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What's on

Saturday 25 October- Sunday 2 November

Free entry

Celebrating Everything Polish

Museum of Wellington City & Sea stages a Celebration of Everything Polish this October to mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival of New Zealand’s first refugees in November 1944.  The 733 Polish children and their 102 guardians came to Wellington before moving to a camp in Pahiatua after a harrowing journey from Poland through Russia and Iran.

Alongside a private reunion for the remaining 340 Polish children, the Museum will host a series of events and a photo exhibition as part of a week-long festival to mark the occasion.

In collaboration with Pahiatua Polish children's community in New Zealand, The Polish Association of New Zealand, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, Wellington City Council and Museum of Wellington City & Sea. READ MORE

Saturday 1 November

5pm - 8pm

Entry by koha

The Big Halloween

Capital E and the Museum present a frightful Halloween special for kids!

WARNING! Only brave souls will have the courage to embark on a ghostly journey throughout the Museum of Wellington City & Sea… In the dark! Armed with a flashlight, you may come across figures of Wellington past sharing their gruesome tales. (Suitable for kids 8+).

*You must bring an adult and flashlight before you can enter.

AND under the sails, ideal for the whole family
Main stage entertainment
Food stalls
Roaming performers

Wednesday 5 November


Free entry

Migrant Settlement

Judi Altinkaya shares her findings on the journey of migrants to New Zealand. 

Migrants have majorly transformed our Kiwi society over the years.  The migrant journey is not always an easy path. When we look across the history of migration to New Zealand, the challenges for migrants settling into living and working here are not new.  Altinkaya asks the question, “what is new is how the New Zealand Government supports these challenges today?” Find out how, and why in this unique discussion.

In partnership with Labour History Project and National Library of New Zealand.

Wednesday 12 November


Free entry

'Jocks’ of All Trades

Come along to hear a discussion on Scottish migrants with a special focus on Wellington’s Scottish people.

Rebecca Lenihan shares a presentation examining the occupations of New Zealand’s Scottish migrants from 1840-1920. Lenihan poses the questions, “was there significant occupational change in individuals’ own lives pre- and post-migration, or between fathers’ and sons’ employment? And “did the occupational profile of New Zealand’s Scots change over this period?”

Located at the National Library of New Zealand

In partnership with Labour History Project and National Library of New Zealand.

Wednesday 19 November


Free entry


'House Girls' in World War Two New Zealand

Hear the unique story of women’s wartime work in a discussion with Charlotte Macdonald.

People from New Zealand's Pacific empire were part of the war effort, as workers and as fighters. Not well known in the story of women's wartime work. Find out more of the history of women from the Pacific employed as domestics in New Zealand homes. This talk tells part of their story.

Located at the National Library of New Zealand

In partnership with Labour History Project and National Library of New Zealand.

Sunday 16 November



Monumental Crawl

Take a walk through Wellington’s statuesque landscape with Dr Mark Stocker (Curator, Historical International Art, Te Papa). Stroll through the streets and hear the stories behind the public sculptures that illustrate our capital city.

From Mansfield to Seddon, Ballance to Fraser - Monumental Crawl with Dr Mark Stocker is a fascinating trail of true history tracing the stories behind the statues.

Duration: 90mins (starts & finishes at Museum of Wellington City & Sea for tea, refreshments and chat)

In the case of truly terrible weather, you'll find a cancellation notice on and on the LitCrawl Facebook page.

Thursday 20 November


Free entry

Birthday Bake-Off

Join our Great Birthday Bakeoff and enter your cake creation into one of following categories:

Best Historical Cake (get researching, get baking!)
Best Tasting Cake (obviously, must be super delicious)
Best Looking Cake (really, really incredibly good looking)
Most Inventive Cake (go nuts)
People’s Choice* awarded at the end of the night after we’ve all had a chance to sample!

Your cake creations will be judged by Dough Momma and The Wellington Chocolate Factory

First dozen to register will receive a gift from the Museum on the night…  Be quick because there is only room for 20 magnificent cakes.

Register by sending us an email with the following details:
Body of email: Birthday Bakeoff Entry, Your Name, The Category/ies
Register by Tuesday 18 November

And if you’re not feeling the baking frenzy then come along anyway for music by Dayle Jellyman, dancing, hot chocolates by The Wellington Chocolate Factory and some serious slices of award-winning cake.

Curated by Pirate & Queen Productions

Sunday 23 November, 2pm

Free entry

David McGill talk

Join David McGill in a discussion on his latest publication, his memoir King Fisher, King Fisher, Take My Luck. Hear his three part talk focusing on people, places, buildings and events in Wellington.

David will also highlight stories of his early Wellington life, his time at university and teachers college, early writing and editing and how his bond with Wellington was strengthened as he moved into journalism at the Listener. It will also consider his experiences campaigning for heritage journalism at the Evening Post, the foundation of the Wellington Civic Trust, and his time as editor and writer of Wellington history. His love of Wellington, and writing about it, led him to discover relations on both sides of his family, something that further contributed to his books.

Wednesday 26 November


Free entry

Migrating to New Zealand – what do we bring with us and what do we leave behind?

Join Pushpa Wood in a discussion focusing on the hard decisions when migrating to a new country.

This talk will explore some of the dilemmas when migrating to another country; opportunities and challenges such a move presents, what some of the deciding factors are, and the occupations, employment conditions and impact of migrating workers.

Located at the National Library of New Zealand

In partnership with Labour History Project and National Library of New Zealand.

Thursday 27 November

12pm - 2pm

Free entry and under the sails

Celebrate our 15th Birthday

Please join us under the sails on Thursday 27 November between 12pm-2pm for a birthday party. Party festivities will include music, give-aways and cupcakes supplied by the Sweet Bakery & Cakery.

On 27 November 1999 - after extensive restoration, conservation and development - the Maritime Museum re-opened with a new name and a new purpose. It became the Museum of Wellington City & Sea with a mission to preserve, present and promote Wellington’s social, cultural and maritime heritage. Wellingtonians now had a place that celebrated their history.

Sunday 30 November, 2.30pm - 3.30pm

Entry by koha

Cantoris Choir

Absorb some choral music of the Romantic Era, in an inspirational setting. Delightful folk song settings by Brahms set the scene. In reflective mood we then drift through his exquisite Evening Serenade and profound Spiritual Song. The well known Cantique of Fauré, imbued with his inimitable French accent, continues the meditative mood.

Beethoven’s short masterpiece “A Calm Sea and a Prosperous Voyage” reminds us where we are, steering us slowly then vigorously to sea. Gentler waters then sway us with both well-known and less familiar Barcarolles, leading triumphantly to Rossini’s charming almost “operatic” scene – The Gondoliere is King!

Further delights in this varied programme include Beethoven’s humourous tribute to his contemporary who invented the metronome - in strict canon of course - and Rossini’s wicked Duet for Two Cats.

Cantoris is directed by Bruce Cash and accompanied by Thomas Nikora