Unique NZTe Ika Whenua

When | Āhea

Permanent exhibition

Where | Ki hea

Te Taiao | Nature, Level 2

Cost | Te utu

Free exhibition


All ages


30 minutes

Accessibility | E wātea ana ki
  • Wheelchair accessible

  • Subtitles on all videos

  • Enclosed entry, opens to large space with high ceiling

  • Sounds of nature, some sudden noises

  • Tactile exhibition, opportunities to touch and smell

  • Small nook with seating

  • Variable lighting


How did species here become unique – or downright odd? Why are so many of our animals and plants gigantic, flightless, or a bit drab (until you get to know them)?

Sniff a kākāpō, and feel around for a kiwi’s dinner. Weigh in against a giant moa, and discover the abundant whales and dolphins in our seas. Take a leap as Zealandia splits from Gondwana – don’t get left behind!


  • Mauri Activator: Work together to nurture mauri [life force], and see nature flourish around you.

  • Only in NZ: A mass display celebrating hundreds of species found only in Aotearoa, from croakless frogs to oversized kina.

  • Haast’s Eagle: It’s huge, so look out!

  • Moa Weigh-in: How many friends and whānau add up to a giant moa … and by the way, did that moa just move?

Te Ika Whenua | Unique NZ
Looking at insects under a microscope, 2019. Te Papa

Unique NZ | Te Ika Whenua
 2019. Te Papa

Te Ika Whenua | Unique NZ
Looking at moths, 2019. Photo by Maarten Holl. Te Papa

Te Ika Whenua | Unique NZ
Moa, 2019. Photo by Maarten Holl. Te Papa

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