Pacific Lifeways

Pacific Lifeways displays the diversity of island communities across the Pacific and the common concepts and technologies that bind them across the vast reaches of that ocean.


Our Pacific collections are one of the most important in the world, and reflect New Zealand's place as a Pacific Nation. In the Lifeways gallery histories and cultures are explored.  With over 1,200 artefacts, what becomes apparent to visitors is the enduring strength of these cultures and their survival through centuries of peacetime and warfare as well as colonisation.

Greeting visitors as they enter the gallery is Kave, the supreme and malevolent goddess from the island of Nukuoro in the Caroline Islands. Made from the wood of a breadfruit tree and standing over two metres high, Kave is thought to be at least 160 years old and was brought to New Zealand in the 1870s by a Pacific Islands trader.

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