Discover Historic Petone

Enjoy historic Petone at your own pace by visiting dozens of notable sites from the 1840s to 1900s

jackson street petone shoppers crossing road in front of historic buildings




Jackson Street

With tour commentary in the palm of your hand, you can either vehicle, cycle or walk to venture into history. Many of Petone's buildings have stood for well over 100 years and now form much of the area's main shopping strip.

Download the Petone Tours app and stop along the street for stories on shop windows and along Jackson Street you'll get a glimpse into the life and times of early New Zealand.

jackson street petone view of historic buildings and street
petone settlers museum exterior view looking south
petone tours app close up of app screen on phone
petone foreshore wharf in midground

Originally "Pito-one" was a fine place for Māori to hunt or fish, but exposed to southerly storms and inconvenient habitation it wasn't the easiest place to live. Yet here was where the New Zealand Company chose to establish the first settlement.

According to Susan Butterworth “The unrivalled harbour and the desire of Māori for European settlement were paramount considerations” even though Colonel William Wakefield was charged with purchasing 110,000 acres – well beyond what a fully cleared Hutt Valley could provide.

In 1840, Petone became the first European settlement in New Zealand. Despite early setbacks such as flooding and earthquakes – resulting in many settlers relocating to the other side of the harbour to establish Wellington – the people of Petone soon built a thriving community of houses, shops and industries.

The result was a series of firsts on Petone Beach: the first Wellington area church service; the first bank in New Zealand, the Union Bank of Australia, which opened on 24 March 1840; the first horse race meeting in New Zealand; the first New Zealand newspaper, The New Zealand Gazette, was also printed nearby on 18 April 1840.

Compiled by the Petone Historical Society, this tour offers you some insight in to the national significance of Petone as well as some local treasures. Download the Tour Petone app on Android. (Not currently on iOS.)

Plus discover more gems like Hollywood movie costume makers at Stansborough Mill who create exquisite eco-textiles using technology from the 1890s woollen mills. 

stansborough mill woollen loom from 1890s still used today

You might like