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About us

Waikato Museum's exhibitions, events and programmes tell our stories from a regional and global perspective, and include visual art, social history, tangata whenua and science from touring exhibitions, and the museum’s own collections. 

On the banks of the Waikato River, in the heart of Hamilton's south-end cultural precinct, Waikato Museum's 13 galleries feature more than 25 new exhibitions and 100 public events annually. Through this interactive programme we aim to engage and inspire our local and international visitors.

Highlights include the majestic war waka Te Winika, For Us They Fell, the Waikato WW1 story,  the fun hands-on science galleries for children; and our galleries which exhibit a rich blend of artworks.

Since the year 2000, Waikato Museum has hosted the National Contemporary Art Award. The award, held annually is curated by a new judge every year and culminates in an annual exhibition which documents a snapshot of New Zealand contemporary art.

Waikato Museum in its current building was opened in 1987. The architect was the late Ivan Mercep of JASMaD (now Jasmax), Auckland, the same architect who went on to design New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa. Mercep was awarded a prestigious Gold Medal by the Institute of Architects (June 2008) for his notable career.


Winner Tourism Award, Hamilton Central Business Awards 2016

Winner Best Exhibition - Regional Taonga Māori, Service IQ Museums Awards 2016 for E Ngaa Uri Whakatupu - Weaving Legacies: Dame Rangimarie Hetet and Diggeress Te Kanawa.

Finalist Best Museum Visitor Experience ServiceIQ Museum Awards for For us They Fell: The Waikato experience of WW1.



1 Grantham Street (at the South end of Victoria Street)
Hamilton 3204

Parking and access

There is a pay car park next to Waikato Museum. The entrance to this is off Victoria Street, next to ArtsPost. There is covered parking in the Knox Street and Alexander Street car parks and open-air parking next to the Meteor Theatre on Victoria Street, within easy walking distance. Metered parking can be found on the streets close to Waikato Museum. Disability parking is available in the Trades Entrance area accessed from Grantham Street.

Opening hours

10am - 5pm

Open daily (except Christmas Day)


Free entry - donation/koha welcome

Fees apply to some exhibitions and activities

Photography, filming and videoing

Please take photographs of yourself, friends, and family while at the Museum. However, to respect the copyright of artists and makers, please refrain from taking direct photographs of artwork on display. Specific exhibitions and items not to be photographed are indicated with signage. Ask our visitor hosts if you are unsure. 

Receive information on events and exhibitions

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Media enquiries

Media enquiries are welcome - please email us.