Pukekawa and Tāmaki Paenga Hira

To Māori, the museum site is known as Pukekawa, meaning ‘hill of bitter memories’ and refers to tribal battles fought on the site until 1828 between Hongi Hika (leading Ngāpuhi from the North) and Pōtatau Te Wherowhero (leading the local Ngāti Whātua).
Tāmaki Paenga Hira, the Māori name for the Museum, means Auckland’s memorial to fallen chiefs and their gathered taonga.
Tāmaki is Auckland, the net of Maki. Paenga is to ceremonially layout, heap together on a marae, a margin, a chiefly boundary, and a reference to those fallen in battle. Hira is numerous, abundant, important, of consequence, great.


We are now five years into delivering our Future Museum strategy. We are transforming your Museum, refurbishing and revitalising our galleries and adding more public space to showcase more of our collections. 

We are making it easier to get around, in our grounds and within the Museum itself. 
A world-class, vibrant hospitality and retail precinct is essential to an enjoyable Museum experience, which is why we’re creating a hub in the South Atrium. 

We want our visitors to come back again and again. To explore the galleries, view special exhibitions, shop, meet friends for coffee and lunch and spend more time in the Museum and its grounds.
The Future Museum strategy is enabling that. Our future is about partnerships and collaboration, and developing creative solutions that mean better value for Aucklanders and the wider educational and cultural institutions we serve. 

Future Museum will see us becoming a truly 24/7 global, digital museum, accessible by all. You can download the Future Museum strategy here.  

A new pathway

We are creating a new pathway to improve access across Auckland Domain from Parnell. The pathway will vastly improve access to the South Atrium, whether you’re on foot, pushing a stroller, or in a wheelchair.

A better welcome

The South Atrium will become a vibrant visitor arrival area, where we’ll welcome you with manaakitanga.

It will be a destination in its own right, a place to meet friends and family, whether you simply enjoy the refreshments on offer, shop in the Museum store, or spend time in our galleries and exhibitions. Or enjoy a picnic in beautiful Pukekawa Auckland Domain with the historic war memorial as a backdrop. 

Improved ways to get around

Once inside, new walkways on each side of the ground floor will provide direct access from the Atrium in the south, to Maori Court in the north and vice versa. 

As well as providing more intuitive ways to move around the building, the walkways will also open up more space to showcase more of the collections.

Revitalised Galleries

Approximately 50% of our onsite galleries and public spaces will be renewed; enabling us to tell the stories of Tamakai Makaurau Auckland in new, engaging and innovative ways.

On the Ground Floor

Revitalised ground floor galleries will enable you to explore stories about the people and places that make Tāmaki unique, including the navigation from the Pacific, the discovery of Aotearoa, and the arrival of tangata whenua into present today. 

There will also be a larger, more engaging special exhibition space, which means we will be able to hold more international exhibitions, which our visitors tell us they want.

A new learning hub

The growth in school group visits and demand for our onsite education space means two classrooms on Level One will be modernised to become best practice learning environments.

The space outside the classrooms will become an information space for visiting school groups to gather and orientate themselves. 

The new galleries which lead from here will share the story of our environment. You will be able to explore and discover the landscapes, environments and wildlife of Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa and beyond.

A place for remembering

Pou Maumahara Memorial Discovery Centre opened in 2016, and more recently Pou Kanohi New Zealand at War opened. With its heritage features restored, this gallery is a place for people to learn about New Zealand’s unique story of the First World War and why, more than 100 years later, it still matters.

Both galleries have been funded by a significant Lotteries Grant, and reflect the importance of our WWI 100 commemoration programme. 

What you need to know


We will remain open, and continue to deliver new and exciting public experiences onsite, offsite in the community and online. 

Temporary layout changes and movement of facilities will be signposted and communicated clearly. Maori Cultural Performances and guided tours will continue and may take different routes from time to time. 

Check back for more updates. 

You can download the Future Museum strategy here.