The Auckland War Memorial Museum is a bit of just about everything Auckland and New Zealand. It memorializes New Zealand’s wars from those between the Maori and the English in the nineteenth century right up to today.
It offers a retrospective of Kiwi culture and society. There is a large amount Maori culture, history, and art. There is natural history and the story of New Zealand’s volcanic origins. And there was a large special exhibition of wearable art that will knock your socks off.
One of the most interesting things for me was the simulation of a volcanic eruption in Auckland. Not a past eruption, but one as it would be today. we sat in the living room of a house with a simulated picture window view of the city and bay. A special report was playing on the TV about an impending eruption. It told of people evacuating the danger zone and likely results of the coming event.
Suddenly our little house shook violently. A disclaimer had warned something like this was coming, but it was still a shock. The newscasters announced that there had been an eruption in the bay and began to report on events as they occurred.
Looking out our “picture window” we saw a wave of steam or water vapor rise out of the bay and begin moving toward us. Suddenly our house shook again and a large rolling black cloud of lethal superheated gases formed over the water and began moving toward us very rapidly. Power went in and out along with the TV, and then with one final sputter the lights were gone and the TV with its updates was off the air.
It didn’t matter because the gas cloud closed the distance and flowed over us. All was black. We were dead.
Luckily this was a simulation. But when the TV came back on we were told a volcanic eruption was not a question of if, but when.
There are 53 volcanoes in the Auckland region, and that’s a sobering thought. It reminded of when we lived in California and its potential for earthquakes, except on steroids.
The museum was great. Everyone visiting Auckland should go to it.