The Volcanoes Gallery
The Volcanoes Gallery is a rare look at our turbulent geological home, an up close and personal examination of the scientific and human stories of volcanoes.
We’re all fascinated by volcanoes. They’re destructive and deadly, but at the same time they’re beautiful and creative. We’re sometimes terrified by them, but we can’t keep away from them either. And of course, their unpredictability only adds to the mix: we still never know exactly what they are going to do next.
Auckland is one of very few cities in the world to be built on an active volcanic field. Volcanoes have been erupting here every few thousand years for the last 250,000 years. According to the geologists, there is no reason to think that there won’t be more. The last eruption in Auckland produced Rangitoto some 600 years ago.
When will the next one erupt? Where will it erupt? Most importantly, will it affect us? What can we do about it? Explore the gallery to discover answers to these and many other questions about volcanoes.
The gallery is installed with a series of modules telling various stories, containing artefacts, interactivity and video. Exhibits tell the story of human interaction with volcanoes from Maori myths and the witnessing of Rangitoto’s emergence, including footprints preserved in ash, to their use as pa sites and quarries. Historic disasters such as Tarawera and Tangiwai are encountered as are the catastrophic effects for life in New Zealand that another major Taupo or Taranaki eruption would create.
The first object visitors see, in the centre of the space, is a 3.5 metre-high recreated vent from a typical Auckland volcano — glowing with rough a’a lava. To one side of it, under a cloud of ash, is a typical Auckland house. These two objects represent two major themes of the exhibition — the science of volcanoes themselves and their effects on human life. A cast of a victim from the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD reminds us both of the deadliness of volcanoes, and their astonishing ability to preserve.
Prepare to arm yourselves with the latest in contemporary understanding of a serious local hotspot, the Auckland Volcanic Field and witness the amazing simulated eruption from our fantastic Puia Street multi-sensory visitor experience.
Open Daily 10am - 5pm