Places of Southland

There are many places that are significant to Southland, known as Murihiku in Te Reo Māori. The following websites and museums have information about the history of places in Southland | Murihiku.

Photo of the Brown Trout Statue in Gore. The sign says 'Welcome to Gore: World Capital of Brown Trout Fishing.'

Image: NZL-gore-trout by Bgabel on Wikimedia Commons.

Which places can I learn about?

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

Riverton | Aparima

Riverton | Aparima
The oldest permanent settlement of Southland.

Find out about Riverton | Aparima
The Catlins

The Catlins
The coastal stretch between Balclutha and Invercargill.

Find out about the Catlins
Templeton Flax Mill

Templeton Flax Mill
A working flax mill near Riverton.

Find out about the Templeton Flax Mill

Aotearoa New Zealand's largest National Park.

Find out about Fiordland
Stewart Island | Rakiura

Stewart Island | Rakiura
Aotearoa New Zealand's third largest island.

Find out about Stewart Island | Rakiura

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.

Southland resources

The following websites and museums have information about the history of places in Southland Murihiku.

Invercargill Library Archives

Discover a wide range of historical records and digitised material. You can also listen to a selection of oral history extracts.

  • Enter your keywords in the search bar.

  • Use the Filters to get the results you want.

  • Select an item to read or look at.

  • Some items can only be accessed by contacting the archivist and going to the library.

Kā Huru Manu

This is the Cultural Mapping Project created by Ngāi Tahu. It maps traditional Māori place names and stories within the Ngāi Tahu rohe (tribal area). You can search any area within Southland to find out its historical significance to Ngāi Tahu.

  • Enter an address of place name in the search bar.

  • Select a feature on the map to get more information about that place.

Learn at Eastern Southland

Information and resources from a range of museums and art Galleries in Eastern Southland including The Hokonui Moonshine Museum, The Gore Historical Museum, The Eastern Southland Gallery, The Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre, The Mataura Museum and The Hokonui Pioneer Village & Museum.

The Catlins | Te Akau Tai Toka

This is the official website about the Catlins. It has a section about the history of the area.

  • Go to Explore.

  • Choose About the Catlins.

  • Find out about Iwi, European History, Shipwrecks and more.

Rakiura Museum | Te Puka o Te Waka

Rakiura Museum is home to a collection of historic items related to Stewart Island/Rakiura. It holds information on Sawmilling, Whaling, Sealing, and the Sub Antarctic Islands.

  • The museum is found at 11 Main Road, Oban, Stewart Island

  • Look down the page for opening hours and any fees to enter.

  • Select Our Collection to read about what is in the Museum.

Switzers Museum Waikaia

Switzers Museum has information on Waikaia's gold mining history and the local impact of both world wars and the farming industry.

  • The museum is found at 39 Blaydon Street, Waikaia.

  • Look down the page for opening hours and any fees to enter.

Te Hikoi Museum and Information Centre

Te Hikoi Museum is in Riverton and has information about Aparima/Riverton's history. This includes information on the Whaling, Sealing, Mining, and Flax/Harakeke industries.

  • The museum is found at 172 Palmerston Street, Riverton

  • Look down the page for opening hours and any fees to enter.

  • Select Visit to read about what the Museum has to offer.


The Ngāi Tahu Archive which is made up of collections of tribal significance. This includes maps, photographs, biographies and audio-visual material.

  • Enter a place or keyword into the search bar.

  • Choose an item to find out more.

Kōtuia ngā Kete

This site has been put together by a team at the Museum of New Zealand | Te Papa Tongarewa. It shares collections and taonga from across New Zealand. It also has information about different museums in Southland that you can visit.

  • Go to Toro mai | Visit.

  • In the Filter museums search bar, enter a place to find nearby museums.

  • Or explore using the map.

General New Zealand resources

These websites have good information about the history of Southland.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara answers all questions about the people, environment, history, culture and society of New Zealand. There is a lot of information and pictures about Southland and Invercargill.

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

  • Select stories or images from the menu on the left.

  • Select an item to read or look at.

  • Or go to Places and then Southland to explore stories.


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 'Southland' or 'Invercargill' in the search bar.

  • Select articles and events, images, biographies or women together search, from the menu on the right.

  • Select an item to read or look at.

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.

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 Southland 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.


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.

Papers Past

Searchable collection of early NZ newspapers, letters, diaries and magazines digitised by the National Library and partners. Great site to use to find primary sources related to New Zealand.

  • Select Newspapers, Magazines and Journals or Letters and Diaries from the menu.

  • Enter your keywords into the search bar.

  • Enter dates for the event if you know them.

  • Select an item to look at.

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum - YouTube

This museum in Dunedin has a series of short documentaries that explore the history of places in Fiordland.

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.


Here are a few books about Southland 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: 5496540

More about Southland

People of Southland

Here are some sources you could look at if you'd like to find out about individual people or groups of people from Southland.

Learn about people of Southland

Events of Southland

The following resources explore a number of historical events that have had an impact on Southland | Murihiku and can offer some different perspectives.

Learn about events of Southland