Travel back in time with these unique Wellington experiences

Sheet 283 of the 1893 Women's Suffrage Petition.
The red and white interior of the Government House in Wellington.
Sheet 283 of the 1893 Women's Suffrage Petition.

He Tohu at National Library of New Zealand

70 Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington

In the National Library lies He Tohu — home to some of New Zealand’s most important documents. You can view Te Tiriti o Waitangi — signed in 1840, it is the founding agreement between Māori and the Crown. You can also see the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition which led to New Zealand becoming the first country in the world where all women gained the right to vote. He Whakaputanga — Declaration of Independence is also there.

It’s an essential experience for anyone interested in how Aotearoa has grown as a nation.

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Wellington Museum

3 Jervois Quay, Wellington

Wellington Museum tells the stories of its people — from its maritime history, and Māori and European settlement, to its growth as a region, and its evolution since becoming the capital in 1865. Free exhibitions and experiences pack the four floors of the beautifully restored 19th-century wharf building.

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New Zealand Parliament Tours

1 Museum Street, Pipitea, Wellington

Go behind the scenes at the Beehive and Parliament House to understand more about New Zealand’s history and how democracy works. Walk the corridors of power and find out about where our laws are written, debated, and passed. You’ll hear anecdotes about past politicians, see some of the artworks and objects from the Parliamentary Collection, and get to know the architectural history of the buildings.

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Katherine Mansfield House & Garden

25 Tinakori Road, Thorndon, Wellington

Katherine Mansfield (1882 to 1923) was a writer of short stories, poetry, letters, journals, and reviews. With many translated into more than 25 languages. The house she was born in and spent the first five years of her life sits in the historical suburb of Thorndon. The two-story wooden house fringed by a well-kept garden has been lovingly restored. It gives a snapshot of late 19th-century colonial New Zealand and an insight into the formative years of New Zealand’s most famous literary daughter.

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Nairn Street Cottage

68 Nairn Street, Mount Cook, Wellington

Nairn Street Cottage offers a fascinating insight into the life of the Wallis family across 120 years of habitation. Three generations of the family lived in the cottage from 1857 to the late 1970s. Guided tours run through what life was like for early British colonists and their descendants from both social and technological perspectives. Open daily from 12pm to 4pm. Entry is $8 for adults and $4 for children.

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The red and white interior of the Government House in Wellington.

Government House tours

1 Rugby Street, Newtown, Wellington

For more than 100 years, Government House has been home to the Governor-General of New Zealand — the King’s representative. The Category 1 heritage building can be accessed during a free two-hour tour. It will take you through the visitor centre, the main house and its public reception rooms, and the gardens (weather depending). You’ll get to learn about the current and historic role of the house, the Governor-General, and some of the famous guests who have stayed there. Prior bookings are required.

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Petone Settlers Museum

160 The Esplanade, Petone

The Petone Settlers Museum tells the stories of the people who have made Petone their home. Inside, you’ll find small exhibitions that focus on different historical and cultural aspects of settlement in the area. Knowledgeable hosts share Petone’s early settler stories. Learn about the impacts of industrialisation, cultural change, and Petone’s journey to becoming a thriving suburb.

The museum is housed in one of New Zealand’s most significant memorial buildings. It commemorates the place where New Zealand’s first European settlers came ashore in 1840. Before becoming a museum, it served as a bathing pavilion for Petone beach-goers.

Hutt City Council

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

State Highway 1, Te Aro, Wellington

A short walk from the centre of the city lies Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. It is a place to reflect on New Zealand’s experience of war, military conflict, and peacekeeping, and how it shapes the national identity.

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