Waitangi Treaty Grounds CEO Greg McManus is thrilled the new museum has won the Best Museum Project award: “It is recognition of all the hard work by so many people to bring the museum to
reality and we are delighted to be the joint winner.”
The museum exterior features stunning masonry by artist Carin Wilson. The stonework depicts a native forest landscape – putting the trees that were present before construction of the new museum back onto the site. If you look closely you can see figures behind some of the trees. These represent the ancestors that once walked these lands. Seven bronze pou at the entranceway to the museum (also designed by Carin Wilson) symbolise seven core values – atanoho, kāinga, taonga, rangatiratanga, whakapono, rongo, and whenua.
The museum ground floor is occupied by a permanent exhibition Ko Waitangi Tēnei -This is Waitangi. The national importance of the Waitangi story is told here through highly significant
treasures, some representing the personal and political exchanges between Maori leaders and the British Crown. The Waitangi National Trust wanted the museum to have a traditional feel but still deliver the cutting edge technology that visitors expect. Technology was carefully selected to accommodate and encourage new research on Waitangi.
Located on level 2 of the Museum of Waitangi is a Learning Centre and modern exhibition space for temporary exhibition programmes. This space opens the museum up to a range of opportunities – from working with local artists, to housing nationally significant objects only available for short-term loan.
The new museum enhances the overall Waitangi experience – complementing the existing heritage buildings and attractions. Significant treasures (taonga) associated with Waitangi were scattered throughout New Zealand and around the world for more than 60 years. The climate-controlled and secure building enables many of these treasures to return to the North and be
properly cared for in a modern, purpose-built environment and be easily accessed by the communities from which they originated.