Explore the rich history of Kāpiti: historical photographs, newspapers, local history files and more.
Kāpiti's rich history is reflected in the wide range of heritage materials available at Paraparaumu Library. Ōtaki and Waikanae libraries also hold a selection of resources in their non-fiction collections.
Everyone is welcome to visit us and look at any of the collection but, as many items are rare or irreplaceable, most of the collection is not on public display.
You can access items in the collection through the Heritage and Māori librarians or the librarian at the welcome desk. Our staff are happy to help you.
The Historical Photograph collection holds a range of interesting images of local people, places and events. File prints are available for you to view at Paraparaumu Library or you can search using Mau Mahara: Kāpiti – our online database.
The library is also home to the Bruce MacMillan collection, an archive of 250,000 negatives from the 1950s to the 1970s.
We hold the following newspapers:
- Kāpiti Observer – July 1950–current
- Kāpiti Mail – April 1988–June 2000
- Horowhenua and Kāpiti News – April 1997–December 1999
- Ōtaki Mail – April 1991–current
- Ōtaki Today: Ngā Kōrero o Ōtaki – September 2018–current
The Kāpiti Observer from 2001 to this month’s editions, and the Ōtaki Mail from April 2003 onwards are indexed.
To view the actual newspaper please ask for assistance at the Welcome Desk.
Microfilm of the Dominion Post January 2002–09 can be viewed on request at Paraparaumu Library.
View the newspaper index.
Where do street names come from?
It's a rare street or landmark that doesn't have a story behind it.
The next time that you walk around Kāpiti’s streets, think about the history they hold. Here is some information to help you on your way:
- Kapiti Historical Society – street names – Paekakariki, Paraparaumu, Waikanae
- Kapiti Historical Society – Raumati South street names
- Otaki Street Names – OHS Vol 6 42–44
- Dennis Taylor Court naming
- Street names – Leinster Ave and Sydney Cres
- Jean Hing Place Naming – first bilingual English and Chinese street sign in New Zealand.
Information on Māori place names can be found on the Te Reo Māori pages.
Mayors of Kāpiti Borough Council, 1974–89
- Barry Hadfield 1974–80
- June Oakley 1980–83
- Iver Trask 1983–89
Mayors of Kāpiti Coast District Council, 1989–current day
- Iver Trask 1989–92
- Brett Ambler 1992–98
- Iride McCloy 1998–2001
- Alan Milne 2001–07
- Jenny Rowan 2007–13
- Ross Church 2013–16
- K Gurunathan 2016–22
- Janet Holborow 2022–current day
The Ōtaki Historical Society has been producing the Ōtaki Historical Journal since 1978, providing a valuable resource for those interested in Ōtaki's history. Issues 1-44 are available at the libraries. They can also be purchased from the Ōtaki Historical Society. In 2012, the society produced an index packed with more than 400 pages of references to journal articles. The index is available in hardcopy and PDF format on Ōtaki Historical Society website.
Throughout the year, Memory Sessions are held at Ōtaki Library. These are usually held on the first Thursday of the month. These informal sessions are a chance for local people to share stories, ask questions or just sit back and listen. A different starter topic is explored each month. Guest speakers are also invited for special sessions. Topics covered so far include:
- Expressway Archaeology
- The Art of Tattoo
- The War When We Were Young – ANZAC special
- Shops in Otaki Township
- Tōku Whare – Ōtaki Houses
- Down the Railway
- Hoofing it – A History of Horses in Ōtaki
- How Does Your Garden Grow? Otaki Gardens
- Down the Beach – memories of Ōtaki Beach
- Notes on Ōtaki Hotels – dates and publicans
- Eating out Ōtaki
- Library Lovers Month.