People of Wellington

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

Close up of statue on Wellington waterfront. It shows Kupe, his wife Hine Te Apārangi, and his tohunga (priest) Pekahourangi.

Image: Statue of Kupe, Wellington Waterfront by Mike. Collection: Wikimedia Commons.

Which people can I find out about?

Here are some people related to Wellington you could find out about:

Tara-Ika | Tara

Tara-Ika | Tara
Māori explorer and rangatira who brought his people to Te-Whangaui-a-Tara | Wellington.

Find out about Tara
Te Rauparaha (?-1849)

Te Rauparaha (?-1849)
Established Ngāti Toa on Kāpiti Island in the 1820s. War leader and rangatira (chief).

Find out about Te Rauparaha
Hōniana Te Puni (?-1870)

Hōniana Te Puni (?-1870)
Te Ati Awa leader. Government advisor who played a significant role in the Wellington region.

Find out about Hōniana Te Puni
Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)
Writer of the modernist movement.

Find out about Katherine Mansfield
Carmen Tione Rupe (1936-2011)

Carmen Tione Rupe (1936-2011)
Transgender woman, entertainer, and advocate for LGBTQI+ rights.

Find out about Carmen Tione Rupe
Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson
Oscar-winning filmmaker.

Find out about Peter Jackson

Tips: These are just some examples of people you could research. You may have someone different you're interested in finding out about. Just use their name as your search terms in the resources below.

Local iwi:

Note: Iwi are listed in alphabetical order. This list was put together to the best of our knowledge. If there are any other iwi to be included, please let us know.

Wellington resources

Use these sources to find out about Wellington people:

Te Kāhui Māngai

Te Kāhui Māngai is a great place to start researching about iwi, hapū and marae.

  • Try the Iwi by Local Authority tool to get find iwi in a region or local council.

  • You can see 9 total Iwi within the Greater Wellington Regional Council area.

  • Choose an Iwi name, for example Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika, to learn more about their rohe (tribal area), marae and representative organisations.

Tenths Trust, Ngā Tekau o Poneke

Two main organisations represent the local Iwi Te Āti Awa / Taranaki ki Te Upoko o Te Ika / Taranaki Whānui. One of these is the Tenths Trust.

To learn about the history of Tenths Trust and the people of Te Āti Awa Ki Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui:

  • from the homepage, go to About us,

  • and then to the History page.

Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Māui Inc.

The home page for Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Māui Inc. has information about the radio station Āti Awa Toa FM, Te Aroha Hutt Valley Association and some infomation about the history of Te Āti Awa.

  • Use the links at the top of the page to find information.

  • Go to Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa and then Te Āti Awa for a short history.

Ngāti Toa Rangatira

Learn about the rohe (lands) and history of the local iwi, Ngāti Toa. Find out about their marae, treaty claims, culture and identity, and their leadership organisation Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira.

  • Go to the Taonga tab.

  • Look down the page for a timeline of significant dates for Ngāti Toa.

  • Look further down the page for profiles of significant Tūpuna (ancestors).

Ngāti Porou ki Pōneke

There are 11,300 people of Ngāti Porou ancestry living in Wellington. Their rohe is the most easterly region of the North Island. Ngāti Porou ki Pōneke is an urban iwi authority that provides services and leadership to the people of Ngāti Porou in Wellington.

Wellington City Recollect

Wellington City Libraries looks after Recollect, a website that has many photos, maps, documents and digitised books about local history.

Ngā Tūpuna o Te Whanganui-a-Tara (volume 1-2)

Available online through Recollect and Wellington City Libraries, these eBooks are a taonga for local history. Explore the first two volumes to find ancestral Māori biographies.

Porirua City Libraries Local Heritage Resource Centre

This page has information about the Local Heritage Resource Centre found at the City Centre Library in Porirua. The centre has access to newspapers, maps, photos and more. They also have online booklets about different topics in Porirua's history.

  • Look down the page to see what is available in the Heritage Centre.

  • Or go to Porirua's history – what's the story?

  • Under Booklets about Porirua heading, choose a topic that interests you eg Early schools in Porirua or P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A in Poriua.

  • The links take you to the library's catalogue.

  • Select Access resource to download a PDF of the booklet.

Tung Jung Association

The Tung Jung Association is a significant local Chinese organisation that started in 1926 to promote the culture of the Gwoon (Dongguan) and Jungsen (Zengcheng) districts in the Guangdong province, Chinese languages, and to hold social events.

General New Zealand resources

Here are some websites that have information about Aotearoa New Zealand history and local history.

DigitalPasifik.org

DigitalPasifik is a collaboration between Pacific Islands, Australia and New Zealand. This database brings together library and museum resources from around the world about the rich cultural heritage of the Pacific.

  • You can select a country or region to browse resources about it.

  • You can run a keyword search, and then filter by location.

  • Many resources that come up through a keyword search for 'Wellington' will be records and images of objects and photographs held at Te Papa.

NZHistory

Along with a great range of articles on a wide range of topics, NZHistory also hosts some great databases.

  • Search using the name of a person or group of people to find articles.

  • Search for 'Women's suffrage' to find Women Together – Ngā Rōpū Wāhine o te Motu- a record of women's' organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand.

  • Select an organisation to find out more.

  • The same search will find the Women's Suffrage Petition database. It has the names and addresses, and some profiles of women who signed the petition.

Te Ara: Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Te Ara is always a good place to start. Te Ara has a range of articles on lots of topics. Te Ara also includes the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, containing the life stories of over 3,000 people.

  • Enter 'Wellington history' as a keyword in the search bar to bring up articles on the topic.

  • The Wellington Region story includes a summary of the early Māori history of Te Whanganui-a-Tara, introducing rangatira and the migrations of iwi which took place during the 1820s.

Tips: If you look at the URL you will be able to see that it says .govt which means it is a reliable source from a Government department.

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (DNZB)

This website has over 3,000 biographies of New Zealanders who have made their mark on this country. It does not include people who are alive. This site includes around 500 biographies that are in te reo Māori.

  • Use the names of the people as search words to read about their lives and what they achieved, or

  • you can do an Advanced Biographies Search which allows you to narrow down your search by region.

He Tohu Exhibition

A great place to visit is the He Tohu exhibit at National Library, which holds copies of the 1835 He Whakaputanga Declaration of Independence, the 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the 1893 Women's Suffrage Petition.

  • Visit 70 Molesworth Street in Wellington.

  • Or look down the page for online resources like videos.

National Library | Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa

Our National Library holds a huge number of digital and physical resources.

  • Start with a keyword search.

  • Filter the search by format type eg images, newspapers, audio.

National Library also holds some great online collections of resources. To find individual collections:

DigitalNZ

DigitalNZ searches across different websites, such as National Library and Papers Past, to collect digital resources including photographs, interviews and videos from around the country.

  • Enter a keyword into the search bar.

  • You can make a profile and save pictures you like.

Tips: You might not always find the person or group you are looking for, but it is a great tool to try and is especially useful for finding photographs and primary sources.

Te Papa

Not only is Te Papa a great museum that you can visit, they also have items in storage that you can find out about online. Te Papa publishes some in-depth blogs on historical topics.

  • To find information about physical items online, select Discover the collections in the top navigation bar, and then go to Collections online.

  • You can find the blogs by selecting Discover the collections in the top navigation bar, and then choosing Blog: Rangitaki.

NZ On Screen | Iwi Whitiāhua

NZ On Screen has great clips about international events, war, the Māori battalion and local history.

  • Try a search for 'Wellington' to find the Wellington Collection put together by the NZ On Screen team.

  • Another collection worth checking out is The Rainbow Collection about Aotearoa Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender screen production.

NZETC (New Zealand Electronic Text Collection)

Older students can find some great historical texts here.

Tips: Some of these texts were written a long time ago by Pākehā researchers. They might miss context, information or not quite be right. Use these sources alongside information created by Mana Whenua, the indigenous people (Māori) who have historic and territorial rights over the land.

Books

Here are a few books about Wellington history 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.

More about Wellington

Places of Wellington

There are many places that are significant to Wellington. Use the resources in this section to find out about their histories.

Learn about places of Wellington

Events of Wellington

Lots of things have happened that have had an impact on Wellington. The following resources explore these events and can offer some different perspectives.

Learn about events of Wellington