The first European settlers to arrive by ship into Wellington landed at Petone beach on 22 January 1840.
The Petone Settlers Museum was established to recognise this great achievement and celebrate and record the region’s migration, settlement and cultural diversity. A memorial commemorating the first European landing sits adjacent to the museum.
The Wellington Centennial Memorial Building, built originally as a bathing pavilion, houses the Petone Settlers Museum and is sited proudly next to the Petone Foreshore overlooking the waters which first brought the European settlers to Wellington
This social history museum works in partnership with the community providing programmes and experiences based on settler stories and family histories of the Hutt Valley. And for family history researchers, the museum has a database of passenger arrivals in Wellington harbour from 1839 to 1897.
Closed Mondays and Christmas Day.
A New Land Exhibition
On 22 January 1840, the Aurora sailed into Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington Harbour) with the first party of New Zealand Company settlers. Why did people come to this mysterious, distant land? What did they expect and what did they find?
The museum's highly popular audio-visual presentation, 'A New Land, A New Hope, A New People', has been upgraded and now forms part of the west wing displays on migration and settlement. This fascinating programme tells the story of the first organised European settlement by the New Zealand Company; the first impressions of the settlers; the Maori landscape into which they arrived; relations with the Maori and the settlers' own accounts of their early experiences.
This is accompanied by some of the objects from their daily lives and images of the changing face of Petone, where the settlers first experienced a new land and a new life.