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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

Parking and access

There are a number of parking options within a few minutes’ walk of the Museum. Grantham Street is non-metered parking on both sides for either 120 (side closest to the river) or 180 minutes. All metered parking in the city is free for the first two hours and $6 per hour after that. The closest metered parks are on Victoria Street (south of Grantham) and Knox Street.

There are open-air car parks for the Museum and ArtsPost located off Victoria Street behind ArtsPost and on Victoria Street next to the Meteor Theatre. Please note that the upper level of the Museum and ArtsPost carpark will be unavailable between 7am-7pm Monday to Friday from 25 March until the end of May due to a maintenance project on the concrete retaining wall behind ArtsPost.

There is covered parking at three of the largest and most central car parking facilities in the central city: Garden Place is free for the first hour, parking at Knox Street, the closest covered park to the Museum, costs from $3 per hour, and Centre Place has free parking on the weekends. View a Hamilton parking map here.

Disability parking can be found in the Trades Entrance car park off Grantham Street. For more disabled parking options click here.

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.