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Source: Auckland War Memorial Museum

The second stage of Auckland War Memorial Museums visitor transformation will be unveiled on Thursday 11 March when Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland is opened to the public.

Designed to share the diverse stories of the people and place that is Tāmaki Makaurau, this is the first time that Auckland will have a permanent suite of galleries that explores the past, present and future of its people and the cultures that have made the city what it is today.

Tāmaki Herenga Waka means ‘the gathering place of many waka’ and is an exhibition of Auckland places and people staged across four galleries.

“Tāmaki Makaurau is not only New Zealand’s largest city, it is our country’s most culturally diverse. People have come to Auckland from everywhere to form communities, and we are home to over 120 different ethnicities,” says Dr David Gaimster, Chief Executive of Auckland War Memorial Museum. “Our research shows that visitors want to see their own lived experience of Auckland and of being Aucklanders. This gallery will be a place for audiences to reflect on the past, present and future of Auckland and their place within this.”

“The launch of the Tāmaki Herenga Waka gallery is a landmark achievement for our city” says Dr Gaimster. “It provides an anchor, a place of cultural orientation to explore what makes this city what it is “

The Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland galleries have been funded largely through the generosity of many individuals, and organisations including Lottery Significant Projects; Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate; Stout Trust and MW & MA Durling Family.

The stories of Auckland are shared though the Museum’s collections, with over 500 objects on display. They are enhanced with rich digital experiences. A key feature of the gallery is Kei konei koe You are Here, an audio-visual experience that offers up an immersive introduction to Tāmaki. Visitors are invited on a journey through time and space, encountering Auckland from different and surprising perspectives.

“By applying innovative digital technology to showcase our collections, we are able to cement Auckland Museum’s role as a place that inspires curiosity” says Dr Gaimster.

The exhibition has involved collaboration with many of the city’s communities, with over 60 objects generously loaned to the exhibition to enable the sharing of Auckland’s stories.

“More importantly, this gallery reflects the heart of our city and its dynamic culture through the unique communities that have grown up within it” Gaimster concludes.

Admission is free for Aucklanders.

Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland

Quick Facts

580 square metres of total gallery space.
More than 60 stories of Auckland people and places.
Over 500 collection objects on display.
60 objects on loan from other individuals, organisations, and institutions.
Kei konei koe You are Here is a 7m diameter, 360-degree ring, with eight projectors synched to project stories onto a topographical table and the 360-degree ring with surround sound, immersing visitors with images of Auckland over time.
24.75 tonnes of glass showcases.  
25 films have been specially developed to celebrate the diversity of the people and places that make up the Auckland region.
10 label languages ensure that Tāmaki Herenga Waka can reach and inspire all of Auckland’s diverse communities.

Sharing Auckland’s Stories

The primary entrance to Tāmaki Herenga Waka is through the new South Atrium, Te Ao Mārama but visitors can choose how they experience the galleries thanks to multiple entry and exit points and a thematic design rather than a linear narrative.

Tāmaki Herenga Waka is divided into seven sections across four gallery spaces:

Tāmaki Herenga Waka showcases selected taonga from the three iwi who hold mana whenua status for the Museum’s site at Pukekawa:  Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Paoa and Waikato-Tainui.  These include a kahukiwi (kiwi feather cloak) once worn by Kiingi Taawhiao, the second Māori King.

Tāmaki / Auckland looks at what makes Auckland a desirable place to live; exploring the development of Auckland through the stories of Māori, European, and Pasifika families who settled here.

Land / Whenua explores our relationship to land and landmarks. From Mission Bay to Maungakiekie via cultural icons such as Wah Lee’s Emporium and Karangahape Road, this mix of historic and contemporary stories explores how people draw strength and identity from the unique landscape of Tāmaki. A key feature of the gallery is Kei konei koe You are Here, an audio-visual experience offering up an immersive introduction to Tāmaki, drawing on the wider themes and stories in the gallery. Visitors are invited on a journey through time and space, encountering Auckland from different and surprising perspectives.

Water / Wai explores how the unique geography of the Auckland region and our proximity to water has shaped the way we live. This is depicted through stories of travel and trade and also in terms of lifestyle, recreation and industry. Visitors can simulate hauling a waka over Te Tō Waka, the portage route that links the Tāmaki river and Manukau Harbour near Ōtāhuhu or gain a different view of the Auckland Regatta through a hand-built Victorian-style diorama.

Our City / Taku tāone invites visitors to ‘step outside’ the walls of the gallery and into the wider Auckland region. Eight short films and a selection of curated displays reveal the experiences of different communities living in Auckland through institutions such as the Ponsonby Rugby Club, The Staircase and Te Puea Memorial Marae.

Activate! / Maranga! showcases Auckland in action, exploring the opportunities and pressures that come with being the most urbanised centre in Aotearoa. As well as stories of activism like the Polynesian Panthers, there are also stories of conservation, revitalisation and of innovation and entrepreneurship with profiles of people such as Parris Goebel and Gus Fisher.

Living City / Rarau mai uses 21st century technology to tell the story of Auckland through data, not objects. This dedicated room features large-scale dynamic data visualizations that span three themes: people, environment and systems. An interactive touchscreen allows visitors to dive deeper into the stories within their own neighbourhood. A second interactive touchscreen Eyes on Tāmaki, part of a research partnership with Auckland University, explores the issues of data surveillance and its impacts.

For more stories about Auckland Museum’s Transformation, visit: