This bibliography features books and websites that are useful in researching Wairarapa Maori history. Some also assist to understand Maori culture and pre/post European contact lifestyles.

A few important matters

Here are a few important considerations when reading Maori history.

  • Non Maori 19th and 20th century authors wrote from their own cultural perspectives where white people were seen as superior and civilised. Even people that were seen as sympathetic to Maori could not help but use their training when recording information.
  • Maori authors and speakers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries may have been interpreting events to protect the interests of their people, some information may be slanted to advantage one group of people over another.
  • A winners/losers mentality, Victorian England and Christianity had a huge influence on how history was presented. This has created stereotypes and inaccuracies that exist to today. For example it is not true that Maori men have always beaten their children and wives.
  • Does information make sense in terms of tikanga Maori. If it does not or you do not understand tikanga ask a local expert. But remember that not every Maori person has been instructed in local Maori history, just like not every New Zealander of European descent is not a farmer.
  • What is your own background and how will this influence how you interpret what you are reading? Do you believe much that is contained in articles and reports that the media focus on with regard to Maori issues.
  • Do statements make sense or don’t you know if they do? For instance there are often questionable statements made that a hapu has been in the Wairarapa for 1000 years. Once again ask a recognised expert if you are not sure.
  • Many stories and most myths have encoded messages, try to work out what a myth is trying to tell you.


While specific websites are named in this document, a ‘google’ search using a key word will uncover useful information on most subjects.

Some of the websites, such as The Waitangi Tribunal or Turnbull Library hold numerous reports, documents, images and evidence that is relevant to the Wairarapa. Have a look around and you might be surprised at the interesting material you will find.

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Note: Click on ‘Teacher Resources’ under Education on the homepage. Once on Teacher Resources page click on ‘Maori education’ in red font near top centre of page. Scroll down page to find resource kits filled with plenty of information and activities. Go past the first pages that feature Auckland Museum locations.

Department of Conservation

This Department of Conservation (DOC) site has information about the protection of New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage, how and where you can enjoy public conservation places and how to get involved in conservation.

In addition to information on native flora and fauna there are documents that feature archaeology in the Wairarapa region.

From home page click on Publications, next click on science and technical, next click on online catalogue then enter ‘Wairarapa’ in the search box.

Masterton District Library and Wairarapa Archive

Masterton District Library supports the cultural, economic and social well-being of Masterton and its people. Working in partnership with local communities, we provide quality resources and services that meet residents’ needs for knowledge, recreation and information.
The Wairarapa Archive is a collecting archive that aims to collect records relating to the Wairarapa region. It provides access to these collections through an extensive database. It also houses the Wairarapa Reference and Family History Collections of the Masterton District Library.

National Library of New Zealand

The purpose of the National Library, as defined in the National Library of New Zealand Act 2003, is to enrich the cultural and economic life of New Zealand and its interchange with other nations, as appropriate, by:

  • collecting, preserving, and protecting documents, particularly those relating to New Zealand, and make them accessible for all the people of New Zealand, in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga;
  • supplementing and furthering the work of other libraries in New Zealand; and
  • working collaboratively with other institutions having similar purposes, including those forming part of the international library community.

also see: the Alexander Turnbull Library

The role of the Alexander Turnbull Library is to collect, preserve and make accessible words, pictures and sounds that tell us about the history and cultures of the people of New Zealand and the Pacific.

New Zealand Archaeological Association

The Archaeological Association is an incorporated society with a membership spanning students, amateurs, professionals and institutions involved or interested in archaeology.
The objectives of the NZAA are to promote and foster research into the archaeology of New Zealand. The Association is active in lobbying Government and Local Government for the protection of New Zealand’s cultural heritage.
Note: Enter ‘Wairarapa’ in search box in bottom left hand corner on homepage

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand

Formed in 1923, Forest & Bird has about 40,000 members in 50 branches that work on a variety of conservation activities, from re-forestation to lobbying, bird monitoring to weed-busting.

Te Ao Hou

Te Ao Hou was published from 1952 to 1976 by the Māori Affairs Department in New Zealand Aotearoa. According to its first editorial, Te Ao Hou aimed “to provide interesting and informative reading for Maori homes … like a marae on paper, where all questions of interest to the Maori can be discussed.”

Te Ara Encyclopeida of New Zealand

‘Te ara’ in Māori means ‘the pathway’. Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand offers many pathways to understanding New Zealand. When complete, it will be a comprehensive guide to the country’s peoples, natural environment, history, culture, economy, institutions and society.

Te Kete Ipurangi – The Online Learning Centre  

TKI is a bilingual portal and web community which provides quality-assured educational material for New Zealand teachers, school managers, and the wider education community.
It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education.

The Journal of the Polynesian Society 

The Polynesian Society is a non-profit organization based at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Founded in 1892, the Society’s aim was the scholarly study of past and present New Zealand Māori and other Pacific Island peoples and cultures. It has pursued this aim primarily through the Journal of the Polynesian Society, a quarterly publication begun at the Society’s inception and enduring to the present.

The Māori Niupepa Collection

Maori Niupepa is a collection of historic newspapers published primarily for a Māori audience between 1842 and 1932. The newspapers can be searched (full text), browsed (by series) or accessed by date. This collection has been made available by the New Zealand Digital Library Project, at the Department of Computer Science, University of Waikato.

The Waitangi Tribunal

The Waitangi Tribunal was established in 1975 by the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975. The Tribunal is a permanent commission of inquiry charged with making recommendations on claims brought by Maori relating to actions or omissions of the Crown that breach the promises made in the Treaty of Waitangi.
Note: For a start enter ‘Wairarapa Lakes’ in the search box at top of home page. Also click on Rangihaua Whanui in quick links on right hand side of home page, then click on District Reports, then in new window click 11A Wairarapa.


  Adcock, Irene (1973) A goodly heritage: Eketahuna and districts 100 years 1873-1973
Eketahuna Borough Council and the Eketahuna County Council, Eketahuna, New Zealand.

Bagnall, A.G. (1954)

Masterton’s First Hundred Years: 1854-1954

Printcraft Ltd Masterton, for Masterton Centennial Committee, Masterton, New Zealand.


Bagnall, A.G. (1965)

Early Castlepoint: first years in a pioneer settlement

Masterton Printing, compiled in honour of the centenary 1848-1948 by the Castlepoint Historical Committee, Masterton, New Zealand.


Bagnall, A.G. (1976)

Wairarapa – an historic excursion

Masterton Hedleys Bookshop Ltd, for the Masterton Trust Lands Trust, Masterton, New Zealand.


Bannister, Charles (1940)

Early History of Wairarapa

Wairarapa Times Age, Masterton, New Zealand.


Bentley, Byron J (1980)

Pahiatua: a pictorial history 1881-1981

Carthews, Pahiatua, New Zealand.


Best, Elsdon. (1918)

The Land of Tara’ in Journal of the Polynesian Society vol.27

Polynesian Society, Auckland, New Zealand


Cairns, Keith (1981)

Nga Tau e Waru centennial booklet 1881-1981

Te Ore Ore Centennial Committee. Masterton, New Zealand


Carkeek, W.C. (1966)

The Kapiti Coast: Mäori history and place names

Reed Publishing, Wellington, New Zealand


Carle, Cyril Jordan (1946)

Wairarapa: the first one hundred years of development of a great district

Cyril Jordan Carle, Masterton, New Zealand


Carle, Cyril Jordan (1978)

Opaki-Rangitumau Schools and districts’ history : Opaki-Rangitumau 1878-1978

Opaki Centennial Committee, Opaki, New Zealand


Carle, Cyril Jordan (1980)

Forty Mile Bush-A Tribute to the Pioneers

North Wairarapa News, Pahiatua, New Zealand

  Carter, Mita (1982) Early Palliser Bay

Featherston Publishing Committee, Featherston, New Zealand


Chrisp, Stephen (1993)

The Mäori Occupation of Wairarapa

in Journal of the Polynesian Society vol. 101. Polynesian Society, Auckland, New Zealand


Edmonds, June. (1987) ,

Alfredton, the school and the people / compiled by June Edmonds and written by the people of Alfredton’

Alfredton School Centennial Committee, Alfredton, New Zealand

  Fearon, Kevin J (1976)

Gladstone: a history of the Gladstone, Longbush, Te Whiti and Maungaraki Schools and their associated districts, presented on the occasion of the centennial celebrations of the Gladstone School

Gladstone School and Districts Centennial Committee, Gladstone, New Zealand

  Fearon, Kevin J (1980)

Te Wharau: a history which traces the origins of the various properties from the Kourarau Hill to the coast and covers the general development of the district

Grange Publishers, Masterton, New Zealand

  Grant, Ian. (1995)

North of the Waingawa: the Masterton Borough and County Councils 1877-1989’.

Masterton District Council, Masterton, New Zealand

  McCallum, Angus (1985)

Main Title ‘Kopuaranga District centennial, 1885-1985: Country Woman’s Institute golden jubilee, 1935-1985′
Cover Title  ‘Forest Gateway – Kopuaranga: the place and/the people 1860-1985’

Angus McCallum and Associates, Kopuaranga, Wairarapa, New Zealand

  McCallum, Angus (1998)

Tui country: a history of the Pahiatua County’.

Pahiatua County Council, Pahiatua, New Zealand

  McEwen, Jock M. (1986)

Rangitane – A Tribal History

Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand.

  Mitchell, J.H. (1972)

Takitimu: a History of the Ngati Kahungunu People

A.H. and A.W. Reed, Wellington, New Zealand

  Morrison, Catherine (1991)

Nga Maharatanga o Wairarapa, the past around us

Masterton District Library, Masterton, New Zealand

  Oxenham, Stephen (1993)

Waiohine: a river and it’s people

Stephen Oxenham, Carterton, New Zealand

  Parsons, M.J. (1986)

John and Te Aitu Jury

M.J. Parsons, Christchurch, New Zealand

  Peterson, G.C (1956)

Forest homes: the story of the Scandinavian settlements in the Forty Mile Bush, New Zealand

Reed Publishing, Wellington, New Zealand

  Taueru School (1981)

100th anniversary of Taueru School

Taueru School Committee, Taueru, New Zealand

  Tuhirangi Marae Trustees (1991)


Tuhirangi Marae Trustees, Pirinoa, New Zealand

  Wairarapa Archive (2005)

The Memoirs of Joseph Masters

Wairarapa Archive, Masterton, New Zealand

  Wairarapa Rural Education Activities Programme (REAP). (2004)

Wairarapa Korero

Lamb Peters Print, Greytown, New Zealand

  Yerex, D. (1999)

Carterton: biography of a country town and district

Carterton District Council, Carterton, New Zealand