Wairarapa Stories

Our People

The story of Wairarapa is the story of its people, from the earliest inhabitants to those living in the region today.

Our Places

The Wairarapa is filled with special places, from seaside location to mountain tops, to towns laid out in the shape of a Union Jack.

Natural Events

Earthquakes, floods and fires have shaped the way Wairarapa has developed.


From waka to horse and oxen drawn vehicles, to motorised transport, Wairarapa people have had many methods of getting around.


From hockey to hunting, rugby to running, and swimming to surfing, Wairarapa people have taken their recreation in many ways.


Wairarapa has long been regarded as one of the country’s premier regions for agriculture.


Wairarapa is home to many interesting buildings, many of which have suffered earthquake damage.


Wairarapa sent thousands of young men to fight in the battlefields on the other side of the world in 1914-1918. Not all returned.

Pākehā Settlement

The first Pākehā settlements in Wairarapa, Greytown and Masterton were established in 1853.


The world-wide influenza pandemic reached Masterton in 1918.

South African War

Wairarapa soldiers fought in the first war of the 20th centry – the South African War.

Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park is Masterton’s premier park, with a rich and varied history.