Welcome to Petone


COVID-19: The Petone Settlers Museum is closed at Alert Level 3. Find out more

To keep up-to-date on what’s going on at Petone Settlers Museum visit our Events page for all of our upcoming events.

Sitting on the shores of Wellington’s ever-changing harbour, the Petone Settlers Museum Te Whare Whakaaro o Pito-one occupies one of New Zealand’s most significant memorial buildings—the Wellington Provincial Centennial Memorial. This memorial was built to commemorate the arrival of the first British immigrants to Pito-one’s shores in 1840. It was officially opened on the 22nd of January 1940, and, serving also as a bathing pavilion, it became the heart of Petone’s thriving beach scene.

Today, the building hosts our museum where we collect, care for and share our shared social history. On a visit to our whare you can learn about Honiana Te Puni-kokopu and, Te Wharepouri, significant chiefs who presided over this area in the 1800s, and experience the conditions that European settlers endured to get to Petone’s shore in 1940, in our replica of a ship’s steerage cabin.

You can also explore the far reaching impacts of industrialization, and the ever increasing pace of cultural change with stories about local factories, Bodgies and Widgies and local entrepreneur and fashion label Deryn Schmidt.

This year, we opened Enter The Hatmosphere, a celebration of the 145th anniversary of local Petone company Hills Hats. Discover a world of wonderful hats and hat-makers, and peek behind the scenes at the factory.

We are happily wheelchair accessible, including our bathroom.
Come for a visit, we’ve love to share some stories with you at our museum by the sea.

LOWERHUTT, NEW ZEALAND - May 29: Petone Settlers Museum Re-dedication Day May 29, 2016 in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum/ http://www.huttcity.govt.nz/)

Photo: Mark Tantrum


The Petone Settlers Museum receives core funding from Hutt City Council and is operated alongside The Dowse Art Museum. By providing museums the Council enables people to freely access arts and cultural facilities that enrich, inspire and offer a range of lifelong learning opportunities. The museums act as a focal point for the community, enhance cultural life and diversity, and promote civic pride and community values.

Update, 21 November 2019: Petone Settlers Museum has been evaluated at 70% of the New Building Standard and is longer classified as an earthquake prone building.