New Zealand's best arts and cultural experiences
Exploring New Zealand’s vibrant street art, quirky museums, cutting-edge architecture and more is one of the best ways to uncover the stories of the nation.
It’s time to discover the best arts and cultural experiences in New Zealand: 96 to 101 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
96. New Zealand’s vibrant street art scene
97. Visit New Zealand’s best small museums
When it comes to the country’s museums, sometimes small is best. A good example is found in the Hawke’s Bay township of Wairoa, where the modest yet perfectly formed Wairoa Museum is located within the town’s recently upgraded, heritage-listed post office. Find this and more in our list of the best.
98. The impressive Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre
If the stunning snowy peak of Mt Taranaki in the North Island/Te Ika-a-Māui wasn’t inspiration enough to visit New Plymouth, the provincial centre also has the impressive Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and Len Lye Centre to lure you in. Both a long-standing contemporary art gallery and an architectural homage to New Zealand’s best-known modernist filmmaker and kinetic artist Len Lye, the iconic building is a must-visit.
99. A history lesson in Arrowtown
In the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown, near Queenstown, the quest for gold lives on. In 2006, a Southland man reportedly unearthed a nugget worth $15,000 from the Arrow River. There’s no reason you can’t find some too. And finding gold is just one of the many highlights on offer to experience in Arrowtown.
100. Explore Napier the Art Deco capital of New Zealand
Napier/Ahuriri is New Zealand’s Art Deco capital with an annual festival attracting tens of thousands from around the world every year. Truth is, there’s plenty to do in any season if you love to revel in the style and beauty of the era between 1920 and 1940. Why Art Deco and why Napier? In 1931, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the Hawke’s Bay region almost flattening the city of Napier. With the rebuild came a flourish of new buildings particularly executed in the Art Deco style. Today, the east coast township is awash with the iconic sunbursts, skyscraper shapes, geometry and references to ancient cultures associated with the Art Deco movement.
101. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa’s best bits
The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is the country’s national museum, which opened in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara with much fanfare back in 1998 and has been regularly rated among the world’s best since. It is a great a place to learn about Māori culture; an insider’s tip is to join the one-hour Daily Mana Māori Tour before striking out to explore on your own.