We had plans to head to Devonport on Saturday but the weather had other ideas. While wandering in the city we stumbled across the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum by the viaduct on Quay Street. We weren’t sure what else to do indoors so we thought we’d have a look – it’s free for Auckland residents so we had no excuse really. (Normally it’s $17 for an adult which seems steep but having been through it, you definitely get a lot of bang for your buck).
We didn’t even get inside the main museum before we made our first discovery – a knot challenge!
Having sailed on the Spirit of NZ when I was at high school, I thought I’d have this down-packed. Although, I struggle to remember other elements of high school so I’m not sure why I thought those memories would be so heavily etched in my mind. So turns out I was wrong and I completely sucked at the challenge but it’s all about participation anyways… I did manage to (I think) master the knots in the end.
They are the bowline, sheet bend, reef knot, clove hitch, round turn and two half hitches respectively.. or so I hope.
After this excitement, we headed on into the actual museum. It is huge! I’m talking, you could easily spend a whole day in there. There was something for everyone, young and old. The museum looked at many many different aspects of maritime history including, but not limited to the following:
– Maritime traditions of Oceania: different boat designs, their materials and navigation techniques.
– Discoveries made on our shores by the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French and of course the British.
– People who migrated to Aotearoa, the conditions of their travels and their settlement stories.
– Sailing, the America’s Cup and of course Sir Peter Blake.
– NZ maritime disasters.
– Kiwi’s relationships with the sea and holidays spent there.
As I said, you could easily spend all day there. We were there for a good couple of hours and here are some of our highlights:
This would’ve come in handy pre-America’s Cup racing… noted for next time.
The Father of Auckland, Sir John Logan Campbell (1817 – 1912) was born into an aristocratic family in Scotland. At age 22 he voyaged to Australia to become a farmer but soon changed his plans due to a drought there (some things will never change) and decided to come to New Zealand instead, arriving in the Coromandel in 1840. Campbell eventually settled in Auckland and started making his fortune. He set up a store in the port where he imported and exported goods for settlers, he bought a ship to transport kauri spars and gum, flax and copper to England. Later, he went on to buy farms, a mill and a brewery. Campbell is also the person to thank for Cornwall Park – one of his gifts to the city. Not a bad effort of contribution for a lifetime. In 1902, when he was knighted, he was said to be “one of the oldest and most deserving of New Zealand’s colonists”. So there we are. You just learnt something new I’m sure.
One of the novelties while we were exploring were seeing all of the menus on the various ships arriving to our shores.
When entering the immigration section, you could tear off a ticket. This gave you an identity to research throughout your time in this section. At the end, you spun the ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and discovered your fate. The kids and American tourists that were present really got into it (as did we).
Of course I had to have a few America’s Cup snaps…
In memory of the Orpheus disaster of February 7, 1863 where 189/259 men believed to have died.
Good ol’ beach store and bach
So much free fun and a perfect place to go when the weather’s not the best (or unpredictable, as it seems to be all the time as of late). There are some really beautiful views over the water from the museum so you don’t feel boxed in at all.
Visiting this museum, I really appreciated our rich history with the water. I had never really thought about it before (sorry) but the connection Kiwi’s have with the sea are so strong. We met a lady with Dutch ancestry along the way who enjoyed rediscovering her family’s journey to New Zealand – not an atypical visitor I’m sure.
We are truly lucky to be living in such an amazing country and should treasure and sustain the beauties we possess.