Public Meeting 
Rotary Hall. Aotaki St. Otaki.
3 December 2019: 7.30 pm

Our 41st journal will be launched at this meeting. Our editor Sarah Maclean, together with the many contributors, the hard-working committee and designer Lynn Peck has produced another excellent issue. Once again, the journal contains many historical and more recent articles, memories and facts pertaining to Otaki and surrounding districts.

Our meeting will follow a relatively informal format with several contributors and our editor available to share research experiences. further material and photographs and information with those interested in a particular topic.

A festive supper will be served during the evening.

All Welcome


December Public Meeting

Otaki Museum is a small local museum housed in the restored 1918 BNZ building at 49 Main street, Otaki. The story of our town and its people are told through a changing programme of exhibitions. The museum is open 10am-2pm, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free. Please contact the museum 06 364 6886 to arrange group viewings.

More information about the museum and its programme of exhibitions can now be viewed at  

Otaki Museum

Otaki Historical Journals

The Otaki Historical Society exists to foster an interest in Otaki’s history. This is achieved mainly by publishing the annual Otaki Historical Journal, which records the town’s history through researched and contributed articles that include personal and family memoirs; researched articles about aspects of Otaki history; reprints of relevant extracts from magazines, books or historical documents; and occasionally personal opinion.


Our popular Journal Index has been updated with the entries from issue 40.

Use the index to check if your research topics or family names have been covered in one of our 40 issues. Follow up your findings in your journals or contact the society to purchase the relevant issue or article. 

Click here to use the index.

40 Years of History

Kia ora

In 1978, the editor of the first journal, Gordon Dempsey, wrote 'The Otaki Historical Society has much pleasure in presenting to the public the first Volume of its Historical Journal. It does so in the hope that … its contents [will] stimulate an interest in the Maori and Pakeha history of the district …’. Forty years on, the journal continues to foster that interest.

In this year’s issue we learn about the extensive gardens of Ngati Raukawa which now lie under our feet, our homes and our roads. This history is even more important as the new expressway reshapes our landscape once again. We also hear the story of a local artist whose modelling skills were good enough to fool Wellington bureaucrats in World War Two.

There are stories of public and private issues facing nineteenth century women both in childbirth and the struggle for the vote. You can read the tale of a visit by a 1920s celebrity, the story behind the health camp rotunda and advice on how to research family lineage and whakapapa. Locals also describe their memories which include primary school outings, staying at the health camp, work in a family restaurant and holidays at Otaki Beach.

The anniversaries of local organisations focus attention on our history and this year we celebrate the achievements of the Otaki Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Otaki Scholar and the Hawaikinui Tuarua Waka Ama Club.

The journal is sent to many areas of New Zealand including private homes and public and university libraries. A copy is ordered by Harvard University in the USA and we send them to Australia and Singapore too. Families also buy the journal to send to other family members overseas. In these days of soundbites and Twitter, some may say ‘Who cares?’ Our distribution shows how many people do care, all over the world.

Sarah Maclean, Editor​

Join the Otaki Historical Society by becoming a member. 

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A collection of stories about past events and items of interest. 

The photo gallery includes some of the historical images in our collection.

View the gallery


Otaki Historical Society, P O Box 50, Otaki 5512