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Te Papa Museum is New Zealand’s national museum and is located on the Wellington waterfront. ‘Te Papa’ means ‘Our Place’ in traditional Maori language. Indeed, there is much Maori history at the museum which houses arts and artefacts of the country’s history. The most exciting discovery for me was the interactive element to the museum, which allows visitors to take a virtual ride in a Waka (a Maori canoe), feel a simulated earthquake in the Earthquake House, and experience the eruption of a volcano!
 
The museum is laid out over five floors, telling the stories of New Zealand’s past and present, as well as glimpsing into its future. You can learn about the country’s animals and plant-life, art, culture and people. The museum is open 10am - 6pm every day (10am - 9pm on Thursdays) and entry is free. There are also entrancing cultural displays in which you can witness Maori and Pacific Island performances with dance and costume, and sample traditional cuisine.
 
There is a well-stocked café, handy for taking a break from the cultural experience and stopping off for lunch. The café itself is themed to fit in with the museum’s personality, decorated with wall designs featuring nostalgic images from Te Papa’s collections. The Espresso coffee bar is also available on level 4 of the museum serving a wide selection of coffees and cakes.
 

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