Events of Waikato

Waikato, known for its rich, fertile farmland, was the scene of significant battles during the Land Wars of the mid-19th century. Find out how to explore these histories and more.

1863 black and white photo of a group of bell tents near the Waikato River. The tents are in the foreground to the left of the image, in the distance the river and a small island are visible.

Image: Rangiriri Encampment by Dr William Isaac Spencer. Collection: MTG Hawke's Bay

Which events can I learn about?

Here are some events related to Waikato you could find out about:

1858 onwards

1858 onwards
The Kīngitanga Movement.

Find out about the Kīngitanga Movement

Tangata Whenua have land confiscated under the New Zealand Settlements Act.

Find out about Waikato Raupatu (land confiscations)

Waikato Land Wars | The Invasion of the Waikato | War in Waikato.

Find out about the War in Waikato

Hamilton established by the 4th Waikato militia.

Find out about the establishment of Hamilton
25 July 1981

25 July 1981
Hamilton game for Springbok Tour is cancelled.

Find out about the Springbok Tour.

Waikato-Tainui sign Deed of Settlement with the Crown.

Find out about the Waikato-Tainui Settlement

Tips: These are just some examples of events you could research. You may have something different you're interested in finding out about. Just use words related to the event as your search terms in the resources below.

Waikato resources

Here are some sources you could look at if you'd like to find out about important historical and significant events in Kirikiriroa Hamilton and wider Waikato.

NZ Wars: Stories of Tainui

This is a documentary and podcast series from Radio New Zealand about the invasion of the Waikato in 1863 and related events that have an impact on Aotearoa New Zealand today.

  • Watch the documentary, or

  • Look further down the page to find the podcasts.

Waikato Museum

Waikato Museum's Online Collections and Stories are a great place to find information and photographs of events that happened in Kirikiriroa Hamilton and the wider district of Waikato.

  • You can select to view items from Featured Collections or look down the page to enter your keyword in the search bar.

  • Use Refine results to get fewer items.

  • Select an item to find out more.

Hamilton City Libraries | Discover Stories and Articles

Explore Hamilton's heritage blog through research articles and more.

  • Look to the bottom of the page to navigate the different blog entries.

  • You can also select Camera Obscura for featured images.

  • Go to Stories of Hamilton to read about different places and events and people in Hamilton.

Hamilton City Libraries Heritage Collections

This collection has books, journals, magazines, memorabilia, oral history, and more about the culture and history of Hamilton.

  • Enter a word or words related to an event in the search bar.

  • Use Refine results to get fewer items.

  • For example choose an Object type like a photograph.

  • Select an item to find out more.

  • If you can't look at an item online, you can see them on level 3 of Hamilton's Central Library.

O Neherā | The University of Waikato Digital Collections

O Neherā has photographs, postcards, maps and posters. You can search or browse them online.

  • Enter your keyword into the search bar.

  • Select the options from the drop downs for item type and date.

  • Use Refine results to get fewer items.

  • For example, choose a Format type like letters.

  • Select an item to find out more.

Visit Hamilton

This is a website about tourism in Hamilton. A brief history of Hamilton is available on this website.

  • Hover your mouse on Welcome which will reveal a drop-down menu.

  • Select Hamilton's History.

  • Hover on See and Do to find information on landmarks and attractions in Hamilton.

Waikato Tainui

This is the website for Waikato Tainui iwi. They have information about the Waikato Tainui Treaty of Waitangi settlement process.

  • Go to About Us.

  • Under Waikato-Tainui choose Settlements.

General New Zealand resources

These websites have good information about the history of New Zealand including Waikato.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. Here you will find the history of Waikato before and after the arrival of Europeans, and how colonisation impacted the Waikato region.

  • Enter keywords related to an event in the search box eg 'Kīngitanga'.

  • You will see a list of stories, images and biographies in the results.

  • Choose one to find out more.


DigitalNZ is a search site that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from lots of different websites. It’s an easy way of searching online resources from New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once, and has lots of primary sources. The results are grouped by the type of information, like images, videos, newspapers, articles and research papers.

  • Enter a keyword related to an event in the search bar.

  • You can narrow your results to a type of resource eg video or article.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Make your searches simple. Less words is better eg 'Springbok Tour Hamilton'.


NZHistory is a great website for information about topics, events, people and places in 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 a keyword related to an event in the search bar.

  • Choose an article to read.

Papers Past

Papers Past is a searchable collection of early New Zealand newspapers (19th and 20th centuries), letters, diaries, magazines, books and Parliamentary Papers digitised by the National Library of New Zealand and partners.

  • Select Newspapers.

  • Use search words related to an event to find a range of articles reported in newspapers from around the country.

  • You can use the Between dates filter so you only get articles from a specific time period.

  • Select an article to read.

Tips: When coming up with keywords, think of how things may have been written in a newspaper of the time. There may be different spellings, they may use different words, and they might not use tohutō (macrons) eg ā.

Rārangi Kōrero | New Zealand Heritage List

The New Zealand Heritage List is Aotearoa New Zealand's record of important heritage places. It includes photos, information, and historical narratives. It is looked after by Heritage New Zealand (Pouhere Taonga).

  • Go down the page to Explore The List.

  • Select Advanced to bring up more filter options.

  • Under Region choose Waikato Region.

  • Choose what Uses or Themes you're interested in.

  • Select the Show listings option.

  • Go to a place you're interested in. You'll find more detail under the Detailed List Entry.

Te Tai Treaty Settlement Stories

This is a digital storytelling programme on Te Ara that explores the Treaty of Waitangi | Te Tiriti o Waitangi settlements and their impact. The website can be viewed in English or Te reo Māori.

The Aotearoa History Show

This video podcast from Radio New Zealand tells the story of Aotearoa New Zealand from when the land was formed to today.

  • Select an episode to watch or listen to.

  • Look under the video for the topics that the podcast covers.

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.

  • The summary documents are good to start with and have an overview and historical background.


These books are available from Hamilton City Libraries. Some of these books are not for loan, which means you can browse the books at the Central Library.

More about Waikato

People of Waikato

The Waikato is the fourth largest region by population in New Zealand. This page will recommend where you can go to find out the histories of its people.

Learn about people of Waikato

Places of Waikato

Here are some sources you could look at if you'd like to find out about important historical places in Kirikiriroa | Hamilton and wider Waikato.

Learn about places of Waikato