Wellington Harbour's taniwha – Roadside Stories

A Manatū Taonga audio guide to Wellington Harbour.

Check out the Ministry for Culture and Heritage's audio guide to Wellington Harbour in the Video tab.

Wellington’s wind-buffeted airport is on land uplifted from the sea by earthquakes. In Māori tradition, the harbour was once a lake occupied by two taniwha (supernatural creatures). One of the taniwha created the harbour entrance by breaking out to the open sea. Polynesian navigator Kupe is also believed to have visited Wellington Harbour.

Wellington Harbour

Historic earthquakes

Taniwha of the sea


Islands in Wellington Harbour

Prisoners of war on Somes Island

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