10 Interesting Facts About the Museum of New Zealand

Because of its relatively young age (New Zealand is one of the last countries to have been “discovered” in written history), New Zealand’s past isn’t as extensively documented as that of its colonizers, for instance. Thankfully, however, that didn’t hinder the powers that be in this country from coming up with an institution as intriguing as the Museum of New Zealand.

The country’s eponymous museum is arguably its most innovative and interactive. If you were only in NZ for a limited time and wanted to visit an attraction that allowed you to explore all of its great treasures and stories (its unique natural environment, Maori culture, art heritage, and what we know of its history), Te Papa Tongarewa has your name on it.

To further entice you to put this venerable institution on your itinerary, here are ten of the coolest trivia about its past, present, and future:

1. The Museum of New Zealand was established in 1992 by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongerawa Act.

However, it wasn’t officially opened until Valentine’s Day 1998. By then, building costs had gone all the way up to NZ$300 million.

2. It’s called “Te Papa Tongarewa” in the Maori tongue.

This broadly translates into “The Place of Treasures of this Land.” Given how the museum’s principles incorporate the narratives of culture and place, and how these relate to the bi-cultural partnership between indigenous and non-indigenous people, such a translation is quite appropriate.

3. A modern five-story hotel previously occupied the museum’s present-day site.

To make way for the museum, the said hotel was pulled off its foundations onto numerous rail bogies and transported 200 meters down the road to where it currently sits. It’s now called the Museum Hotel.

4. Among the permanent displays of the museum are the remains of a colossal squid.

the remains of a colossal squid
Image Credit: Te Papa Store

At 495 kg and 4.2 metres, this rare specimen is the largest of its kind to have been captured in living memory. It was captured by New Zealand fishermen in the Ross Sea off Antarctica and was subsequently enshrined in the the museum in 2007.

5. Back in 1998, a controversial art work displayed at the museum drew vehement protests from Christians.

Virgin in a Condom
Image Credit: stuff.co.nz

It was Tania Kovats’ “Virgin in a Condom,” and it featured a 7 cm-high statue of the Blessed Virgin sheathed in, well, a condom. The Christians hated it, big surprise.

6. There is an extensive library on Maori art and history on the fourth floor of the museum’s main building.

Te Papa Tongarewa Library
Image Credit: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Called the Te Aka Matua Library, it used to be open to the general public. These days, it’s only open to researchers who can make appointments to conduct their studies within between 10 am to 5 pm, from Mondays to Fridays.

7. The museum’s history collection includes dresses and textiles that date all the way back to the sixteenth century.

Philatelics (i.e., those who like to collect stamps) will also be delighted by the 20,000 stamps in the New Zealand Post Archive in this area.

8. Since 2013, the museum has been split into two parts.

Te Papa Tongarewa split in to two
Image Credit: Stumbling Through the Past

One has been operating the same way ever since the institution opened, and the other one focused on exhibitions that showcased the future of New Zealand art and culture.

9. NZ-developed technology was used to strengthen the main building’s base against earthquakes.

Base isolation, which involves seating the entire building on supports made from lead, steel, and rubber, was invoked to diminish the effects of an earthquake on the museum and all of its precious contents.

10. The Museum of New Zealand maintains an active events calendar.

Nga Kai o Matariki
Image Credit: Auckland Council

For instance, this month alone, they’ve got the “Nga Kai o Matariki,” which celebrates traditional Maori New year cuisine; “Tiramarama,” a storytelling session involving some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s best-known tales in both Maori and English; and “Theatre: Fire in the Water, Fire in the Sky,” where three Pasifika performers interpret concepts like climate change, colonization, and Christianity through theater and dance.

The Museum of New Zealand is located at 55 Cable Street, Wellington Central, Wellington, 6011, New Zealand. Entry is free of charge and save for Christmas Day, is open every day from 10 am – 6 pm.

Why Young Tourists Don’t Need a Passport to Go Drinking in New Zealand

One of the biggest hassles that come with being a traveler or a tourist is that you need to have your passport on you at all times. It would, of course, be much safer and more convenient for you to leave this document at your hostel or hotel, but bars and supermarkets often require proof of age for customers who wish to buy or consume liquor.

Interestingly, New Zealand came up with a solution to this problem and it’s called the Hospitality New Zealand 18+ card.

Officially called an “Evidence of Age Document,” this ID card essentially contains your photograph, name, and date of birth, thus proving that you are 18 years old or above. And yes, it counts as a valid ID in New Zealand!

How does one avail of this magical object? It’s quite simple, as you’ll see below:

1. Avail of and fill up a Hospitality NZ 18+ Card Application form.

These are available at any PostShop or you can access this link and print out the form from there.

2. Assemble the following requirements:

a.) A passport-sized (5 cm x 4 cm) photograph.

It should have been taken within the past 12 months and should feature a clear frontal view of your head and shoulders (i.e., no sunglasses, hat, or any other accessory obscuring any of your features).

If you don’t have one on you, you can pay to have a passport-sized photo taken at an NZ PostShop for a small fee.

b.) An original government-issued ID with a photo.

This can be a passport, a firearms license, a New Zealand driver’s license (if you managed to get one prior), a Certificate of Identity issued under the Passport Act of 1992, or a Refugee Travel Document issued by or on behalf of the New Zealand document.

Current ID’s are ideal, but those that have been expired for less than two (2) years are also considered valid for this application.

c.) Proof of Address.

You also need to present a document proving that you are living at the address you listed in the application form. A bank statement or a letter from an educational institute or employer addressed to the same is a good example, provided that it is less than 12 months old. Utility or credit card bills can also be considered so long as they are less than 6 months old.

3. Submit your complete application in person at a PostShop and settle the NZ$45 fee.

Remember to keep your receipt.

5. Wait for your spanking new Hospitality NZ 18+ card to arrive at the address on your application after about two weeks.

See how easy that was? Now, go on and apply so you can enjoy a hassle-free night-out on the town in Auckland or Queenstown!

Sail the Seas (Well, Sort of) at the New Zealand Maritime Museum

Quick, what do Moana and New Zealand have in common? Answer: They both have a history linked to the sea.

Okay, that was random, but there are only so many ways that you could use pop culture to sell an attraction like the New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Inaugurated in 1993, the New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Anaui a Tangaroa (whew, what a mouthful) is Auckland’s premier destination for all navy and seafaring aficionados. Fittingly enough, it’s located on Hobson Wharf and is adjacent to Central Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour. In case you’re wondering, that Maori phrase its name translates to “Holder of the Treasures of Tangaroa,” with the latter being the Maori Sea God. (See? That Moana comparison wasn’t so left field, after all.)

Thomas Lance “Rodney” Wilson - 1993 America’s Cup

It was Thomas Lance “Rodney” Wilson who founded the museum with his fundraising efforts back in 1989. It would officially open its doors about four years later, just in time for the 1993 America’s Cup regatta, which, as luck would have it, was being held in Auckland that year.

Today, the sleek, futuristic structure houses exhibitions that pay tribute to New Zealand’s maritime history, from the first Polynesian explorers and settlers to present day yachting successes at the aforementioned America’s Cup.

The Hawaiki Exhibition, for instance, displays replicas of the intricate voyaging canoes that brought in the first settlers from Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. If you loved the seafaring vessels in 2016’s “Moana” (and there’s that reference again), you’ll be able to get a look at these floating works of art up close.

Sir Peter Blake, New Zealand’s most celebrated mariner

There’s also an exhibit dedicated to Sir Peter Blake, New Zealand’s most celebrated mariner. As an exemplary ocean racer and a dedicated environmentalist, Blake brought great acclaim to his birth country through his remarkable achievements in the yachting world. The “Blue Water, Black Magic” exhibition also showcases the cutting-edge seacraft design and nautical prowess that has allowed the country to dominate just about all the significant blue-water sailing events in the world at one time or another.

You can also engage in some interactive activities in between meandering down the halls of the display corridors. There are various areas within the museum where you can try designing a yacht, reclining in a kiwi-style bach, hoisting the sails, hearing the cannon fire, and “battening down the hatches” in the rocking cabin.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be a proper maritime experience if you couldn’t get out on the water, and the New Zealand Maritime Museum obliges by taking its visitors on daily (save Sundays) hour-long voyages of the harbor on the Ted Ashby, a fully-restored scow.

hour-long voyages of the harbor on the Ted Ashby
Image Credit: eventfinda

The New Zealand Maritime Museum is located at Corner Quay & Hobson Streets, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland Central, Auckland 1010. Opening hours are from 10 am to 5 pm every day, with the last entries being admitted at 4 pm.  

Filipino Stores and Restaurants in New Zealand and Where to Find Them

Thanks to enterprising OFW’s, you can pretty much satisfy a craving for sinigang or adobo in just about any corner of the globe (except maybe North Korea). I’m talking, of course, about that wonderful beacon of hope for OFW’s the world over: the Filipino grocery.

New Zealand is quite remote when you think about it, yet its Filipino population is sizeable enough for it to merit its own handful of stores and groceries that ship products and ingredients in from the Philippines, along with quite a few restaurants specializing in our national cuisine, as you’ll see on the following list:

Filipino Stores:

Tren-D (The Filipino Shop)

Address: 8 Waiapu Ln, Onehunga, Auckland 1061, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 9-634 0588

Pino Plus Asian Store (Auckland)

Pino Plus Asian Store(Aukland)
Address: 7 Waipareira Ave, Henderson, Auckland 0610, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 9-836 2566

Pino Plus Asian Store (Hamilton)

Pino Plus Asian Store (Hamilton)
Address: 241 Kahikatea Dr, Frankton, Hamilton 3204, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 7-846 2566

Tres Marias Trading Ltd.

Address: 52 Queens Rd, Panmure, Auckland 1072, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 9-570 8986

Fiesta Pinoy Asian Shop

Fiesta Pinoy Asian Shop

Address: 271 Cameron St.,Tauranga 3110, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 7-578 8638

Kee’s Mart Filipino/Asian Food Store

Kee’s Mart Filipino-Asian Food Store
Address: 54 Montgomery Square, Nelson, 7010, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 3-539 4737

Pinoy Mart Ltd.

Pinoy Mart Ltd.
Address: Westfield Glenfield 111 Bentley Ave, Glenfield, Auckland 0629, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 9-443 1606

Filipino Restaurants

Turo-Turo Philippine Cafe

Turo-Turo Philippine Cafe
Address: 26 Mayfair Pl, Glen Innes, Auckland 1072, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 9-528 6050

The Philippines Bakery

The Philippines Bakery
Address: 475A Papanui Road, Papanui, Christchurch 8053, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 3-352 9783

3 Kings

3 Kings

Address: 52 Mokoia Rd, Birkenhead, Auckland 0626, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 9-480 5100

Gold Ribbon

Gold Ribbon
Address:  W 0602, 1 W Coast Rd, Glen Eden, Auckland 0602, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 9-818 9929

Balay ni Lola

Balay ni Lola
Address: 332 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga 3116, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 7-575 8947

Boracay Garden Restaurant Ltd.

Boracay Garden Restaurant Ltd.
Address: 124 Customs St W, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand
Contact Number: +64 9-377 3288
So long as you don’t live in the more remote areas, this directory of Filipino stores and restaurants clearly ensures that you’re only moments away from getting your lutong-bahay (home-cooked food) fix whenever the need arises.

Uncovering Mission Bay: New Zealand’s Various Delights

We’ve said it time and again: the Philippines has the most beautiful beaches in the world. New Zealand’s Mission Bay still doesn’t hold a candle to them as far as sheer visual appeal is concerned, but it does offer other things to make up for that.

Located about seven kilometres away from Auckland, Mission Bay is a seaside suburb, sort of like what the Hamptons are to New York. Its name is derived from the Melanesian Mission, which was established by the Anglican Bishop George Augustus Selwyn in the area at the end of the 1840’s. Back then, it was comprised mostly of mission buildings made out of scoria rock quarried on the island of Rangitoto.

These days, the old mission buildings have been taken over as heritage properties by Heritage New Zealand and the former St. Andrews College has been leased out as a restaurant. Thus, Mission Bay has gone from being a rather austere location to a sizable venue for leisurely relaxation.

So, what sort of amusements await those who venture east of the city centre and into this popular resort?

1. Dining and Drinking.

Dining and Drinking

Eating has got to be one of my favorite things to do while on vacation (and well, at just about any other time, but in my defense, I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like stuffing their pie hole with something delicious), and Mission Bay apparently has plenty of eateries that serve everything from burgers, milk shakes, and Southern Fried Chicken Waffles to moules-frites and an extensive range of Belgian Beers.

Diehard ice cream lovers will also be thrilled to know that Movenpick, a European brand which serves a fabulous range of decadent frozen Swiss desserts in hand-rolled waffle cones, has a scoopery here.

2. Biking.

Image Credit: Mission Bay

They say the best way to explore the Eastern Bays is to take a bike and ride it along the Promenade. If you’d like to see for yourself, bikes are available for hire every day of the week at stalls in the heart of Mission Bay.

They’ve even got some of those two-seater bikes if you want to pedal along the bay with your date (or if, like me, you somehow managed to make it into adulthood without learning how to ride a bike sans training wheels).

3. Fitness Exercises.

Fitness Exercises

Fancy practicing those calisthenics or parkour moves amidst jaw-dropping scenery? Head on over to the Eastern end of Selwyn Reserve. Here, a park was designed in conjunction with local fitness trainers to appeal to a wide range of fitness buffs who prefer to remain committed to their regimens even while on holiday.

4. Rollerblading.

Relive your 90’s childhood by renting a pair of roller skates from Fergs Kayaks on Tamaki Drive and cruising along on the promenade in them. Don’ forget to put on a helmet!

5. Kayaking and Paddle Boarding.

Kayaking and Paddle Boarding
Image Credit: Mission Bay Watersports

The clear blue waters surrounding Mission Bay are so serene that you can take a kayak or a paddle board out to sea and manage to stay afloat while basking in the glorious views and the fragrant, salty air.

You can even drop by Mission Bay Water Sports and sign up for surfing lessons should you be so inclined.

6. Sightseeing.


Ocean views aside, Mission Bay is also home to some pretty magnificent installations. For one, there’s the Trevor Davis Memorial Fountain. This 60+ year-old landmark has been a source of beauty, fun, and interest to those visiting Selwyn Reserve, what with the graceful arcs of water spouting from its base and the colorful, calming lights illuminating them.

Speaking of lighting, Mission Bay is also well known for the decorative lighting dotting the lush, leafy trees on the promenade. The display is especially wonderful in the evenings, and even provide added security by brightening up the path.

7. Beaching.

Image Credit: neville samuels

With a name like Mission Bay, you’re bound to find some typical beach activities to engage in. Here, you can take a dip in the sea, hire a kayak, throw a frisbee around, and perhaps even join the crowds of sunbathing bodies, if you dare.

8. Plain Ol’ Chilling.

Plain Ol’ Chilling

The harbour views from the Michael Savage Memorial’s hilltop spot are said to be absolutely awe-inspiring and the picture-perfect garden onsite is said to be ideal for an idyllic picnic. Not a bad way to spend a lazy afternoon, eh?

Mission Bay might not be as picturesque as, say, El Nido or Pearl Farm, but it’s still a great place to frequent if you prefer to spend your summers moseying along by the seaside. And by the looks of things, those of us with short attention spans will always find something to do here too.