wellington harbour

Wellington Harbour N. Zealand (between 1847 and 1860) by Charles Emilius Gold, (A-288-030) Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand – Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa

Seagarden grows on the site of Oruaiti pa, an old stockaded village occupied from Maori and pre-Maori times. From Te Ara o nga Tupuna(The path of our ancestors):

The pa was nestled into the hill (Fort Dorset) and looked out at Te Aroaro-o-Kupe (Steeple Rock). The flat area adjacent to Oruaiti and below Whetu Kairangi is Marae-nui (where Kupe left his followers to grow provisions). This was an important cultivation area for all the people nearby, which was increased in area and significance by the Hao-whenua earthquake of approximately 1460. Thus the actual landing place of Kupe, Te Turanga-o-Kupe, was much closer to the base of the hill – where the foreshore would have been before the earthquake.

This site was not only used in pre-European times to watch for enemy entry into Wellington Harbour, but also during World War II when threat of attack was a real possibility.

O-rua-iti means “place of the small pit” where kumara and potatoes were stored. The Rua potato possibly got its name from this site.


View of part of Seatoun, Wellington, taken from above. Ref No. 1/2-045436; G
Alexander Turnbull library, National Library of New Zealand – Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa.

In 1908, the site was used to build Fort Dorset, a coastal battery. “Between the two World Wars the defence was permanently manned, but afterwards staff were greatly reduced, and in the early ’60s the guns were removed for scrap. Up until its official closure in 1991, the Fort provided accommodation for military personnel.” (from The Great Harbour Way.)

Middle Earth

Bree Street from the film
During the filming of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Seagarden was the location of the village of Bree, the first destination for the hobbits after leaving the Shire. Bree was a gathering place for men, hobbits, and other travelers from the far-off lands, particularly at the the Prancing Pony Inn.



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