The Auckland Museum houses the world’s largest collection of Maori and Polynesian artifacts, including the ornately carved Hotunui meetinghouse (1878) and the huge waka (war canoe), Te Toki-a-Tapiri (1836). They're the heart and soul of the museum, but it does have other strengths, including a Natural History Gallery which does a good job of explaining to visitors how New Zealand's spectacular flora and fauna came to be. That gallery showcases everything from skeletons of dinosaurs and moa (a flightless bird) to shell collections. If you have kids in tow, head to the Discovery Center, the museum's most interactive section. In addition, the Auckland Museum hosts a full roster of changing exhibitions and regular Maori cultural performances. It has two excellent shops and cafes on site. Don't fret about finding the museum: the huge classical form of it, perched on a hill in Auckland Domain, is impossible to miss.
- Frommer's Staff