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Stop 1 Introduction: Discover Historic Petone

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274b Jackson Street, Information Centre

Pito-one was a fine place for Maori to hunt or fish but exposed to southerly storms and inconvenient habitation. Yet here was where the New Zealand Company chose to establish the first settlement.

According to Susan Butterworth “The unrivalled harbour and the desire of Maori for European settlement were paramount considerations” even though Colonel William Wakefield was charged with purchasing 110,000 acres – well beyond what a fully cleared Hutt Valley could provide.

The result was a series of firsts on Petone Beach: the first Wellington area church service; the first bank in New Zealand, the Union Bank of Australia, which opened on 24 March 1840; the first horse race meeting in New Zealand. The first New Zealand newspaper, The New Zealand Gazette, was also printed nearby at Britannia on 18 April 1840.

Compiled by the Petone Historical Society, this Discover Petone guide offers you a trail to walk, cycle or drive around and the opportunity to discover the national significance of Petone as well as some local treasures.

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