Kaikōura Museum

Galleries and museum key icon.
Galleries and museum key icon.

Monday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Tuesday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Wednesday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Thursday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Friday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Saturday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

Sunday10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

96 West End, Kaikōura

03 319 7440

Chances are as soon as you pull up in Kaikōura, you’ll spot the landmark craypot building in the centre of town, home of the Kaikōura Museum.

This multipurpose building houses the region’s museum, covering the entire bottom floor. Well worth visiting, not only in order to marvel at the architecture of the unconventional structure, but to encounter the interesting histories of the seaside city of Kaikōura.

The museum revolves around the interconnectedness of land and sea, much like life in Kaikōura. The exhibitions are staged within the circular shape of the building, each flowing naturally to the next within the open plan.

Begin your journey to the museum with the creation of Kaikōura exhibition, and then follow your nose through the human history section to the natural wonders and marine life of the region. The entire museum involves both Pākeha and Māori cultures throughout. There is also an impressive taonga Māori collection, a number of drawers to explore and historical footage of the region’s whaling history, which can be a hard watch for some, but is complemented by stories of the wellbeing of whales in the region in current times.

Look down at your feet in front of the amphitheatre and you’ll see the map of Kaikōura in carpet form. Peek into the squares within the seating and find surprises for the little ones, and take time to peer into the research room just to the side of the entrance, which local people use to look for their whakapapa. 

On the opposite side of the entrance an exhibition on the Kaikōura earthquakes gives visitors an in-depth understanding of the region's seismic 2016 event in the form of oral histories. This exhibition looks at the impacts of the earthquake on the community, landscape and natural environment of the area.

If you have any burning questions, don’t hesitate to approach the friendly and knowledgeable museum staff; they are more than happy to share their expertise with you.

Words by Petra Nyman & Photography by Nancy Zhou

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96 West End, Kaikōura

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