Living on the Kapiti Coast

Paulane Mclean Licensed under REAA 2008

The History of the Coast

Two hundred million years ago, gigantic earthquakes moulded the Kapiti and Horowhenua landscape, creating a magical place. A ten kilometre long piece of rock split off from the Tararua Ranges, which link both districts, and became Kapiti Island. Five kilometres from the mainland in the Tasman Sea, the island now protects a collection of small settlements from the westerly gales.

Maori tradition tells of Kupe, the legendary explorer who reached New Zealand around 1,000 years ago, and is said to have created Kapiti and Mana Islands with a single blow of his mighty patu (club). Now, the iwis (tribes) of Te Ati Awa ki Whakarongotai, Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Toa Rangatira and Muaupoko, along with all our communities, are the tangata whenua (people of the land) of this spectacular landscape and its warm climate.

To the south, urban areas are nestled between sand dunes and forest. To the north, rich soils make market gardening, horticulture and farming the mainstays of the economy.

The region has a population of more than 80,000 people.


Approximately just 50 minutes drive north of Wellington City.


Paraparaumu, on a reliable river, perfectly sheltered from the stormy west by Kapiti Island, and resting against the mountain range, an attractive place to live. A mixture of traditional , older and  new homes. Paraparaumu is famous for its fabulous natural beach promenade, some great cafes, a revamped national airport located in the middle of the town, some of NZ’s top retirement village complexes, an internationally known golf course, superb lawn bowling, Kapiti Cheeses and Ice-cream, Coastlands Shopping town, Southward’s Car Museum, and the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes with its illuminated halo


Waikanae is one of the prettiest towns in New Zealand in its setting of river, bush, mountain and beach. A place for families to live with riding, fishing, Mahara Gallery, kiwis at Nga Manu Nature Reserve. Lots of excellent cafés. If sport is your fancy, bowling (visitors welcome), golf, tennis, swimming or boating are among those on offer. Garden enthusiasts will find exquisite gardens to visit. All within view of the guardian spirit of Kapiti Island. Waikanae is Waikanae consists of four areas: the garden area, the beach, the village adjoining Hemi Matenga and Reikorangi hills. Waikanae’s township and surrounding area is most noted for its beautiful beach and river mouth. The local nature reserve provides a unique opportunity to learn about the natural history of New Zealand. Wonderful views of Kapiti Island and ever-changing sunsets are found at Waikanae Beach. 


Otaki is one of New Zealand’s oldest urban settlements and the pre-eminent historic place in the Kapiti district. It has been, is and always will be a celebration of MaoritangaOtaki is the home of Te Wananga O Raukawa (TWOR), unique university campus established in 1981 by a confederation of the three tribes. It now (2000) boasts 900 students and is growing steadily. Excellent shopping and affordable housing