Places of Northland

There are many places that are significant to Northland | Te Tai Tokerau. This page will recommend resources to find out about the first capital of New Zealand (Russell | Kororāreka) and other places important to the history of Northland.

Colour photo of the front of James Busby's house (Treaty House) in Waitangi, Bay of Islands.

Image: Waitangi busbys house by Antilived on Wikimedia Commons.

Which places can I learn about?

Here are some places in Northland you could find out about:

St Michael's Church

St Michael's Church
A church that sits on the site of Ōhaeawai pā. This was where the first battle over sovereignty was in 1845.

Find out about St Michael's Church
Whangamumu Whaling Station

Whangamumu Whaling Station
This was a base for shore whaling in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Find out about Whangamumu Whaling Station

Signing place of He Whakaputanga | Declaration of Independence and Te Tiriti of Waitangi | Treaty of Waitangi.

Find out about Waitangi
Flagstaff Hill | Te Maiki

Flagstaff Hill | Te Maiki
North of Russell. Where Hone Heke cut down four flagstaffs.

Find out about Flagstaff Hill
Kororipo Pā

Kororipo Pā
Important landing and meeting place in the north of New Zealand.

Find out about Kororipo Pā
Cape Brett | Rākaumangamanga

Cape Brett | Rākaumangamanga
Landing place of first seven waka from Hawaiiki. Now has a lighthouse.

Find out about Cape Brett | Rākaumangamanga

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.

Northland resources

These are some local websites and collections you can use to find out about the histories of places in Northland.

Rediscovery: Far North District Library Local Histories Collections

Online access to photos, documents, maps and more about the Far North's past from Far North District Libraries. You can either browse or search the collections.

  • Select Places.

  • Choose a place to see items related to it eg newspaper clippings, documents, and more.

  • Or enter the name of a place in the search box.

  • You can use Filter by and Format eg photograph, or Date to get fewer results.

  • Select an item to find out more about it.

Tips: If your keyword doesn’t work, try thinking of other words you could use. Sometimes there are different names or spellings for words. Or they could have changed over time.

Whangarei District Libraries

Whangarei District Libraries have lots of items about the history of the Northland area.

  • Go to Heritage, then Northland Heritage.

  • Choose Northland history to find what types of information they have.

  • Visit the Northland Room at Whangārei Central Library to look at some items in person.

  • Or choose Heritage Talks to browse a list of talks that have been given at the library.

  • Some include links to videos of the talks such as about Whangārei Quarry Gardens and the Māori history of Whangārei.

Whangarei District Libraries Heritage Collection

This is an online collection of historical maps, photos, audio, and more about Whangarei and Northland.

  • Enter the name of a place in the search box, or

  • go to Browse all to browse the collection.

  • You can use Filter by and Format eg photograph, or Date to get fewer results.

  • Select an item to find out more about it.

  • You can select Audio for oral histories with people about their lives.

Tips: Historical sources like books and photographs can be useful for finding different perspectives on a topic. Keep in mind that they may not fairly show a wide range of views or experiences.

Waitangi Treaty Grounds

In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed by the British and Māori at Waitangi. The Museum of Waitangi and Treaty House are good places to visit in person or online to find out about Te Titiri o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi).

  • The museum includes displays on what led up to the Treaty signing.

  • Interactive displays let you look at people who signed the Treaty of Waitangi in different places in New Zealand.

Te Rau Aroha

This is a war museum on the Waitangi Treaty Grounds that shows how Māori have contributed to NZ's war efforts since 1840.

  • Opening hours for the Waitangi Treaty Grounds are from 9.00am to 6.00 pm every day except Christmas Day.

Rangihoua Heritage Park

This website tells the story of an early mission settlement in Northland. It has a virtual tour of the settlement.

  • Go to Start tour to start the virtual tour.

  • Select a scene on the map then Explore the scene.

  • You can listen to or read the information about the scene.

  • Select an icon on the map to Learn more.

Or you can visit Rangihoua in person.

  • Follow Plan a Trip to find the location.

  • At the park, read the information displayed about the people and the place. If you are there after dark (and quiet) you may see kiwi on the beach or in the bush.

Te Ahu Museum

This museum has a large collection of early New Zealand Northland taonga.

  • Find the link to Explore the Collection.

  • Use keywords in the search field to explore the website.

  • Select an item to find out more about it.

  • Or go to Far North Stories for stories about the Far North's past.

Te Ruapekapeka

Visit in person or online to find out about the Battle of Ruapekapeka, which was the final battle in the Northern War. It is a good place to visit to see rifles, trenches, bunkers, and tunnels, which are good examples of trench warfare.

  • Go to the Battle of Ruapekapeka to find out about the battle.

  • Look further down the page for other articles which include videos.

  • To find out details about visiting in person look down the homepage to find Visit Te Ruapekapeka.

Butler Point Whaling Museum

This is a museum at Hihi in Doubtless Bay. It has information about whaling history.

The Kauri Museum

Located in Matakohe in Northland, the Kauri Museum is a good place to visit to find out about the kauri industry.

Far North District Libraries

This is the catalogue for the Far North District Libraries. You can search for books to borrow or read in the library.

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

  • Select a book to find out more and which library it can be found at.

Te Ahurea

The website for Te Ahurea, a historical experience in the Kerikeri basin. It includes information about the history of Kerikeri and Kororipo Pā.


This website is all about Russell | Kororāreka, the first permanent European settlement. It has information about the early history of Russell.

  • look down the page for the History link.

  • This page has history about the early days in Russell and the oldest church in New Zealand.

Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

General New Zealand resources

These websites have good historical information about all of New Zealand, as well as Northland.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go 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.

  • Go to the section on Places.

  • Find Northland on the map to find out about the Northland region.

  • Or you can search for the name of a Northland place.

Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can sometimes tell these sites by their web address – they might have .gov or .edu in their address – or by looking at their About us or Contact pages.


NZHistory is another website from the Ministry of Culture & Heritage with information about people, places, and events in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Search this website by going to Places to find Northland.

  • Then select a town, lake, or place to learn about its significance.

  • Or you can search for the name of a place.

Department of Conservation (DOC)

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is the government website about preserving the natural and historical places of New Zealand. You can see it’s a government site by looking at the About us or Contact links at the top of the page.

  • Go to Our Work and select Heritage.

  • Then choose Explore heritage sites by region.

  • Select Northland.

  • Choose a place to find out about.

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 Northland 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.

ManatuTaonga - YouTube

This is the official YouTube channel for Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture & Heritage. It create audio guides for road trips across New Zealand that tells the stories of places along the way.

Tips: When watching videos on YouTube, it's important to check that the information is coming from a trusted source. We know these videos will be well-researched and reliable because they come from Manatū Taonga | Ministry for Culture & Heritage.

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.

Visit Heritage

This website has been put together by Heritage New Zealand | Pouhere Taonga. It highlights some heritage places that are important in Aotearoa New Zealand's histories.

  • Go to Visit.

  • Look down the page to see the places under Te Tai Tokerau | Northland.

  • Choose a place for some brief information and how to visit.

  • Look further down the page for the Discover button for the story of the place.


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.

  • Search using the name of a place.

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

National Library of New Zealand

The National Library collects New Zealand's documentary taonga in words, sounds and pictures. They have content that is available online and some resources that can only be looked at in the library in Wellington.

We recommend starting off with a website search as this will search the National Library catalogue, the Alexander Turnbull catalogue, and more.

  • Enter your keywords in the search bar.

  • Use the Filters to get fewer results.

  • Filter by Type if you're looking for images, audio, or books etc.

  • The Availability filter lets you choose if you want items that are available online.

  • Filter by Date for when things were published.

  • You can also filter by Subject.

  • Select an item to look at.


Your local or school library will have books about Northland's histories, here are some we found:

More about Northland

People of Northland

Here are some sources you could look at if you'd like to find out about individual people or groups of people from Northland | Te Tai Tokerau.

Learn about people of Northland

Events of Northland

Lots of events have had an impact on Northland | Te Tai Tokerau. The information sources listed below have information on these events and offer different perspectives.

Learn about events of Northland