As one of the most important sites in New Zealand, the Auckland War Memorial Museum is a popular place to learn about the regional, natural, and military history of the country. The architecture of the museum makes the center an iconic building that overlooks Auckland from its location on a dormant volcano. Resembling the Parthenon there are 8 large columns that welcome visitors into the grand entrance. Filled with both classical and modern design elements, both the war memorial and knowledge are symbolized through the Greek neoclassical style, which was the intended background for the diverse center. With a wide range of exhibits and an impressive collection of military, natural, and regional history guests are able to learn more about the world around them by discovering the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
It is one of the most important museums in New Zealand and exhibits thousands of objects and specimens from the fields of entomology, botany, geology, marine biology, and land vertebrates. It is unique for its emphasis on military history; parts of the building even serve as a war memorial focusing on WWI and WWII. However, the exhibits within the museum educate visitors on an array of topics such as Maori and War Memorial Galleries. The Maori Galleries are a centered feature because of their significance to the regional history of Auckland. The collection is the biggest gathering of Maori treasures and artifacts in the world and it is very significant to the history of New Zealand. The Maori are the indigenous people who derived from eastern Polynesia that settled on the islands and created a rich culture and their own language. In the Maori galleries there are over 1000 treasures on displayed in the exhibits of Maori Court and the Maori Natural History Gallery. Each of these artifacts are ancestral representations from the major tribes from Aotearoa, which is present day New Zealand, and the galleries tell the story of Maori history, spirituality, and customs. In the Maori Court there are artifacts that date back to the settlement of Aoteroa that have been collected by the museum.
These items span from woven articles, hunting materials, to original full-sized buildings such as a meetinghouse, which all come together to represent the diverse and rich history of the Maori. The Maori Natural History Gallery focuses on providing visitors an understanding of Maori technological and scientific knowledge. Beginning with their beliefs on creation the exhibit continues to explore the spiritual aspect of the tribes. The supernatural beliefs strongly impacted how the environment and science were perceived, which created a unique and culture. A large portion of the museum is dedicated to providing visitors with information about battles that have affected New Zealand in the War Memorial Galleries. Two of these featured collections on the top floor of the museum include the Holocaust Gallery and Scars on the Heart. The Jewish community in Auckland strived to tell the story of their persecution during WWII through photographs, artifacts, and personal stories in the exhibit of the Holocaust Gallery. Throughout the span of the war six million Jews in Europe were exterminated by the Nazis, and the horrific event is used by the museum to make the point that individuals make choices to act or not act and that violence can always be stopped. In the collection of Scars on the Heart, the civil wars in New Zealand, the Anglo-Boer War, WWI, WWII, the Asian conflicts, and United Nations peacekeeping missions are explored. The exhibit is filled with personal items such as letters, photographs, and clothing, which tell the stories of these wars through the voices of New Zealanders and the armed forces.
There are many events that take place at the Auckland War Memorial Museum that adds to the culture and history of the center. Two of these activities that can be participated in are the Maori cultural performance and Voice on the Wind, Traces in the Earth. The Maori cultural performance gives visitors an insight to the vibrant Maori culture through a dance presentation, which conveys the story of Aoteroa. To learn about Polynesian oral histories the event Voice on the Wind, Traces in the Earth features Professor Kirch who will talk about his studies of integrating indigenous traditions with archaeology. Through all of the collections and events at the museum, visitors are able to learn more about the natural and cultural history of the country while respecting the war memorials.
The Auckland Domain Parnell, Phone: +64-93-09-04-43