbour waterfront.

It is the sort of place you could re-visit many times, and I was fortunate enough to Te Papa One Hour Tour, which is comprehensive and immensely enjoyable, but, due to the size and quality of the exhibitions, gives you a mere taste for the museum rather than fulfilling a desire to see anything.

The One Hour Tour is an excellent introduction to the museum for those who have limited time to spend in Wellington, and it certainly provides you with a great insight into New Zealand`s natural history and Maori culture.

New Zealand is unique in that no land mammals ever managed to thrive there before human inhabitation, so many of the birds took to walking the forest floors in order to scavenge food, and a whole range of flightless birds, the best known of which is the Kiwi, managed to thrive in complete safety as they had no natural predators.

New Zealand is also known as the”shaky isles” because it is incredibly geologically active. On Level 2 is the Awesome Forces exhibit, where you can experience a simulated earthquake inside the Earthquake House.

Human history, ranging from the first Maori explorers to 1st century immigrants, is covered on Level 4, where there is a full size ibntricately-carved marae, or communal meeting place. Also on that level is Mana Whenua, which brings to life the story Maori life and survival. Displayed are a meeting house, a traditional storehouse, and an ordinary Maori house. The main feature of the house is a very low door. The Maoris were warlike people who often indulged in tribal battles, the low doorway was used as a method of protection as invading warriors could not secrete any weapons as they crouched down to crawl through the doorway.

I found both the tour and the museum to be incredibly interesting, particularly as many of the exhibits are interactive, and all of your senses are enticed as you journey through the museums man exhibitions.

Entrance to Te Papa is free, but there is a reasonable charge to do the tours, or you can hire an audio guide and enjoy the museum a your own pace.

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