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.

Colour photo of the Waimakariri River. Brooklands Lagoon is to the left. The settlement on the right is Kaiapoi.

Image: 2010-09-06 Waimakariri River by Gavin Treadgold on Wikimedia Commons.

Which places can I learn about?

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


The largest town in the Waimakariri District that was founded in 1852 originally as a sawmilling town.

Find out about Rangiora

One of the main towns in the Waimakariri District.

Find out about Kaiapoi

In the early years there was a West Oxford and East Oxford. Both had their own train station.

Find out about Oxford
Tuahiwi Marae

Tuahiwi Marae
In the rural village of Tuahiwi. Primary hapu is Ngāi Tūāhuriri.

Find out about Tuahiwi Marae
Waimakariri mountains

Waimakariri mountains
Significant mountains include Mount Grey | Maukatere and Mount Thomas.

Find out about Waimakariri mountains
Waimakariri River

Waimakariri River
This river defines the southern boundary of the district.

Find out about Waimakariri River

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.

Waimakariri resources

Here are some sources you could look at to find out about places in the Waimakariri District:

Waimakariri Heritage

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

  • Select Search to find information on a specific place.

  • Browse All then filter by Item type then books to find books on local towns.

  • Select the title and then search within that book.

  • Or go to the Places tab to browse buildings, towns, villages, and more.

Waimakariri Libraries

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

  • Enter your keywords 'places Waimakariri' in the search bar.

  • Or select the Heritage tab and choose Local History .

  • Choose Places of the Waimakariri and then a place you would like to find out about.


The Landmarks Committee was set up to recognise significant buildings, sites, and locations in Rangiora and Kaiapoi.

Christchurch City Libraries

A reliable source for information on the history of the wider Canterbury area.

  • Use the search feature at the top of the page to search the Website for All Content.

  • Then enter your keyword in the box eg a place name.

  • Choose an article to read.

Environment Canterbury

This is a government organisation that oversees the management of natural resources in Canterbury.

Kā Huru Manu

This is an atlas of traditional place names and stories within the Ngāi Tahu rohe or tribal area.

  • Choose View the Atlas.

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

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

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.

  • Look down the page for History of Rangiora.

  • This is a timeline of Rangiora's past. Explore the links.

  • You can contact or visit the museum for more information on their collections.

  • Free entry. Donations appreciated.

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

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.

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.

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 resources

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.

  • 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.

  • Go to the Places tab.

  • Look down the Regions to find Canterbury.

  • Check the list to see how many places are on it from around the Waimakariri District.

  • You can click on places you want to find out more about.

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 Waimakariri. 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 PapersPast, 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 newspapers for place names to find articles related to them.

Tips: PapersPast 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.

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 Canterbury 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.

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.


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: 5496549

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

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.

Learn about events of Waimakariri