Museum of New Zealand


$130 million

Contract Type

Construct only


Jun 1996



Te Papa

Building a National Treasure

Broadly translated as "the place of treasures of this land", the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa has hosted more than 18 million visitors since opening its doors in 1998. The design and construction features, built to reflect New Zealand history and identity, truly give Te Papa a uniqueness worthy of its name. 

Building Te Papa presented exciting challenges: an unprecedented level of stakeholder expectation and public scrutiny, a location virtually atop a fault line, and a build that needed to reflect New Zealand’s history and evolving identity.

Big innovations were needed to overcome each challenge.

Big innovations were needed to overcome each challenge. By tapping into its deep reservoir of expertise and construction innovations, we came through. 150 shock absorbers made of rubber and lead were placed under the building, providing the public with a building capable of surviving a one-in-500-year earthquake.
High performance build teams kicked into overdrive and the public kept abreast of progress until finally the project was ready. 

Te Papa emerged as a spectacular 30m-high, five-level building featuring an over-sailing roof and a column of elliptical public lounges and galleries. A marae and auditorium capable of seating 300 and 350 respectively were added alongside other education-purposed facilities. Te Papa museum, known locally as ‘Our Place’, has indeed become a place of treasures for all the world to see.

Unique features:

  • Sir James Fletcher attended the opening ceremony for Te Papa The Museum of New Zealand 65 years after the original National Museum was built by his father, Sir James Fletcher (the older).

  • 12,500 masonry blocks were used in the construction

  • 20,000m3 concrete

  • 6000m3 pre-stressed and pre-cast concrete

Project Partners

Name Jasmax

Role Architect