Places of New Plymouth

There are many places that are significant to New Plymouth, known as Ngāmotu in te reo Māori. Use these resources to find out about their histories.

1900s photo of the Waitara River and bridge during a regatta. 3 boats are on the river.

Image: Regatta, Waitara River by Unknown Photographer on Collection: Puke Ariki.

Which places can I find out about?

Here are some places in New Plymouth you could find out about:


The original name of New Plymouth before European Settlement. The name refers to ngā (many) and motu (islands).

Find out about Ngāmotu

A peaceful settlement created by Te Tohu and Te Whiti in response to violent land wars between Māori and Pākehā.

Find out about Parihaka

A town in the northern part of Taranaki. The commonly accepted meaning of the name Waitara is "mountain stream". Māori legend also states that it was Whai-tara — "path of the dart".

Find out about Waitara
Puke Ariki Pā

Puke Ariki Pā
A sacred Pā site originally named "hill of chiefs". Renamed to Mount Eliot by Pākehā settlers and slowly flattened as the Ngāmotu population grew.

Find out about Puke Ariki Pā
Sentry Hill Redoubt | Te Mōrere

Sentry Hill Redoubt | Te Mōrere
A redoubt (temporary fort) built by Pākehā in Sentry Hill.

Find out about Sentry Hill Redoubt

Tips: These are just some examples of places you could research. You may have somewhere different you're interested in finding out about. Just use the place name as your search terms in the resources below.

New Plymouth resources

Here are some local websites and collections where you can find out about the history of places in New Plymouth.

Puke Ariki Museum

Puke Ariki Museum is home to 3 permanent exhibition galleries that explore the region's history, taonga and natural world. You can also visit the website to view collections online.

  • Puke Ariki Museum is located at 65 St Aubyn Street in the centre of New Plymouth. It is across the road from the walkway and the Len Lye wind wand.

  • You can see virtual exhibitions by visiting the website and going to Exhibitions.

  • Select Virtual.

  • Choose an exhibition to explore.

  • You can also go to About Us and then History to find out about the history of Puke Ariki.

Puke Ariki Heritage Collection

A collection of photographs, artworks, archives and interesting objects held at Puke Ariki Library and Museum.

  • Enter the name of a place in the search bar.

  • On the Object use the Refine results on the left hand side to get fewer objects eg Collection type.

  • Choose an item to have a closer look at.

Rarau mai ki Te Rangi Aoao Nunui

This is a collection of historical and cultural stories from Taranaki's past and present. It has been put together by Puke Ariki.

  • Enter the name of a place in the search bar.

  • Or to browse stories go to Find a story.

  • Then select Taranaki Places to filter.

  • Choose a story to read.

Taranaki Research Centre

There is lots of information about New Plymouth places at the Taranaki Research Centre including books, images and archives. Items can only be looked at in the library.

You can:

  • Search Puke Ariki catalogue for the name of a place.

  • Visit Puke Ariki Library & the Taranaki Research Centre on Level 2 and speak to a helpful librarian.

General New Zealand resources

These websites have good information about the history of New Zealand as well as New Plymouth.


NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Enter the name of a place in the search bar.

  • Choose an article to read.

  • Or go to Places and then Taranaki.

  • Then choose New Plymouth.

  • This will bring up some articles related to New Plymouth.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we look down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.

  • Enter the name of a person, place or event into the search bar.

  • Choose an article to read.

  • Or go to Sections.

  • Choose places.

  • Look down to find Taranaki.

Rārangi Kōrero | New Zealand Heritage List

This is part of the Heritage New Zealand website. It is a record of place-based heritage in New Zealand.

  • To browse places, under Region select Taranaki Region.

  • Then select the Show listings button to see all the places.

  • You also have the option to use filters to search by keywords, list types or show listings.

New Zealand Gazetteer

This is a tool on the Toitū Te Whenua | Land Information New Zealand website where you can search for place names in New Zealand. Some places will tell you where the name came from, or other names a place may have had.

  • Enter a place name into the search bar.

  • Names in bold are an official place name.

  • Look in the Details section for history or meaning of the name.


This is a search site that focuses on Aotearoa New Zealand's history and brings together results from lots of different websites such as New Zealand libraries, museums, universities, and government sites all at once.

  • Use the name of a place as your search words.

  • Look at a range of videos, audio, articles and images, and more about your topic.

Te Arawhiti | The Office for Māori Crown Relations

This government website has information about Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

  • Select Te Kāhui Whakatau (Treaty Settlements).

  • Then choose Find a Treaty settlement.

  • Look down the page to find the Deeds of Settlement for the iwi you're looking for.

  • This will have information about the historical background to the claim and how the government will redress (set right) iwi losses.

Tips: Not sure what Māori word means? You can use the Te Aka Māori Dictionary or Paekupu to search for the meaning.


Here are some books about New Plymouth history for you to look for at your school or local library. Your local librarian is a great person to ask for the best books about your local area.

SCIS no: 5496321

More about New Plymouth

People of New Plymouth

This page has some collections and websites you could look at if you'd like to find out about individual people or groups of people from New Plymouth.

Learn about people of New Plymouth

Events of New Plymouth

Lots of things have happened that have had an impact on New Plymouth. The following resources explore these events and can offer some different perspectives.

Learn about events of New Plymouth