Humpback calf, reproduced courtesy of Dr Ingrid Visser, Orca Research Trust.
Humpback calf, reproduced courtesy of Dr Ingrid Visser, Orca Research Trust

Whales | Tohorā (now touring internationally)

Explore the amazing world of whales, through a unique blend of science and storytelling. This exhibition draws on one of the largest whale collections in the world - at Te Papa, New Zealand. See enormous skeletons, explore whaling history, build a dolphin and more.

International touring schedule

Please check venue website for confirmed dates.

In this exhibition

Whale people

From legendary whale riders to whalers and scientists, meet the people whose lives are linked with whales.

Whale lab

Whale evolution, variety, and anatomy – everything from how they move and feed to how they communicate and ‘see’ with sound.


Why and where do whales strand, and how do people react? You might be surprised!

Selected highlights


Teachers and parents – find whale information, an exhibition guide, and student activities for back at school.


Whales are mammals whose ancestors lived on land. So how did they evolve into the sea creatures of today?

Cool Stuff

Check out our selection of videos, websites and references.

Are you a venue interested in displaying the Whales | Tohorā exhibition?

> Download the exhibition walkthrough
> Find out more about booking the exhibition

This exhibition was made possible through the support of the New Zealand Government.

Te Papa would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the The Smithsonian Institution

Top: Sperm whale, courtesy of Brandon Cole. Right: Orca fluke, photograph courtesy of Dr Ingrid Visser, Orca Research Trust