FRI 13 SEP 2019 - SUN 15 MAR 2020

Jump on board this Pacific adventure where you can sail a va’a around the Society Islands, experience life as a sailor, and the charting of the coastline of Aotearoa.

You and your family can experience life as it was 250 years ago in our action-packed new exhibition. Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the world of Tupaia, the Tahitian navigator, high priest and artist, as he journeys on the Endeavour to Aotearoa New Zealand.

With three parts to this exhibition, each with child-friendly interactive activities, we feature the little-known story of Tupaia and the significant role he played in James Cook’s first voyage. Experience life as a sailor, navigate your vessel across the ocean, watch Tupaia’s paintings come to life, and more.

School Visits
Please note that due to limited gallery capacity, we recommend booking a school programme for guaranteed access to Voyage to Aotearoa.
Access for self-guided visits will be subject to space being available in the gallery.

Voyage to Aotearoa is part of the nationwide Tuia 250 commemoration and is supported by funding from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Te Puna Tahua.


In Tahiti, visitors will be introduced to Tupaia the Arioi (high priest), experience what everyday life was like in Tahiti in 1768 and learn about the Endeavour’s time in there with Tupaia.

Interactives bring Tupaia’s paintings to life with movement and song; allow visitors to navigate their va’a in the Society Islands; and watch the Endeavour’s route unfold around Aotearoa.

The Endeavour

Moving through the exhibition, visitors can experience the mess hall of the Endeavour, see how sailors ate and slept on the ship and even jump in a hammock and try on clothes of the time. A series of dioramas give a glimpse into life on the ship, and Banks’ quarters shows the Endeavour as a research vessel, with a selection of original plant specimens collected in Aotearoa in 1769-70 on display.


Finally, arriving in Aotearoa, watch the Endeavour’s route unfold around the coastline. Learn about the first onshore meetings between Māori and British, Tupaia’s relationships with Māori, and his role as cultural broker. 

Related Events


SAT 25 JAN - WED 1 APR 2020

Voyage to Aotearoa

Ata Hira Museum on the Move


Ata Hira: Museum on the Move: Voyage to Aotearoa, presents perspectives on Tupaia in Tahiti, on the Endeavour and his arrival to Aotearoa.

SAT 14 DEC 2019 - FRI 7 FEB 2020

Voyage to Aotearoa

Quest of the Navigators

FREE with Museum Entry

This summer become a navigator!

Follow our clues to discover what skills, tools and knowledge were used in the pre-digital age, while you explore the Museum galleries.
Stay the course and you’ll go into the draw to win a special prize pack from the Museum shop.

New book

The Adventures of Tupaia

Accompanying the exhibition is the illustrated graphic novel The Adventures of Tupaia written by Courtney Sina Meredith and illustrated by Mat Tait.

Buy now