Located in a 19th century heritage building on the waterfront, the Museum of Wellington City and Sea is dedicated to celebrating Wellington’s social, cultural and maritime heritage through exhibits, holograms, recreations, interactive features and films. The museum’s three floors are dedicated to various aspects of the city’s history. “By the Sea We Live” showcases the city’s maritime past while “Te Whanganui-a-Tara” (Maori for “the great harbour of Tara”) documents early Maori and European settlements. A modern gallery explores the changes that have taken place in the city over a century. Artifacts, documents and objects from the Wellington Maritime Museum Trust, the Colonial Cottage Trust and the Cable Car Museum have also been incorporated into the museum’s collection.
The major part of the collection is devoted to historic objects that include a collection of Maori Taonga boats, communication equipment, furniture, life-saving apparatuses, navigation and other equipment, machinery and everything else to do with passenger and merchant shipping. The art and pictorial collection, while sticking to the naval theme, feature several original water colours and oils as well as unusual paintings on eggs and feathers and embroideries, among other works. Photographs dating from around the late 19th century, prints, negatives, slides, transparencies, photograph albums, films and videos shed light on subjects such as sail and steam ships, lighthouses and keepers, ports and seafaring personnel. In additional to uniforms of the New Zealand and British Navies and the New Zealand Harbour Board, the textile collection features linens including monogrammed items from shipping companies and signal houses and national flags. The Cable Car Museum, located in the original winding house, along with some of the winding machinery that hauled the cars through tunnels and inclines are displayed here as are two original grip cars. All sorts of documents produced by shipping companies from tickets, to promotional literature, menus, to passenger lists and even stationery form part of the collection as do books on various aspects of the history of Wellington, plans, maps and charts.
Adding interest is a pictorial representation of the history of the city on a giant cinema screen three stories high. One of the two theaters at the museum uses holographic special effects to tell Maori creation legends and the other is a recreation of a 1960s ferry disaster. Changing exhibits, cultural events, performances and talks through the year makes the museum one of the most interesting places to visit in the city.
By the waterfront, within walking distance to the city’s many attractions, shopping, dining and business areas, the Copthorne Hotel Wellington Oriental Bay not only offers its guests convenience of location and beautiful views but some of the most comfortable and well appointed guest rooms and suites in the city. Among the services offered by this fine Wellington city hotel are specialized services for business events, a host of conveniences for in-house guests and even services dedicated to their youngest guests. Take advantage of special offers to experience the many special amenities and services at one of popular Wellington New Zealand Hotels.