Māori chief Te Rauparaha established a base on Kapiti Island, and from this position, he was able to launch attacks on other tribes during the Musket Wars of the early 19th century. Around this time, Europeans began whaling in the area, and on 16 October 1839, William Wakefield of the New Zealand Company arrived in the Kapiti region to purchase land for permanent European settlement. Te Rauparaha sold him land in the Nelson and Golden Bay area.
European settlement of the Kapiti Coast only took place on a significant scale after the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company (WMR) opened its railway line from Wellington to Longburn, just south of Palmerston North. The line was opened in 1886, with the final spike driven in on the Kapiti Coast at Otaihanga. Paekakariki was quickly established as a significant steam locomotive depot due to the need to swap locomotives at the location; powerful, heavy locomotives were required to handle trains over the rugged section from Wellington to Paekakariki, while lighter, faster locomotives were more suited to the relatively flat terrain north of Paekakariki. In 1908, the WMR was purchased by the New Zealand Railways Department, who incorporated the line into the North Island Main Trunk Railway.
Recently, the Kapiti Coast has seen a significant population surge and is one of New Zealand's fastest growing areas. This has led to considerable growth and created opportunities for people looking to move into the region. One hour from Wellington many Kapiti residents travel to work either by a regular train service or via their own transport.
The jewel of the Kapiti "Kapiti Island" Photo credit Bob Kattenberg
See more of Bob's stunning photography and find out more about the Kapiti Coast @ KapitiNow
This is a region you must visit when planning your trip to Wellington. You can be on the Kapiti Coast in less than an hour from Wellington Airport.