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Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa
The Museum of New Zealand or Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington is New Zealand’s National Museum. Te Papa Tongarewa translates from Maori as “the place of treasures of this land”. The museum opened in 1992 although it has only been in its present building since 1998. It received over one million visitors in its first six months of opening and now receives over one million visitors every year. The exhibitions cover the natural history and culture of New Zealand with a strong emphasis on its indigenous Maori population and their culture. All of its information signs are displayed in both English and Maori. It also includes a separate archives building and a research library. Facilities on site include a café and shop and the premises are fully accessible by wheelchair users. Te Papa operates guided tours as well as self guided audio tours. Admission is free and opening hours are available on the website.
Wellington Zoo is New Zealand’s oldest zoo. It was established in 1906 and covers a 32 acre (13 hectares) site. It began with a single animal, a lion that was presented to Prime Minister Richard Seddon, who created the zoo just to look after it. This lion was named “Dick” after the PM and it is now stuffed and on display in one of the city’s museums. Several other animals soon joined Dick and the museum was created. Today the zoo provides a home for over 500 animals comprising of over 100 different species. Unlike many other zoos Wellington Zoo is not arranged in geographical regions but it does have some specific exhibits like the Monkey House and the Reptile House. Other animals that can be found here include pandas, giraffes and cheetahs. Wellington Zoo runs a Close Encounter program which, as its name suggests, enables visitors to get up close to many of the animals. It also operates a breeding and conservation program and works closely with other zoos around the world. Opening hours, admission charges and other information for visitors can be found on the website.