Museums & Galleries
The Kāpiti Coast has a rich heritage and is home to wonderful, diverse museums and art galleries. Get your culture fix and find out what makes Kāpiti so special.
49 Main Street, Ōtaki
Visit the Otaki Museum for absorbing exhibitions featuring the history of the local district of Ōtaki and Te Horo on display, changing throughout the year. Access to local historical archives, photos and records is available in the Reading Room.
The museum is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10am to 2pm except for public holidays.
Exhibitions change approximately every six months. Entry is free of charge.
The Kāpiti Coast Museum
9 Elizabeth Street, Waikanae
A wonderful collection of colonial settler life, including a 1930s kitchen, a colonial schoolroom and barnyard. Changing exhibitions throughout the year. Click on the website link below for more information on the museum, take a virtual tour, and lookup collection details in their online database.
Southward Car Museum
Otaihanga Rd, Paraparaumu
Housing some of the world’s rarest and most valuable vehicles, Southward Car Museum is considered the premier privately owned automotive collection in the Southern Hemisphere.
The grounds include stunning landscaped gardens and lake including a bush walk.
There are regular theatre and music performances, and conference and exhibition facilities are available for hire. Refreshments available from the gift shop. Watch for the annual Open House and Auto Jumble Sale Days, advertised on their website and in the press.
Museum of Aviation
Paraparaumu Airport, Kāpiti Road
The Museum of Aviation features displays of New Zealand and pioneer history, general aviation. Paraparaumu airport (now known as Kāpiti Coast Airport) was the busiest airport in New Zealand in the 1940s-1950s.
The museum also has the propellor from the Caudron aircraft flown by Will Scotland on the first sustained flight in the Wellington district, on 29 January 1914.
Wellington Tramway Museum
Queen Elizabeth Park, Paekākāriki
The Wellington Tramway Museum operates a vintage tram service from the McKays Crossing entrance, travelling 1.85 kms to Whareroa Beach and playground area. Ride the trams that once served the public of Wellington and explore the historical photo display.
Set in Queen Elizabeth park, there are walking trails, the US Marines memorial and the beach to explore as well.
219 State Highway 1, Paekākāriki
Relive the days of steam train travel, with these lovingly restored trains on show.
Steam Incorporated has amassed an amazing collection of vintage locomotives and carriages. Many are restored to running condition. The Paekakariki depot (The Engine Shed) is usually open Monday to Saturday. Frequent excursions are run on the main line, mainly starting in Kapiti, check the website or Facebook page for upcoming trips and open days.
Paekākāriki Rail and Heritage Museum
The museum features displays of railway memorabilia, implement sheds with tools, an early kitchen, local Māori history, historical Paekākāriki photographs, and second Marine Division mementos.
Free entry, donations welcome.
20 Mahara Place, Waikanae
Mahara Gallery is the much loved district gallery for the Kapiti Coast, featuring an exciting and free programme of frequently changing exhibitions, events, live music, poetry, art workshops and artist's talks and other special events.
Located in Mahara Place Waikanae, it has a special association with famous New Zealand artist Frances Hodgkins and the special Field Collection which has been gifted to Kapiti district with Mahara as its permanent home. Also featuring taonga by iwi artists, cultural and domestic tourists from around New Zealand travel to see our shows.
An exciting planned $5 million redevelopment of the gallery is making good progress, offering more spaces for hundreds of local artists, touring shows, education and community projects.
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am - 4pm, the Gallery also offers for sale a wide range of quality ceramics, pounamu, jewellery, textiles, glass art, prints and books which make perfect gifts for family and friends. Support your local artists, support your local district gallery! Visit the website or check them out on Facebook and Insta!
Kāpiti Arts Trail
The Kāpiti Arts Trail is coming up on November 7-8 and 14-15. Check out this year's Kāpiti Arts Guide for all the info on what's happening for the 20th anniversary of this stunning event.