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Public reading room

Interested in finding out more about people and places in Ōtaki? Come into the museum's Anne Thorpe Reading Room and browse our archives: photos, oral histories, books, Historical Journals and more.

Current journal


The 2023 volume of the long-running Ōtaki Historical Journal was launched recently at the Ōtaki Museum. The journal covers an interesting variety of topics, beginning with the archaeology of the Peka Peka to Ōtaki expressway which uncovered Ngāi Tara artefacts from the 1500s. There are also articles about the soldier settlement farms at Te Horo after World War 1, an entrepreneur in the early 20th century and the development of the Sunny Ōtaki brand name. An in-depth look at white baiting continues our focus on the Ōtaki River along with an overview of the flooding the area has experienced. Three local community organisations concerned with history come under the microscope in this volume and we look at some of the ways our town is changing around us. We also acknowledge the lives of many of those who contributed so much to Ōtaki.

The latest journal (volume 44) is available. You can order via the link below.

You can also buy it at these local outlets: Ōtaki Museum, Ōtaki Postshop and the Ōtaki Bookshop (all in the town area) and at Books & Co at Ōtaki Railway.

Postage and packaging

Within Aotearoa New Zealand: $5 per journal.

Please contact us for overseas postage rates.

To pay for a journal

Transfer the cost of the journal and postage via internet banking to Ōtaki Heritage ‒ Te Whare Pouhere Taonga o Ōtaki, account number 38-9000-0293764-03

Please include your name and the volume/s you want to buy.


Prices for earlier issues

Vol 01 – 39: $10     (1978 -2016)

Vol 40 – 44: $20     (2018 -2022)

All journals are available electronically as pdfs: $10 each.

Background and scope of the journals

An issue of the Historical Journal was published by the Ōtaki Historical Society almost every year from 1978.


The primary area covered by the journals is the Otaki region. However, there are also articles about the rich history of the broader region, stretching from the mouth of the Rangītikei River in the north to Paekākariki in the south, and to the Tararua Range in the east.

The broad scope of topics covered has created a resource that is useful to current and former residents of the region, to local history researchers, as well as to students and family historians.

In 2023 the Historical Society amalgamated with the Ōtaki Heritage Bank Preservation Trust (known as the Ōtaki Museum) to form a new organisation, Ōtaki Heritage ‒ Te Whare Pouhere Taonga o Ōtaki.

Comprehensive journal index

The index to the journals is in two parts:​

Part 1 covers volumes 1-40

Part 2 covers volume 41-44

You can download a copy by clicking on the buttons below. 

Structure of the index

The entries in the index are in alphabetical order with sub-entries to help you find specific information.


The location of the information relating to the entry follows each sub-entry. For example, the article by Hugh T. Jones is on page 55 of volume 27.

Jones, Hugh T.

'V.J. Day – Far from Otaki' 27:55

There are references that alert you to look under a different entry. For example,

Colenso, Frances see Simcox, Frances Mary (Fanny) (née Colenso)

There are also references that alert you to other entries that may be of interest. For example:

Otaki Theatre

see also Cosy Theatre

Searching the index

The index is an Adobe Reader PDF file.  You can search it in many ways.

  1. Find
    You can right-click on your mouse and choose 'Find' from the menu or click Ctrl + F
    or choose 'Find' from the drop-down 'Edit' menu at the top.

  2. Full Acrobat search
    Click on the down arr
    or choose 'Advanced Search' from the drop-down 'Edit' menu at the top.

  3. Bookmarks - the most effective way for browsing Open the bookmark panel by clicking on the bookmark icon on the left of the screen (the second of the four icons).  Clicking on a letter takes you to the beginning of the alphabetic sequence for entries beginning with that letter in the index.  You can then browse the index, using either the scroll bar on the right of the screen or the scroll bar on your mouse.  


A comprehensive collection of books about the history of Ōtaki and the Kapiti Coast.

Oral histories

These are the Oral Histories we have as of October 2023. This is an ongoing project and further histories are still being recorded.     


Ames, Neale | Arcus, Ian | Arcus, Carol | Bayliss, Len | Blackburn, Ynys | Bothamley, Shirley | Carlyon, Paul | Corlett, Bruce | Davis, Margaret | Foster, Dave | Gibson, Sam | Gimblett, Ted | Griffin, John | Hoggard, Lorraine | Housiaux, John | Housiaux, Jordan | Housiaux, Peter | Lahmert, Jackie | Long, Margaret | Lutz, Carl | Mackle, Irene | Mansell, Barry | Manz, Arthur | McFedries, Lyn | McFedries, Napier | Moffatt, Joan | Moffatt, Ray | Pretty, Ruth | Richmond, Jock | Robertson, Janet | Robertson, Ivan | Robertson, Grant | Royal, Jeremy | Royal, Manihira | Scott, Barbara | Scott, Murray | Sharp, Pat | 
Swabey, Barbara | Te Aomarere, Kiripuai | Walker, Joseph | Walker, Joyce | Williamson, Frank | Wylie, Trevor | Chung, Dow | Gow, Jim Joe | Moy, Charman | Young, Kee Sue | Yung, Jack Mun | Yung, Jack Koon | Yung, Andrew.

What's in previous Journals?

To discover the contents of our previously published journals click on one of the covers below:

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