Every town and settlement in New Zealand has its history. Together, they form the story of our people, of Maori and Pakeha. In Katikati you can see that history every day, not in a gallery or a museum, but by walking down the main street.
The region’s first settlers were early Maori voyagers, first Ngaiterangi and then Ngati Ranginui. Their descendants still live in the three marae of Te Rereatukahia, Tahawai and Otawhiwhi.
In 1875 George Vesey Stewart brought the first party of Irish settlers to Katikati, the only planned Ulster settlement in the world. 34 families cleared the land, planted crops, and built their homes. A second party arrived in 1878, giving a total of 600 settlers.
In 1990, at a time when Katikati was facing an economic downturn, a group of volunteers decided to lift the spirits of the local community and to attact visitors by painting our unique history on the walls of the town. Thus, Katikati Open-Air Art Inc. was formed, and is responsible for the many murals, sculptures, carvings and weaving you will discover as you explore this website.
Enjoy the story of our town and district as shown in these works of open-air art, and then be sure to come and visit.