In 1960 the Old Time Transport Preservation League, the Royal Aeronautical Society (New Zealand) and the Historic Auckland Society banded together with the aim of establishing MOTAT at Western Springs, a suitable site to house some of the sizeable transport heritage already collected by the League for preservation. The land was transferred to MOTAT in 1963 and the Museum opened to the public in 1964 on its current site, Te Wai Ōrea, which means waters of the eel in Te Reo Māori.
The site is home to a significant Auckland technology story where the iconic brick pumping house is now preserved as Category 2 Historic Place. It was built to house the machinery required to pump water from the lake to the reservoirs in Ponsonby between 1877 – 1910, later supplemented by supply from the Waitākere Ranges. The original Beam Engine is still operated today after extensive, continued conservation efforts ensure its significance in Auckland's history is preserved.
In 2000 the MOTAT Act was passed to recognise the significance of the MOTAT mission, collection and underpins the governance of our operations. Today, the Museum is supported by the invaluable skillsets of the MOTAT Team, a 300 strong cohort of volunteers and staff.
Since opening MOTAT’s collections have grown to over 300,000 items highlighting Kiwi innovation and ingenuity. The Museum has been explored and enjoyed by millions of local, national and international visitors. We welcome you into our space, which strives to provide interactive experiences with New Zealand’s technology heritage.