Explore the technology behind energy at MOTAT Great North Road. 

MOTAT’s Steam Collection takes visitors back in time to view the importance of steam, diesel and petrol powered objects and how they were essential to the construction and development of much of Auckland City and New Zealand.  

The Collection contains a number of different engines and several pumps, boilers and other engineering parts and features a key object of the MOTAT collection, the Pumphouse. Under the direction of our qualified engineers, visitors can see the Beam Engine in action and experience the inner workings of this magnificent engineering marvel. 

The Pumphouse

The award winning MOTAT Pumphouse was built in 1877 and was considered the most advanced public water supply systems in the world at the time. It was the first item added to the MOTAT collection. Originally built to supply the growing settlement of Auckland with water, it pumped water from Western Springs up to reservoirs in Ponsonby and Karangahape Road and was offered in 1961 along with some land to a group of enthusiasts for the development of a museum that became MOTAT. It has been registered by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 historic place, in acknowledgement of its historical significance to the built heritage of Auckland. 

It has been fully restored to operational level.  The Pumphouse, Beam Engine and Engineer's Cottage won the internationally recognised UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award of Merit for the Culture Heritage Conservation programme in 2009; the first New Zealand buildings to receive such an award.

The Pumphouse boilers are generally under steam everyday except Wednesday 10am - 3pm for the public to view.

Download our Pumphouse fact sheet.


*Please note that only selected collection items are on display. Please view our Exhibitions section to find out more about current displays.