whanganui city

Events In History


Muaūpoko, Ngāti Apa and Whanganui chief who joined the Armed Police Force and fought in campaigns against the Hauhau, Te Kooti and Tītokowaru during the 1860s.

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Native Minister who was in charge when 1600 troops invaded the settlement of Parihaka in November 1881

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Acknowledged as New Zealand’s most accomplished poet, Baxter is also well known for his lifestyle and the counter-cultural community he established beside the Whanganui River.

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War in Whanganui

  • War in Whanganui

    The confusion and uncertainty that had surrounded the New Zealand Company's land purchases in Whanganui erupted into violence in the autumn and winter of 1847. The conflict also involved long-standing rivalries between upper and lower Whanganui River Māori.

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  • Page 2 – Background

    From the outset there was confusion and uncertainty over the exact nature and extent of the New Zealand Company's purchase at Whanganui.

  • Page 3 – The Matarawa killings

    The killing of Mary Gilfillan and three of her children caused tension between upriver and downriver Māori as well as among Europeans.

  • Page 4 – The siege of Whanganui

    Te Mamaku led 700 Ngāti Hāua-te-rangi fighters who attacked Whanganui in May 1847.

  • Page 5 – Moutoa Island

    The Pai Mārire religion divided Māori. Some supported it, but others mistrusted its political intent. Events on the Whanganui River in 1864 showed the conflict about the faith

  • Page 6 – The 1865 campaign

    Following the battle of Moutoa Island in 1864, Hīpango pursued the retreating Pai Mārire (Hauhau). Fighting continued from fortified positions upriver, near Hiruhārama.

The 1920s

  • The 1920s

    The 1920s was the decade that modern New Zealand came of age. Despite political and economic uncertainty, the country shrugged off the gloom of war to embrace the Jazz Age - an era of speed, power and glamour. Explore an overview of the decade and a year-by-year breakdown of key events.

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  • Page 3 - 1920 - key eventsA selection of key New Zealand events from

Election Days

  • Election Days

    When New Zealanders go to the polls on 26 November 2011, they will continue a 158-year-old tradition of parliamentary democracy in this country. Politics may have changed beyond recognition since 1853, but the cut and thrust of the campaign trail, the power of advertising, and the drama of polling day remain as relevant as ever.

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  • Page 4 - Nights on the townAfter the colour and controversy of the 1850s, election days in New Zealand have generally been orderly affairs. Even so, election nights could still be lively

Regional rugby

  • Regional rugby

    The passion and parochialism of provincial rugby helped give the game a special place in New Zealand’s social and sporting history. Read brief histories, highlights and quirky facts about each of New Zealand's 26 regional rugby teams.

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  • Page 16 - Whanganui rugbyHistory and highlights of rugby in the Whanganui

Situated at the mouth of the Whanganui River, and ancestral home to Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi hapu, Whanganui is one of New Zealand's oldest cities. It was the New Zealand Company’s second settlement, and began as an adjunct of the first, Wellington, in 1840. In the mid 1860s the town was under threat of attack by Pai Mārire adherents. Redoubts (fortifications) were built to the north-west and along the river, and troops were deployed. Whanganui became a city in 1924, when it was New Zealand’s largest urban area after the four main centres. Slow growth in the hinterland also hindered Whanganui’s growth during the latter half of the twentieth century, but a diversified economy has seen the town grow in the last few decades.

Meaning of place name
The name means big harbour, although another version is 'long wait'; the town is known as the ‘River City’.