Auckland War Memorial Museum

As well as military artifacts, this museum offers insight into New Zealand’s natural history, Maori culture, and craftwork, such as jewelry and weaving.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum, housed in a Greco–Roman-style building in the Auckland Domain park, was built in 1929 as a memorial to soldiers who died in World War I.

Look up as you approach the building to see the frieze depicting scenes from World Wars I and II. A poppy motif appears in decorative elements on the bronze doors and around the museum, which is home to several permanent exhibits as well as temporary shows.

Walk through the WWI and WWII memorials, where honor rolls preserve the memory of the dead. The Scars of the Heart exhibition compiles experiences and stories of ex-servicemen and civilians, with letters, photographs and artifacts from both wars. Two airplanes – a Spitfire and a Japanese Warbird Zero – are on display nearby.

Explore Maori culture in galleries that house many significant taonga (treasures), including an ornately carved meeting house, a war canoe and one of the earliest examples of Maori decorative carvings. You can see weavings, feather cloaks and hunting weapons. Plan your visit around daily tours, when Maori performers and guides provide deeper insight into the culture.

Get up-close to some of New Zealand’s wildlife in natural history exhibits. Insects, marine life, birds, amphibians and reptiles demonstrate the biodiversity of the island nation.

The Applied and Decorative Arts display exhibits a diverse array of objects. Costumes, musical instruments, clocks, ceramics, glass and metalwork arts are from New Zealand and abroad.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum is open every day except Christmas Day. It’s located in the inner-city neighborhood of Grafton, and is easily accessible by bus. Pay for parking in the museum’s car park.