About the Collection


The Museum holds a collection of over 130 watercraft ranging in size and complexity from a surfboard to a 18 metre ketch-rigged scow TED ASHBY, also available for public sailing. 

As well as vessels, the museum has an extensive collection of artefacts, books, archival material and photographs relating to the maritime story of Aotearoa New Zealand and Pacific voyaging. 

The topics we cover include:

• Polynesian and Maori vessels and navigation
• European voyages of exploration
• Settlement and immigration
• Early coastal trading
• Whaling and sealing
• Modern commercial shipping
• Lifeboat services, pilotage and coastguard activities
• Navigation and marine surveying
• Maritime art and crafts
• Recreation and sporting maritime activities
• Maritime trades
• Harbour and port history

Collection Access

As with all museums, only a small portion of what we hold in our collection can be displayed due to space, and resource constraints. Most objects not on permanent display are stored off-site. If there is a particular item you wish to see, we recommend you call or email to make an appointment before you visit.

Our displays are now complimented by our Online Collection database. This growing portal (or port hole for those so inclined) allows people a further glimpse into the depths (yep, did it again) of our diverse and extensive collection.

The Collections Team work behind the scenes to care for the objects in the museum, improving their storage, recording information about each one and its story in our database and making them available to researchers.

If you have any questions or information about our collection, we would love to hear from you - collections@maritimemuseum.co.nz.

To book a trip on one of the collection items you can actually sail on click here.


20 Treasures

From among the many items on display in the New Zealand Maritime Museum, we have chosen twenty treasured objects, which encapsulate some of the most significant aspects of New Zealand’s maritime history. Find out more about them here.