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.

Photo of Hood St, Hamilton, showing 2 heritage buildings. The former Bank of New Zealand and former Post Office.

Image: HoodStHamilton by Nzwj on Wikimedia Commons.

Which places can I learn about?

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

Waikato River

Waikato River
Longest river in New Zealand. Tainui Waka and Ngati Tūwharetoa used it for food, healing, trade, and more.

Find out about the Waikato River
Waipā River

Waipā River
The largest tributary (flows into a larger river) of the Waikato River. Important to Ngati Maniapoto.

Find out about the Waipā River
Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens
Began in the early 1960s at what was then the city's waste disposal site.

Find out about Hamilton Gardens
Victoria Bridge

Victoria Bridge
One of 6 road bridges in Hamilton that cross the river. Built in 1910.

Find out about Victoria Bridge

A marae in Ngāruawāhia. Built in the 1920s as the seat of the kiingitanga.

Find out about Tūrangawaewae

Site of a major battle in the New Zealand wars.

Find out about Rangiriri

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.

Waikato resources

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.

Hamilton City Libraries Heritage Collections

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

  • Enter the name of a place or suburb 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.

Hamilton City Council

Hamilton City Council's website has information on Kirikiriroa Hamilton's libraries, public art, heritage cemeteries, parks and travelling around the city. You can also find information on how Hamilton City Council is working to enhance and protect the environment of their city.

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

  • Use Filter by 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.

Waikato Regional Council

Look at the dynamic map of iwi acknowledgement areas.

  • Select Community and then under Your Community find Iwi.

  • Then choose Interactive map of Waikato iwi groups.

  • The map has many different symbols. Click on Legend to learn what each one means. For example, each yellow dot represents a marae. If you click on a dot, it tells you the name of the marae.

Visit Hamilton

Fast facts, economic activity and history of Hamilton is available on this website.

  • Select Welcome and choose About Hamilton for fast facts about Hamilton and information about Hamilton's History.

  • Go to See & Do to find different tourist attractions in Hamilton like Public Art & Heritage.

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.

  • Use a Waikato place as a keyword to search eg 'Waikato river' or 'Waipā river.'

  • Or you could go to the section Places and then Waikato.

  • You can then explore the stories about the Waikato region or Waikato places.

Department of Conservation (DOC)

The Department of Conservation (DOC for short) is the government website about preserving the natural and historical sites of New Zealand. Explore the historic heritage sites that DOC looks after in Waikato.

  • Enter the place name into the search bar to find articles.

  • Or to browse for places from Waikato go to Our Work and then Heritage.

  • Next, go to Explore heritage sties by region and select Waikato.

  • Select a place 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.

  • To read about the history of different suburbs in Hamilton, enter the name of suburb in the search bar.

  • Under the results, select Stories.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Make your searches simple. Less words is better. Use names like 'Te Rapa' or 'Dinsdale' for images and more.


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.

  • You can select Places then Browse by Region to look for Waikato and Hamilton.

  • You can also use keywords in the search bar to find information.

Māori Maps

Māori Maps is a great website to find information and photographs of the tribal marae of Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Enter the name of a Waikato marae into the search bar or explore the marae using the map.

  • Under About you can read a short description about the marae.

  • Key Information may list the name of the Whare (meeting house), Wharekai (dining hall), Urupa (burial site), Waka (canoe), Maunga (mountain), Iwi (tribe), Hapū (subtribe), Rohe (tribal territory) and which Company of the Māori Battalion men belonged to.

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 'Waikato' or 'Hamilton' to find a range of articles reported in newspapers from around the country.

  • Or you could select By Region to discover the Waikato newspapers you could look at, and when they were published.

  • Use the same search to find information in Magazines and Journals, Letters and Diaries and Parliamentary Papers.

  • Each collection has tools and guidelines to help you refine your search if you need to.

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).

  • To browse places, under Region select Waikato 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.


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

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.

Learn about events of Waikato