New Zealand Maritime Museum Admission
Auckland, New Zealand
- Guided tour: Museum staff help you navigate the treasures of New Zealand's maritime heritage, from replicas of Polynesian canoes to life aboard English settler ships to whaling, steamships, artifacts salvaged from the seabed, and yacht racing.
- Get your sea legs: The museum is an immersive, interactive experience that lets you try your hand at yacht design, hoist the sails, batten down the hatches in a rocking cabin, climb into the sleeping berths of a ship that brought immigrants from England, and chill in an iconic beach holiday home called a bach.
- The art of sailing: The Edmiston Gallery's permanent collection and temporary exhibits showcase nautical culture in paintings, photography, folk art, and digital media.
About This Auckland Tour
If they got there intentionally, you have to acknowledge their skill. If they got here by accident, you have to acknowledge the intervention of their gods.
As best as DNA, language, and archeological analysis can determine, the Maori arrived in what is now New Zealand sometime between the 9th and 13th centuries from the Cook or Society Islands. That's at least 1,800 miles of Open Ocean – in dugout canoes. These waka may have been 80 feet long and equipped with sails. But the distances are so vast that some researchers concluded they may have been smaller fishing or river boats blown way, way off course.
Who, after all, would deliberately set out from tiny islands, with no map or compass, in search of slightly larger islands?
Yet that's exactly what the Polynesians did, guided only by the sun, the stars, and their knowledge of ocean currents – according to the latest theories, anyway. By comparison, the Viking landing in Newfoundland around the year 1000 was a leisurely jaunt of perhaps a third the distance, from neighboring Greenland.
Much of this is conjecture: attempts to link complex Maori oral tradition with scientific evidence. The Maritime Museum provides an interesting overview, with other exhibits covering the European discoveries that began in December 1642, when Dutch explorer Abel Tasman made the first sighting. Considering that he was looking for a kingdom of "plentiful gold" mentioned by Marco Polo, the European voyages may also have involved divine intervention: Polo was talking about Thailand.
The proof is in the potato
Since the 1970s, sailors using traditional canoe materials and navigation techniques have successfully duplicated presumed Polynesian routes, making the case for intentional journeys to New Zealand – and perhaps farther. The sweet potato, native to South America, has been cultivated throughout Polynesia for centuries, suggesting a roundtrip potato run of 10,000 miles.
Please make your way to the Corner Quay Street and Hobson Street, Auckland to begin your experience.
The Maritime Museum is within walking distance from the ships' pier.
The amount of walking is at the traveler's discretion while visiting the attraction.
Cultural, Tickets, Walking Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Suitable for all ages.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.
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