Places of Wellington

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

1975 photo of Parliament House and The Beehive in the final stages of construction.

Image: Parliament Buildings. Collection: Wellington City Libraries Recollect, Constable Postcard Collection Reference 50001-4-267.

Which places can I learn about?

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

Matairangi | Tangi-te-keo | Mt. Victoria

Matairangi | Tangi-te-keo | Mt. Victoria
A popular place for looking over the city. Mt. Victoria as a whole is named Tangi-te-keo.

Find out about Mt. Victoria
Te Aro Pā

Te Aro Pā
Established in the 1820s. Pākehā settlers took over the land and it became part of the central Wellington settlement.

Find out about Te Aro Pā
Pipitea Marae

Pipitea Marae
An Urban Marae that began in 1980 as a space for supporting Māori culture.

Find out about Pipitea Marae
Parliamentary Precinct

Parliamentary Precinct
Includes Parliament House, the Parliamentary Library, the Beehive (Executive Wing), and Bowen House.

Find out about the Parliamentary Precinct
Te Herenga Waka

Te Herenga Waka
The landing place for waka. The name for the Marae at Victoria University of Wellington and for the university.

Find out about Te Herenga Waka
Cuba Street

Cuba Street
Street known for cultural events and the bucket fountain.

Find out about Cuba Street

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.

Wellington resources

Use these collections to find out about the history of these places.

Wellington City Council

This is the website for the Wellington City Council. It has lots of information about Wellington and it's history, including important heritage places around the city.

  • Search for 'history' and go to About Wellington City - History to find out about the history of Wellington and the waterfront.

  • A search for 'heritage trails' will find Outdoors - Other heritage trails with different walks around the city including for Māori history and public art.

  • Or you could search for 'heritage sites' to find the page about Wellington's historic heritage sites.

  • If you look further down the page you can download a pdf of the Thematic Heritage Study of Wellington. It groups information about Wellington history by themes.

Wellington City Recollect

The photographs, digitised books, and documents on Recollect cover a wide range of political, social, religious, economic, and environmental topics.

Tips: Historical sources like books can be useful for finding different perspectives on a topic. Keep in mind that they may not fairly show a wide range of views or experiences.

Wellington City Libraries

This is the website for Wellington City Libraries. It has books you can borrow and articles that can be read on the website.

  • Choose to search either the Catalogue, Website, or Articles.

  • Enter a keyword related to a place in the search bar.

  • Select an item to find out more.

Wellington Museum | Te Waka Huia o Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho

Wellington Museum is a wonderful place to visit to learn about local environmental, economic, and cultural history.

  • You can visit the museum in person at 3 Jervois Quay, 10am to 5pm every day.

  • The main page for the Wellington Museum has a good summary of what you can expect to see when you visit.

  • Select What's online for resources to explore including the Wellington Museum Blog and Wellington Museum TV for local stories.

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 Shore whaling or Mana Island.

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

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

Other places to visit

Other places to visit include historic Pā sites and cemeteries around the city, the Petone Settlers Museum, the National Library, your local library branch and important conservation locations like Ōtari-Wilton's Bush.

General New Zealand resources

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

Māori Maps

Māori Maps is a digital guide to places that are centres of Māori identity. The map provides photographs and information about different marae around the country.

  • Zoom in on the map to find Marae in the Wellington area.

  • Switch the map to Ingoa Wāhi o Aotearoa to see all place names in te reo Māori.

  • Select a marae to see more information.

Tips: It is important to note that not all marae in the Wellington region are included in this resource, so don't rely on this source by itself. This resource is still being added to.

New Zealand Parliament | Pāremata Aotearoa

Parliament Buildings are located in Wellington, so the history of Parliament is both local and national history.

  • Go to the Visit and Learn tab.

  • Select Visit to find out about taking a public tour or Parliament.

  • Choose History and buildings to find articles on all sorts of topics related to the history of NZ legislation (laws), politicians, traditions, the Māori Affairs Committee, and the buildings themselves.


Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most important environmental places of Wellington. The history section provides great insights into the history of this area and its native wildlife, and the reasons for human intervention to create the sanctuary.

  • Go to the About tab at the top of the page.

  • Select History and choose an article to find out more.

Tips: Learn more by visiting and taking a tour.

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.


This is another really good website to look for information on history in New Zealand.

  • Along the top of the NZHistory homepage, there is a tab for places, which you can browse by region and then local area/suburb.

  • You can try searching too. For example, enter 'Wellington' in the search bar.

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. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

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 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.

New Zealand Heritage List | Rārangi Kōrero

Heritage New Zealand helps look after important historic places in Aotearoa New Zealand. The List is a tool to search for these historic places that are registered as heritage sites.

  • You can use an interactive map to find heritage sites near you.

  • Or from the search options and Region drop down menu, choose Wellington Region.

  • Then select Show listings.

  • Choose a place to find out more.

  • You can also use search words to find a specific place.

  • If you look down the page to List Entry Information, there can be more info under Detailed List Entry like it's significant and the historical narrative.

EPIC Databases

EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

Bridget Williams Books (BWB) gives access to many collections of Aoteaora New Zealand books.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

ManatuTaonga - YouTube

Manatū Taonga, the New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage, helps the peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand explore their culture and heritage stories. This is their official YouTube channel and it has great local resources.

Tips: If you are using video resources, try to use sources that are backed up by a reliable organisation or professional researcher, for example a government agency or a university.

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.


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

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.

Learn about people 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