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Timings : 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hours

Entry Fee : Free

Toitu Otago Settler's Museum, Dunedin Overview

Known as New Zealand’s oldest history museum, Toitu Otago Settlers Museum was set up in the year 1898 and today it stands tall and high and oozes the rich heritage of the Maori civilization and the early Chinese settlements. The museum is located on the side of the Otago province, looking over the Waitaki river, but is more inclined towards the city of Dunedin. There is a separate Chinese garden on the Southern wing of the museum which is a very prominent attraction, it is also one of the very few gardens outside their own nation.

The museum has a fourteen themed gallery that features interactive exhibitions to display the historic technological developments, societal, cultural and artistic evolution of the mentioned settlements. It seeks its current place in what was formerly the New Zealand Rail Road Transport Building.

The admission is free for everyone and the timings are 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM daily. Museum remains closed on Christmas Day. The museum has a museum shop for you to buy tokens straight out of the streets of Dunedin and the Otago province as memoirs.

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Toitu Otago Settler's Museum

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THE MOUNT FELIX TAPESTRY- A commemoration to pay respect to all soldiers and hospital staff saving their lives during the Second World War.

SUFFRAGE AND BEYOND- Opines on the New Zealand administration and the right of women to vote in the past. It is what the name suggests.

Ara-i-te-Uru- Showcases the tribal cultures of Dunedin like Maori and Mokihi.

ENCOUNTERS- A portrayal of the tribal people of NZ and the European settlers during the mid 18th century, their trade business, administrative hitches, and fraternity.

A NEW EDINBURGH- About the Presbyterian settlement during the mid 19th century.

SMITH GALLERY- The gallery holds the very conception of the museum in its room. It showcases the pioneering settler and settlements in Dunedin.

ACROSS THE OCEAN WAVES- It traces out the long, unending journey from Britain to Otago, in remembrance of the immigrant settlers in their latter history.

GOLD GOLD GOLD- It doles out stories about Dunedin turned into a prominent city and settlement that it is today because of the goldrush in earlier years. It has a great number of interesting anecdotes about the rush.

FIRST GREAT CITY- Tells about the cultural, economic, commercial achievements of New Zealand darling city, Dunedin.

THE TWENTIETH CENTURY- Reflects on the 20th century. the period when the world wars and economic depression brought about a great wave of change.


THE TAPESTRY PROJECT- A detailed talk and an interactive session where you will come to know about the indigenous culture of the Maori, the local artisans, and the handicrafts.

TODDLER TIME- It is mainly organized by the Otago Settlers association with a string of stories being told by the local people. 

MATERIAL CULTURE- A chronological portrayal of fashion aesthetics in the city of Dunedin and New Zealand at large.

JOSEPHINE- A telltale about Dunedin's favorite locomotive, Josephine. It is one of the most loved and most iconic objects of the Museum.


The museum was established in 1898, on the golden anniversary of the Scottish settlement of Otago. The collections initially were reflective of the early developments and evolution of the settlements which now has a more deep and founded historic importance. The museum’s one of the most important attractions is the E Class Fairlie Steam Locomotive, Josephine. It is the oldest preserved steam locomotive in New Zealand.


  • Pay and display parking access 
  • Disabled parking access 
  • The museum and the galleries are disabled friendly and are wheelchair accessible.
  • Guide dogs or other assistance dogs are welcomed.
  • You can take in camera to take photos, only for personal and non-commercial use.
  • Pushchairs and strollers are allowed.
  • There is a separate room for parenting.
  • Segregated washrooms.
  • Knowledgeable guides to skim you through the exhibition and events and let you in its historical significance.
  • Free high-speed internet and Wi-Fi.
  • A free bag and coat are available at the Josephine Foyer.

How To Reach Toitu Otago Settler's Museum

Located close to the central hub of Dunedin, the Octagon, the Otago Settler's Museum is situated in the heart of Dunedin. Easily accessible, visitors can take a myriad of public buses that serve the area. Taxis are another convenient mode of transport to reach the museum.

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