The Otago Settlers Museum, established in 1898, is one of New Zealand's finest social history museums. The museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions feature Otago’s rich cultural diversity. The visitor can explore themes of cultural interaction, technological innovation and developments in everyday life as the many peoples of Otago adapted to changing conditions.
Refurbishments in the 1990’s linked the original Edwardian galleries with the classic Art Deco buildings of Dunedin's former NZR Road Transport building. Together these distinctive and historically important buildings enhance the museum's exhibitions which focus on the twentieth century as well as the colonial era.
• Windows on a Chinese Past
The story of Otago's Chinese community from the first Chinese arrivals in Dunedin in 1865 right up to the present, including life on the Otago Goldfields, the move into towns and cities and the eventual assimilation of a generation of Chinese refugee children into a New Zealand way of life.
Windows on a Chinese Past is illustrated with a rich array of artefacts and with short biographies of Chinese indentities, such as Choie Sew Hoy, the merchant who pioneered gold dredging in Otago in the late 19th century.
• Kai Tahu
This unique exhibition focuses on the Maori people of Otago and their experiences through 150 years of European settlement. It presents key events in the recent past from a local Maori perspective.
• On the Move: Road Transport in Otago
One hundred years ago, Thomas Sullivan invented the tea bag, Charles Menches invented the ice cream cone and motorised vehicles were becoming increasingly familiar sights on Dunedin streets.
This exhibition of vehicles, photographs and memorabilia recalls not only the dawn of motoring in Otago but also the heyday of horse-drawn coaches and drays, tramcars and cycles.
Be sure not to miss a ride on the penny farthing.
• Walk Dunedin: Guided Inner City Walking Tours
Guided Inner City Walking Tours - 11am, 7 days a week.
Our experienced guide will take you on a 2 hour stroll where you can experience the character history and beauty of Dunedin, New Zealand's first great city. Enjoy this wonderful insight into our architectural and social past! The tour includes a complimentary coffee.
Bookings are not required; simply check in at the Visitor Centre in the Octagon.