The New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui te Ananui A Tangaroa celebrated its 25th-anniversary last night after first opening in 1993.

Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, members of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Tainui and the Te Toki Voyaging Trust all attended the event after arriving at the museum on a waka.

Partnering with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, the museum celebrated with supporters, stakeholders and volunteers about its history and achievements.

The museum itself focuses on the bond New Zealanders have with the sea and the stories of exploration, discovery, immigration and sailing.

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Based on Hobson Wharf near the Viaduct Harbour in central Auckland, the museum is New Zealand's national home for maritime history.

It holds a collection of over 130 watercraft ranging in size and complexity from a surfboard to the 18-metre ketch-rigged scow Ted Ashby.

The Ted Ashby is also available for public sailing and to celebrate their 25th birthday, the museum gave away 25 family passes to sail it, worth $50-$95.

The museum was first proposed in 1980 by a group of like-minded individuals, many of whom were Auckland Harbour Board and Union Steam Ship Company members.

Initially, it was to house a growing collection of maritime archives within the Auckland Maritime Society and Auckland Museum collections.

As well as the vessels located there, it has an extensive collection of artefacts, books, archival material and photographs relating to New Zealand's maritime history.

As one of the worlds most geographically isolated nations, New Zealanders have an incredible connection with the ocean.

The museum uncovers the stories around New Zealand's first discovery by Kupe, the migrations of Polynesian people, Abel Tasman and Captain Cook.

It was the first museum in New Zealand to deal extensively with New Zealand's maritime history as a whole.

A team of staff and volunteers share New Zealand's marine history with over 160,000 visitors a year through its galleries, exhibitions, programmes, function centre and on-water experiences like the Ted Ashby.