Auckland War Memorial Museum
The enormous War Memorial Museum in Auckland is housed in a massive Neoclassical edifice that dates from 1929 and was built as a memorial to New Zealand troops who fought in World War I. It now holds an outstanding collection of items tracing New Zealand’s history from its first Polynesian inhabitants to the present day, as well as highlighting the country’s natural environment.
The Main Maori Galleries are particularly noteworthy, as they house a variety of artwork, including a beautiful Maori gateway dating from the 12th to the 14th centuries, a richly-decorated Meeting House, and a 25-meter-long canoe that Maori warriors once paddled into Manukau Harbour.
The natural history collection is housed on the first level, which includes a reproduction of the country’s fabled and now-extinct enormous moa birds. The museum’s top floor is dedicated to war memorials, which tell the story of New Zealand’s role in global conflict throughout its history. There are guided tours available, as well as frequent lectures and workshops.