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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.

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Image: Waikato Museum from Parana Park.

Highlights include the majestic war waka Te Winika, 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.

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Image: Waikato Museum under construction. Courtesy of Hamilton City Libraries, HCL_M01664.53


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


There are various car parking options within a few minutes’ walk of the Museum. Take a look at the Hamilton City Council website for more information about free and paid parking options, and a map showing mobility parking spaces in central Hamilton.

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

You are very welcome to take photos and video without flash in the Museum provided they are for your own use and not for commercial purposes.

Look out for the ‘no photography’ icon indicating objects or exhibitions that cannot be filmed or photographed. This restriction may be for cultural reasons, due to copyright law or to protect the objects.

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