Our heritage

Porirua City is steeped in history. The great Polynesian explorer Kupe was the first human to see Porirua.

The anchor stone from Kupe's canoe rested at Ngāti Toa domain for decades (you can now see it at Te Papa). In fact, Kupe is responsible for naming many of our great sites including Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour, Mana Island, and Komanga Point. 

Archaeologists have established that people lived in the Porirua area as far back as 1450AD with Ngāti Tara, Ngāti Ira, and later Ngāti Toa settling in the area. Captain Cook went on to map the harbour during his journey around New Zealand in 1769 and in 1832 a trading station was set up in Mana Island for European whalers passing through the Cook Strait. 

From the early 1800s the area became populated with European settlers trading with Ngāti Toa and the growth and development has continued through to today with Porirua City now a vibrant multicultural community populated with around 55,400 people. 

If you’re keen for more information about our impressive history we suggest you add Pātaka Art + Museum to your itinerary of Porirua City, visit the library heritage section, and check out this video, giving you a detailed view of our development.