Events of Waimakariri

Lots of events have shaped the Waimakariri District as it is today. Here are some sources you could look at if you'd like to find out about these events.

1875 black and white illustration of Cobb and Co's coach crossing the Waimakariri River in Flood.

Image: Cobb and Co's coach crossing the Waimakariri River during a flood by Thomas Samuel Cousins. Collection: Alexander Turnbull Library, Ref: MNZ-0643-1/4-F.

Which events can I learn about?

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

Early 1500s

Early 1500s
Arrival of Waitaha.

Find out about the arrival of Waitaha

Ngāi Tahu families return to live at Tuahiwi.

Find out about the return to Tuahiwi

First survey of North Canterbury area by Charles Obins Torlesse and John Cowell Boys.

Find out about the 1849 Canterbury Survey

First European settler in Rangiora and first house built in Rangiora by Charles Obins Torlesse.

Find out about Rangiora becoming a settlement

Canterbury Earthquakes.

Find out about the Canterbury Earthquakes

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.

Waimakariri resources

Here are some local information sources:

Waimakariri Libraries Heritage

The collections from Waimakariri Libraries have information about the histories of the main centres and surrounding areas.

Waimakariri Heritage

This site has photos, audio recordings, books and documents that share the history of the Waimakariri District.

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

  • Select an item to have a closer look.

  • You can also search within books.

Ngāi Tahu

This is the website of Ngāi Tahu. It has information about the history of the iwi, the Waitangi Tribunal, and Ngāi Tahu Settlement.

  • Select Ngāi Tahu then History for information about Ngāi Tahu history.

  • Or, under History, choose Ngāi Tahu Settlement for information about the Waitangi Tribunal and the Ngāi Tahu Claim (Tē Kerēme).

Rangiora Museum

The Museum has become a storage place for family histories, documents and photographs relating to people who settled in the area. It has information about the history of Rangiora families, Rangiora and neighbouring districts.

  • Contact or visit the museum for more information on their collections.

  • Free entry. Donations appreciated.

  • Look down the page for Location and Hours to plan your visit.

Kaiapoi Museum

Kaiapoi Museum used to be housed in the old Kaiapoi Court House, which was demolished after the 4th September 2010 earthquake. It reopened in the Ruataniwha Civic Centre on the 5th September 2015. The collection includes information about Kaiapoi Town and the surrounding districts.

  • Contact or visit the museum for more information on their collections.

  • Entry is free. Donations appreciated.

  • Address: 176 Williams Street.

  • Look on the page for opening hours.

Oxford Museum

Oxford Museum's displays are about sawmilling, farming and general home-life of the early settlers. It has a working model electric railway layout showing how Oxford township looked in the days before the rails and stations were removed.

  • Contact or visit the museum for more information on their collections. Free entry. Donations appreciated.

  • Look down the page for location and opening hours.

Tips: Stories can be told in different ways. It’s a good idea to look at multiple information sources about a topic to help you put together your own narrative.

General New Zealand websites

These websites have good information about the history of the Waimakariri District.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll 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 a word related to an event to find articles.

  • Or look down the page and select Places.

  • Select Canterbury.

  • Go to Canterbury Places.

  • Here you can explore Rangiora District or Kaiapoi District.

  • You can select the images on the right hand side to see them up closer and get further information.

Tips: It is not always OK to use photos and images you've found on a website. Before you use them it's important to check whether you are allowed by looking at the usage rights.

NZ History

NZHistory is another great website from the Ministry for Culture & Heritage. It has lots of history about events, people and places in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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

  • Choose an article to read.

Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.


DigitalNZ allows you to search a variety of New Zealand libraries, museums, galleries, government departments, and media all in a single search.

  • Use the keywords 'Waimakariri' or 'Canterbury' in the search box.

  • You will find collections of images, videos, audio and more.

  • Or you can use a more specific keyword like the name of a person, place, or event.

  • Choose something to have a closer look.

  • You may then need to select

    View original item.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg Canterbury earthquakes. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Papers Past

You can read newspaper articles from the early days of European settlement on Papers Past, a website for digitised New Zealand newspapers including the North Canterbury Gazette and The Oxford Observer.

  • Go to the tab called Newspapers.

  • Explore newspapers By Region and choose a region eg Canterbury.

  • A list of the newspapers will appear alphabetically showing dates of publication from

    First year to Last year eg Oxford Observer started in 1889.

  • You can search using keywords related to an event.

Tips: Papers Past has other useful sections. Explore Magazines and journals, Letters and Diaries, and Parliamentary Papers for different types of primary sources.

New Zealand Electronic Text Collection

This is part of the Victoria University of Wellington Library. Here you will find lots of history books from their library that you can read online.

  • Go to browse collection.

  • Select New Zealand History.

  • Enter in the search box a person, place or event you'd like to know more about.

  • This will bring up links to where information about that person, place or event can be found in the collection.

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.


Here are a few books about the history of the Waimakariri District 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: 5496550

More about Waimakariri

People of Waimakariri

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

Learn about people of Waimakariri

Places of Waimakariri

There are many places that are significant to the Waimakariri District. Here are some sources you could look at if you'd like to find out about them.

Learn about places of Waimakariri