Exhibition Highlights

  • See life-size and scale models of whales common to the South Pacific, including a beaked whale skull and a massive 58 foot fully-articulated sperm whale skeleton.

  • View casts of fossil whale ancestors, which show the evolutionary journey of whales from land to sea, as well as contemporary whalebone treasures such as weapons and chiefly adornments.

  • Learn about the intricacies of whale biology, the history of whaling in New Zealand, and efforts being made by scientists and others to protect whales from threats of entanglement, shipping and sonar use, and the continuation of whaling practices in some parts of the world.

  • Crawl through a life-size replica of the heart of a blue whale—the earth’s largest living creature.

  • Encounter whales through video portholes, be transported into their underwater world via two immersive projections, and enjoy a moving film experience that tells the stories of three whale-riding traditions in New Zealand, including the famous story of Paikea featured in Whale Rider.

  • Tune in to a range of whale sounds and discover how scientists and amateur trackers identify individual whales on their migration through the Pacific Ocean.

  • See ancient and contemporary works of art and hear stories from people of the South Pacific illustrating the powerful influence these creatures have had on human culture.

  • Gain a true appreciation of the physical and behavioral traits that enable whales to make a living in the challenging and dynamic marine environment.

  • Walk among the giant—and not-so-giant—articulated skeletons of an astoundingly diverse collection of whale specimens, and then explore the evolutionary paths that gave rise to this unique group of mammals.