About Us


New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa

We celebrate Aotearoa New Zealand’s bond with the sea and our unique stories of discovery, exploration, immigration and sailing.

As one of the most geographically isolated island nations, New Zealanders have an incredible connection with the ocean. The Museum features the innovators and dreamers who forged New Zealand’s spirit of exploration, from the first discovery by Kupe, to one of the most courageous migrations by the Polynesian peoples, to Abel Tasman and then Cook.

We provide a fascinating glimpse into our wonderful relationship with the sea as explorers and every day New Zealanders. With a team of passionate and knowledgeable staff and volunteers, we share New Zealand’s history and inspirational stories throughout our extensive galleries, exhibitions, programmes and on-water experiences. Situated in Auckland’s vibrant Viaduct Harbour, our Museum is also a unique and versatile event venue. Our fleet of incredible heritage vessels are available for regular sailings and charters on the Waitematā Harbour.


Our Gifted Māori Name

Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa
When asked for an appropriate Māori title for the New Zealand Maritime Museum Sir Hugh Kāwharu proceeded to give a steer toward the ancient Māori and Polynesian understanding of Tangaroa as personification of the sea and its many powerful elements.

Sir Hugh gifted the name ‘Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa’ to the Museum. This is a traditional and universally understood name for the dwelling of Tangaroa, ‘an undersea haven; his home’ beneath the sea. The descriptions of Tangaroa are many, rich and vivid. And so too his dwelling in terms of its narratives in Māori lore, especially seen in the origins of whakairo (wood carving) and marae visual arts including ta moko (living skin art).

Tangaroa, Atua (guardian) has many personifications here and across the Pacific. Tangaroa, the controller of tides - he whose breathing makes the ebb and flow - taa ngā roa whakamautai, with connotations of the combined forces of waves, wind, moon, stars and the related forces of nature.


Our History

The Maritime Museum was first proposed in 1980 by a group of like minded individuals, many of whom were Auckland Harbour Board and Union Steam Ship Company members. It was to house the growing collection of maritime archives within the Auckland Maritime Society and Auckland Museum collections, while establishing a New Zealand maritime history collection and exhibition facility. It was to be the first and only Museum that dealt with New Zealand’s maritime history as a whole, and was to be called the Auckland Maritime Museum Hobson Wharf.

Auckland Maritime Museum Hobson Wharf opened in August 1993 with Dr. Rodney Wilson as its inaugural director. The name subsequently changed to the New Zealand National Maritime Museum. The New Zealand National title was bestowed by then Prime Minister the Hon. Jim Bolger in 1996.

Founding Director, Dr Rodney Wilson, passed away 27 April 2013. View our tribute to a spectacular man. Read more.

Up until the March 2018 the Museum was run by the New Zealand National Maritime Museum Trust Board, a body incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957.

The New Zealand Maritime Museum is now part of Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA).

Working for Auckland in partnership with public stakeholders and private enterprises, Regional Facilities Auckland is an Auckland Council controlled organisation (CCO) that provides a regional approach to running and developing Auckland’s arts, culture and heritage, sport and leisure sector. RFA provides a regional voice to advocate for the sector and lead strategic thinking that contributes to making Auckland a vibrant and prosperous city in which to live and visit.

RFA business units include: Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Conventions, Auckland Live, Auckland Stadiums, Auckland Zoo and New Zealand Maritime Museum.

You can find out more on the Regional Facilities Auckland website.


Our Vision

Our aspiration

To explore and unite people with the sea


Our Mission

What we do

To preserve, present, interpret, and celebrate Aotearoa New Zealand’s maritime heritage. Being a place of learning and understanding: engaging our audience through unique maritime experiences


Our Values

Guiding our decision making

Kaitiakitanga - To strengthen our identity by protecting and sharing Aotearoa New Zealand’s Nga Taonga o te moana o Tangaroa

Manaakitanga - Respect and value all of our stories, all of our Taonga Moana and all of our relationships

Whanaungatanga - Working together to achieve best practice

Courageous & Curious - To explore, to challenge, to be bold, to be innovative. Being active and growing through curiosity

Creativity - Being smart and creative

Integrity - To have integrity in all that we do


Annual Plan 2017/18

For the Museum’s current annual plan click here.

Annual Report 2016/17

For the Museum’s current annual report click here.