Located at the southern entrance to the Viaduct Harbor, the New Zealand Maritime Museum is a window into New Zealand’s maritime past.
As an island nation, the history of New Zealand has been largely reliant on man’s ability to navigate the sea. Polynesian voyagers in sailing canoes were the first to land on the shores of New Zealand, only to be followed later by European explorers mapping the far-reaching corners of the Pacific. Explorers were followed by traders and settlers, all of whom endured long voyages at sea to reach the shores of Aotearoa. Today, New Zealand consistently puts out some of the world’s top shipbuilders and sailors, and America’s Cup racing yachts are a common sight in the waters around the museum. In fact, the enormous racing yacht KZ1 which competed for the 1988 America’s Cup is docked adjacent to the museum entrance, and the 153- ft. mast on the ship can’t make it beneath the Auckland Harbor Bridge.
All of these eras of the nation’s history are on display at the maritime museum, and exhibits which range from movies to models discuss the nation’s seafaring past. For those who would rather experience the real thing, the museum can also arrange private charters which ply the waters of the Hauraki Gulf.
Since the New Zealand Maritime Museum is conveniently located in downtown Auckland, it should be a definite stop for Auckland travelers with an interest in sailing or maritime heritage.