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New Zealand Evolutionary Evidence

| Modern Examples | Fossil Evidence | Museum News |

Museum News


1) Auckland War Memorial Museum, Auckland

The Museum is currently hosting an excellent, extensive exhibition on Charles Darwin and evolution (till January 13 2008). Details are on the website: About Darwin Introduction - Darwin Exhibition at Auckland Museum - Auckland Museum New Zealand. This includes a section designed specifically for teachers who are teaching evolution and/or might be considering taking their classes to the exhibition.

The Origins gallery on the first floor begins about 100 million years ago at the time when New Zealand began to break away from the vast continent of Gondwana and is evidenced with examples from the Museum's Geology department. This gallery tells the story of the beginnings of the land itself (geology) and the origins of its plants and animals. Within the Origin gallery (and the galleries that follow it) are numerous examples of New Zealand animal and plant evolution including the kea/kaka, moa and other ratites, tomtits and robins, and a variety of plants including the podocarps and the beech trees. The Auckland Museum provides also hands on sessions that focus on human evolution. This is only available to booked groups (contact School Bookings

Opening Times: Access to the natural history galleries on the First Floor is available Mon-Sun 10am - 5pm (except Christmas Day and ANZAC Day morning).

2) Department of Geology, University of Auckland, 1st Floor, 23 Symonds St, Auckland

There are a number of displays in the public areas of the department (corridors and foyers) which are able to be viewed by the public at any time the building is open. Individuals are welcome to visit at any time our building is open. Groups need to arrange their visit. A guided tour of some of the displays tailored to suit the group and their particular interest can be arranged. Please contact Dr Neville Hudson, Collections Manager, Phone: 64 9 3737599 ext 87431 or

Opening Times: 8.30am to 5.00pm weekdays (excluding public holidays)



Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch 8001

The Canterbury Museum does have a geology gallery with rocks and fossils. They also run programmes which are related to rocks and fossils tying in with NCEA level one.

Opening Times: Open seven days, 9.00 am - 5.30 pm (Summer), 9.00 am - 5.00 pm (Winter)

Contact the museum by email on



Otago Museum, Dunedin

The Otago Museum's Southern Land, Southern People gallery portrays the natural origins of Southern New Zealand and the pattern of human settlement based on the use of natural resources.

The gallery describes the region's dynamic landforms and geology and traces the evolution of its flora and fauna through an extraordinary array of fossils. Other exhibits describe the varied climate and the way New Zealand's oceanic isolation has produced one of the world's most intriguing bird communities.

The Otago Museum also provides education programmes with unique inspiring hands-on experiences which link directly into the New Zealand Curriculum. Programmes that link into Evolution and Geological time include:

  • Geology Rocks!
  • Bone Detectives Needed!
  • Butterflies Abound!
  • NCEA Evolution

For further information contact the Education Team on 03 474 7470 or

Opening times: Mon - Sun 10am - 5pm (except Christmas Day and Good Friday). The Southern Land, Southern People is located on the second floor of the Otago Museum.


Palmerston North

Te Manawa, 396 Main Street, Palmerston North

"Dinosaur Hunter" is a permanent exhibition at Te Manawa: "Join the adventure... Hunt for fossilised clues and join the investigation to discover how one of New Zealand's ancient dinosaurs would have lived."

Opening times: Te Manawa is open 10.00 - 5.00 every day except Christmas Day, Boxing day, New Year's day and Good Friday.



The South Canterbury Museum, Perth Street, Timaru

The website is part of the Timaru District Council site- follow this link

The Museum features local geology in its permanent natural history exhibition areas. This includes images and information about how our region's landscape has formed, examples of local rock types, and local palaeontology using local fossils. We can prepare age-appropriate lessons based on these displays for visiting schools, and can also host sessions on general geological topics, such as volcanoes and earthquakes, as well as provide hands-on specimens for use in our teaching area.

Opening Times: Tuesday - Friday 10am - 4.30pm Saturday - Sunday 1.30pm - 4.30pm Closed Monday (except holidays), Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day.



Te Papa hosts "Science Express" - monthly discussions on current (& sometimes controversial) science topics: Science Express

Awesome Forces Exhibition at Te Papa, Cable Street, Wellington

Awesome Forces tells the story of the New Zealand landmass and the forces that have shaped it. The origin of New Zealand is traced back 160 million years to its association with other landmasses making up the gigantic southern Gondwanaland. An animated projection illustrates the breakup of the continents and the drift south of New Zealand to its current isolated position, carrying with it the proof of these former connections. This proof is in the rocks - notably the fossils that came as cargo from Gondwanaland. Included here are the original first dinosaur finds in New Zealand, and the unique treasures both extinct and living that are our biological icons, such as flightless moa, kiwi and wrens, tuatara, weta and land snails.

Opening Times: Awesome Forces is located on Level 2 at Te Papa. Admission is free. Te Papa is open every day of the year from 10am - 6pm, and until 9pm on Thursdays.

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