Dinosaurs of Patagonia star at Te Papa this summer

Te Papa will be the only New Zealand venue for Dinosaurs of Patagonia – a blockbuster exhibition of recently-discovered dinosaur species featuring one of the biggest creatures ever to walk the planet: the 30-metre-long Patagotitan mayorum.

Excavated in 2014, these South American giants have been described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the most extraordinary finds in the history of palaeontology.”

The exhibition from Argentina’s Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio will be at Te Papa from 16 December 2023 to 28 April 2024.

The immersive, interactive exhibition includes scientific casts of a dozen Patagonian dinosaurs. The precise replica skeletons are made using 3D scanning and offer unparalleled detail and scale.

Among them is the showstopping cast of one of the world’s biggest dinosaurs, the Patagotitan mayorum – a 30-metre-long herbivore weighing more than 14 elephants. The species was discovered after a sheep herder and his dog uncovered a massive bone in the Argentinian desert.

Alongside the casts are astonishing fossils, including one of the biggest dinosaur bones on the planet. This 2.4-metre-long femur (thigh bone) of the Patagotitan weighs in at half a ton.

Te Papa palaeontologist Dr Felix Marx, who has himself discovered several extinct species, says the exhibition is an extraordinary opportunity for New Zealanders.

“These Patagonian giants are some of the most important dinosaur discoveries of all time,” says Dr Marx.

“The sheer scale of these animals is mind-blowing, and they give us incredible new insights into dinosaur evolution.”

Dr Marx notes that these are the dinosaurs of the Southern Hemisphere, unlike the more well-known Northern Hemisphere dinosaurs.

“These dinosaurs once walked the continent of Gondwana, they are giants from our own backyard,” Dr Marx says.

Alongside the casts and fossils, the exhibition will be an immersive experience with family-friendly interactive elements created exclusively by Te Papa.

“Te Papa visitors expect a wow factor, and that’s exactly what this show will deliver,” says Te Papa Tumu Whakarae | Chief Executive Courtney Johnston.

“For so many people a love of dinosaurs sparks a lifelong love of science and learning.”

“We are so excited to bring this global sensation to Aotearoa,” Ms Johnston says.

Ticket prices and booking details will be announced later in the year. To register interest people can email Dinosaurs@tepapa.govt.nz.


Media contact: Kate Camp, kate.camp@tepapa.govt.nz, 029 601 0180

By the numbers

  • 30 metres, length of the Patagotitan mayorum from nose to tail

  • 57 tons, estimated weight of Patagotitan mayorum

  • 2.4 metres, length of the Patagotitan mayorum’s femur (thigh bone)

  • 12 scientific-quality casts

  • Oldest dinosaurs in the exhibition lived 180 million years ago, newest ones lived 66 million years ago

  • The exhibition features one of the world’s smallest dinosaurs, Manidens condorensis, about the size of a pūkeko and weighing 1kg.

  • The two previous dinosaur exhibitions at Te Papa are among our most popular ticketed exhibitions of all time:127,000 visitors, Tyrannosaurs, 2014/15, 6th most popular ticketed exhibition.104,000 visitors, Dinosaurs from China, 2003/4, 11th most popular ticketed exhibition.

About the Paleontological Museum Egidio Feruglio (MEF)

The Paleontological Museum Egidio Feruglio (MEF) is a one-of-a-kind centre for scientific activities based in the city of Trelew, in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Defined by a modern and unconventional design, MEF’s innovative work is reflected in its larger-than-life exhibitions and experiences that tell the story of the life forms that lived in Patagonia millions of years in the past.

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  1. A visitor to Dinosaurs of Patagonia gets up close to a dinosaur cast in Perth. Photo credit: Western Australian Museum, Luke Riley.

  2. Visitors to Dinosaurs of Patagonia in Perth. Photo credit: Western Australian Museum, Luke Riley.

  3. The cast of the Patagotitan mayorum in the workshop of Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio in Argentina. Photo credit: Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio.

  4. Artist’s impression of the Patagotitan mayorum shown approximately to scale on the forecourt of Te Papa. Dinosaur illustration courtesy of Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio. Photo credit: Te Papa.

  5. A technician at Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio in Argentina works on one of the casts from Dinosaurs of Patagonia. Photo credit: Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio.