New Beginnings

Meet New Zealand's early European settlers and find out how they braved the ocean to arrive, survive and build new lives



In earlier times, before the construction of many roads and railway lines – ferries transported passengers and goods and livestock around the coastline and across harbours. Step into the wheelhouse of TAKAPUNA, a former Devonport Steam Ferry that once operated on the Waitematā Harbour.  


As some of the earliest European settlers, whalers and sealers survived harsh conditions to work the bountiful hunting grounds around New Zealand’s coasts.  

The Immigrants

Re-live the stories of immigrants from the 1850s through to the 1960s, who left their homes, families, and possessions for a life on the other side of the world. Experience what such a journey would have been like in the 1840s by walking through our Rocking Cabin – a reproduction of a steerage cabin.