Our resources also include a useful links page and our newsletters.
Wellington historic buildings to visit
Some of Wellington’s historic buildings can be regularly visited (although some require a guided tour). Click the links for more information:
Old St Paul’s Church; Parliament Buildings; Old Government Buildings; Supreme Court; Katherine Mansfield Birthplace; Government House; St Gerard’s Monastery; St Peter’s Church; Wellington Museum (including Nairn Street Cottage); Futuna Chapel, Karori; Golder Cottage, Upper Hutt; Paekakariki Station Museum, Paekakariki, Kapiti coast, Silver Stream heritage railway, Upper Hutt.
Wellington’s historic listed buildings
To see if a building is listed as historic by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga (formerly NZ Historic Places Trust) click the link to search.
Local councils also maintain a heritage list as part of their District Plans – see our useful links page for links to the councils in Wellington region.
You can search the buildings on the Wellington City Council’s list here: www.wellingtoncityheritage.org.nz. Please be aware that not every building on the Council’s heritage schedule is yet included in the inventory. If you need to be sure a building is scheduled, we suggest you check the council’s schedule – see our useful links page.
Wellington Regional Council provided a guide to heritage identification in 2015. You can access it from this page.
Wellington City Council published this brochure on heritage-shop-fronts and a history of Wellington.
The Wellington City Library has some general information about local history here.
You can read some of the history of the Basin Reserve here (part 1) and here (part 2).
Toehold on a Harbour is an interesting short film made in 1966 by the National Film Unit, which shows some Wellington buildings of the time: https://www.nzonscreen.com/title/toehold-on-a-harbour-1966
Wellington heritage walks
Wellington City Council has developed a number of self-guided heritage walks. You can find an overview map here (PDF). And at this link you will find several individual heritage walking trails.
The Sisters of Compassion, a Catholic order founded by Suzanne Aubert, has developed a self-guided walking tour of Wellington sites of interest. You can find a PDF copy here.
Two Wellington maps with an architecture focus are available here:
http://www.architecture-archive.auckland.ac.nz/docs/block-digital/2012-Walker-Guide.pdf (Roger Walker guide)
Some sources for Māori heritage of Wellington / Te Whanganui-a-Tara
An article in the 1913 edition of the Early Settlers and Historical Association magazine (vol 1, no. 3), Pre-Pakeha Occupation of Wellington District (pp. 30 – 34).
Wellington City Council website has some brief information about Māori settlement here and pre-1865 settlement.
Wellington city librarians have put together a list of books on Wellington’s Māori history and heritage. Leslie Adkin’s book The Great Harbour of Tara: traditional Maori place names and sites of Wellington Harbour and environs – a revision (1959) is digitised here.
The Wellington City Council District Plan includes a list of sites of significance to Māori – from page 36 to 42: (PDF) A useful adjunct to this is the Māori sites inventory (with digitised maps) available on the City Libraries Recollect website. here.
A heritage trail; Te Ara o Nga Tupuna: the path of our ancestors.
This map, drawn by Louis Ward c. 1925, shows early Pakeha settlers names but also some Māori sites:
Ward, Louis Ernest, 1866-1938: Sketch plan. Showing the Original Sections sold by Ballot in London July 29th 1839; The Original Purchasers and Claimants, or subsequent Owners (in parenthesis) Compiled by Louis E. Ward from T H Fitzgerald’s Survey. 1840. Ref: MapColl-832.4799gbbd/1840-1916/Acc.16123. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22317278. This link will take you to a version you can enlarge.
Waitangi Tribunal, 2003, Te Whanganui a Tara me ona Takiwa: Report on the Wellington District (Wai 145): PDF
Heritage New Zealand Resources
Heritage New Zealand also has a resources page with a lot of useful information.
Online archaeological report library: The digital library contains over 7500 reports dating from the 1950s until today, with more reports being added all the time. This is one of the most important sources of archaeological information about places in the country, and a huge repository of information that will be of interest to many people. Explore the online Archaeological Reports Digital Library for yourself – just follow the link.
Aotearoa Unearthed is an eight-part New Zealand archaeology podcast series. You can find the episodes by clicking the link (each is approximately 15-20 mins).
To further promote the ongoing protection and future of significant historic and heritage sites, the Government has broadened the eligibility criteria of the National Heritage Preservation Incentive Fund (NHPIF) that Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga administers on its behalf.
From 1 May 2018, applications are open to all private property owners of places listed on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero, with the exception of historic areas. This includes Category 1 and Category 2 properties, as well as sites of significance to Māori. More information is available on this website
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has material about earthquake strengthening on its website. Including information about the unreinforced masonry buildings securing fund.
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Historic Places Aotearoa
Blue Plaques. This is an initiative of our national body, Historic Places Aotearoa to identify and promote our built heritage. The large cast aluminium plaques are designed to be placed prominently on the facades of important heritage buildings. Here is a letter in support of blue plaques from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga: HPA Blue Plaque – Recommendation_Oct2020. Contact us if you own a heritage building in the Wellington region and are interested in a blue plaque. There is more information on HPA’s dedicated Blue Plaques website.
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