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Best viewed at 800 x 600

Level 1 Galleries

Ground Floor | Level 2 | Special Feature


By the Sea We Live

Wellington's harbour is so much a part of the City - from its earliest years of development to today's commercial waterfront and recreational uses.

From first human arrival we celebrate 800 years of the maritime history of central New Zealand, ranging from disasters, environment and folklore to interactives, the Interislander (ferry) and fishing - literally from waka to container ship.

The restored Captain's Cabin from the steam ship Te Anau.

The Wahine Disaster

A memorial to the 1968 maritime tragedy of the interisland ferry, the Wahine. On 10 April, 1968 the Wahine tried to enter Wellington Harbour, but a savage storm drove it into Barretts Reef and successive events led to the loss of 51 lives. The Gallery features a film by renowned New Zealand filmmaker Gaylene Preston,commemorating those who died and displays memorabilia from the Wahine. Featured on a large video screen the 12-minute film plays every 15-minutes during opening hours. (Seating is provided.)

Wahine Survivors


A lifeboat from the Wahine lands.
( Photo courtesy of The Evening Post & Museum Collection.)


The Board Room (The von Kohorn Room)

Once the meeting place for the all-powerful Wellington Harbour Board in the days of Wellington's development as a port, the magnificent 1920s high ceiling ornate room is now restored to its former grandeur.

State-of-the-art headphones play recreated conversations of past board meetings transporting visitors back to another era.

The adjacent Wellington Historical & Early Settlers Association Committee Room also houses the medal collection of the United Services Medal Trust.

The Historic Board Room

Situated on level 1, access is at the northern end of the maritime gallery, By the Sea We Live.