Across the harbour from downtown Wellington, Eastbourne occupies a foreland built up by the meeting of sediment-laden currents. For centuries Māori occupied kāinga (settlements) in the sheltered bays, and more substantial pā on the headlands. Early pā sites include Matuaiwi and Korohiwa, to the north and south of what is now Eastbourne. These pā were essential because the nearby Rimutaka Range was the boundary between the Ngāti Kahungunu tribe in the Wairarapa, and the tribes of Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour). Frequent raids on the area meant that Māori were always vigilant. From the Hutt Valley, a track followed the coast around to the Wairarapa. William ‘Okiwi’ Brown, the first European to settle in the eastern bays, provided overnight grazing, and accommodation en route to the Wairarapa. Access to the Wairarapa improved after the massive 1855 earthquake, which raised the eastern shore of the harbour by 2 metres.

Meaning of place name
Named after the town of Eastbourne in Sussex, England.