Te Wharekura

Immersive cultural and environmental education space on the waterfront now open to the public

Taiao ora, Tangata ora - If the natural world is healthy, so too are the people

The 108-year-old heritage kiosk next to the Tāmaki Makaurau downtown ferry terminal has been repurposed into a cultural and marine education space to create a new destination on the increasingly-vibrant waterfront.

Opening Hours: Thursday - Saturday | 10am - 4pm 

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Council have partnered to deliver Te Wharekura, a kaupapa / project which celebrates the cultural richness of Te Waitematā and aims to inspire its protection.

Te Wharekura is housed in a beautiful historic kiosk, classified as a category B Heritage shelter, with the re-design retaining the heritage values of the site.

Centrally located in this re-invigorated heritage shelter at the western end of Te Wānanga in Quay Street, the whare injects cultural vibrancy and environmental awareness and education into the waterfront space that Aucklanders and visitors love.


Te Wharekura translates literally to “house of learning”. The name was gifted by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and reflects a shared aspiration to bring minds and hearts together. True to this spirit of generosity and collaboration, members of the public are able to visit and participate in the immersive experience of Te Wharekura at no charge.

The whare is one of the projects highlighted in the draft Waitematā Local Board Plan. It has been designed to encourage kōrero about the state of the environment as well as sharing stories of the history and current activities of mana whenua for the benefit of all.

With mana for this place being held by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei as ahi-kā and tangata whenua for the central city and isthmus, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei will provide opportunities for other iwi to partner in this space

“Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have always considered the protection of te Waitematā as essential to the wellbeing of our people. By sharing our stories and heritage, Te Wharekura inspires everyone living in and visiting Tāmaki Makaurau to treat the water as a taonga.”

Te Wharekura features the mahi toi / artwork of senior Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei ringatoi / artists Graham Tipene, Hana Maihi, Beronia Scott, Kororia Witika, Jodi-Ann Warbrick, Leah Warbrick and Joanne Maihi which will be permanently located within Te Wharekura.

Four illuminated pou (posts) at the entrance feature key stories, and once inside, the kaupapacontinues through interactive digital screens and by the kaimanaaki / staff who will be present in Te Wharekura during opening hours.

“The walls of Te Wharekura celebrate our reo, our pūrakau, our kōrero, our waiata and the beauty of our unique mita through a variety of interactive media housed within the space.


The western side of the whare engages visitors in te taiao, the natural environment from the mountains to the sea, and the eastern side focuses on ahi-kā, dedicated to the deep connection Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei have to Tāmaki Makaurau and a range of physical taonga.

Portfolio Lead for Te Kaunihera Māori Outcomes, Councillor Kerrin Leoni (Ngāti Paoa, NgāiTakoto and Ngāti Kuri) is pleased to see the shared commitment of Te Kaunihera and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to improve waterways manifested in Te Wharekura.

“Everything is connected and holistic thinking is so important when it comes to addressing the health of our natural environment. It is important that Te Kaunihera continues to partner with mana whenua in a manner that reflects Taiao ora, Tangata ora – ‘If the natural world is healthy, so too are the people’.” - Councillor Leoni

  • Manukapua



    Te Raupatu

    Tuku Whenua


    Ōrākei Marae

    Te Kahu Tōpuni o Tuperiri

    Te Wharekura