The Bond Store
When you enter Wellington Museum you’re transported straight to the waterfront of Pōneke in the late 1800s – a time when the Museum was known as the Bond Store, where it was a bonded cargo warehouse holding goods.
Playful, poignant and full of surprises, the exhibition tells Wellington stories inspired by its natural and cultural landscape. Make discoveries about Wellington’s people, art, and environment through toi and taonga from our collection and tamariki activities.
Explore significant Wellington events with the large-scale timeline beginning at Te Orokohanga (creation). From the explorations of the Polynesian navigator Kupe and the Haowhenua earthquake circa 1460 AD, right through to the memorable Absolutely Positively Wellington campaign which started back in 1991, and the Covid-19 pandemic our city is still navigating today.
Newly displayed taonga from the museum’s collection tell unique stories of the city from Nicky Hagar’s seized and smashed hard drive to Dame Catherine Healy’s Umbrella.
Artists Xoë Hall, Derek Cowie and Ariki Brightwell also share their unique interpretations of Te Whanganui-a-Tara through vibrant, commissioned works.
Enter the nautical world of ships and sailors, explorers and seafarers. Steer ships and haul cargo on board as you enter Jack’s Boathouse. Experience living in a real captain’s cabin and learn more about the iconic Pōneke dog, Paddy the Wanderer.
In this emotive account of the 1968 Wahine disaster, a tragic moment in our maritime history is shown through the eyes of noted Aotearoa filmmaker Gaylene Preston.
Von Kohorn Room
For sheer opulence, enter the grand Von Kohorn Room, once the boardroom of the powerful Wellington Harbour Board. Listen to the historical accounts of the momentous decisions made here, including the declaration of Pōneke as the first nuclear-free port of Aotearoa.
Explore different perspectives and alternative histories, journeys and migrations. This exhibition showcases our most prized Taonga, Te Whanganui a Tara (The Great Harbour of Tara), and contemporary work from Māori artists and poets. With a gallery-like feel and strong graphics, this space is set to stimulate, question and interact.
A Millennium Ago
A Millennium Ago – Māori Stories from Way Back uses intriguing theatrical illusionistic techniques to tell Māori creation legends.
It’s here that the weird, worrisome and wonderful stories of te hītori o Pōneke take centre stage. Displaying fantastical creations from lions to flying saucers, this steampunk-styled exhibit space is a museum experience with a difference. The Attic begs you to be curious. To explore. To listen. Even to time-travel. And to be totally engaged. You never know what you’ll find.
Stashed in The Attic is a time machine, Ngā Hau, which combines the magic of cinema with installation art. Spinning and clanking its way through time, Ngā Hau takes you on a journey through Wellington’s history, where you meet significant characters who share their stories with you. Ngā Hau breathes life into our Hītorī – you’ll be captivated!
Ngā Hau was developed by Perceptual Engineering in conjunction with Wellington Museum.
The Frederick de Jersey Clere Room
Wellington Museum (The Bond Store) was designed by Frederick de Jersey Clere. Inside The Attic is a room dedicated to The English-born architect Frederick de Jersey Clere, where you’ll learn about the planning and design of the building, and see its original blueprints. The Bond Store is one of the most architecturally significant buildings in Aotearoa.
See our Wellington Museum events, courses and more.
Kia ora. Due to staff absence relating to COVID-19, please check our Facebook page @wellingtonmuseum for information on COVID-19-related closures.
Our visiting hours are 10am to 5pm, 7 days a week.
Free General Admission.
Bookings are essential for all schools groups, tour groups and commercial operators. Charges may apply.
3 Jervois Quay, Queens Wharf
The Museum is located at the heart of Wellington’s waterfront, just two minutes from Lambton Quay and the cable car.