City-end Karori from Wrights Hill summit
|Local authority||Wellington City|
|Land area||1,726 ha|
|Population||14,736  (2013)|
Karori is a suburb located at the western edge of the urban area of Wellington, New Zealand, 4 km from the city centre and is one of New Zealand's biggest suburbs having a population of over 14,000 at the time of the 2013 census.
The area was uninhabited by Māori when the first European settlers came to Karori in the 1840s, having bought the land from the New Zealand Company. The first settler in Karori was John Yule of Glasgow, who cleared 20 acres of forest on his section with his younger brother Moses and advertised its sale in December 1841.:9 By 1845, ten 100-acre sections were being taken up and sub-divided and Karori recorded 215 inhabitants - 109 of them under the age of 14 years old.:11
A small fortified post was constructed in 1845 by a group of armed police from Wellington that became known as “The Stockade” in response to fears of attacks from nearby Māori insurgents. While there were no attacks, the stockade was used for a church service and was used to grind grain.:15
The first mental hospital in Wellington was built in 1854.:17 By 1871 it had 23 inmates and was run by untrained staff which resulted in the first matron and her husband being dismissed in 1872 because of cruelty. In 1873 the asylum was moved from Karori to the site of present day Government House. The asylum site was taken over by Karori school in 1875.:23
Kaori in the 1850s was described by Frederick Mackie in his book "Traveller under concern":
- "The walk was highly romantic. The road is cut out of the sides of steep hills covered with forest. The ever-winding road, the steep declivities, the forest above and below you, and the continual murmur of streams concealed in the depths below were very pleasing, as every few yards a new scene and fresh objects were brought to view. In one spot I obtained a view of the harbour, which today was like a bright glassy lake, and beyond it were the lofty ranges of the snow-clad Rimutaka and Tararuas, partly glistening in the sun and partly shrouded in cloud."
Karori experienced a gold rush when the valley of the Upper Kaiwharawhara Stream was subject to intensive gold mining activity between 1869 and 1873. This activity eventually led to the building of the lower Karori Dam in 1873. At the height of the rush, there were about 200 men working the claims, and shafts and drives up to 500 feet in length were driven into the hills.:29
In 1888, section 34, which was the closest to town running from present day Ponsonby Road to Cooper Street, was purchased by a syndicate and prepared for sale by building roads and naming them after the members of the syndicate and their families. A marketing campaign was run, including free buses from Manners Street and poems written:
- "In far-famed New Zealand, the evergreen free land
- Most favoured and beautiful Queen of the wave,
- Where the sun ever smiling, bad weather beguiling,
- Brightly shines on the face of the honest and brave.
- Tho' for Europe's bold races there are plenty of places
- Adapted as homes for the great and the small,
- Yet, for onward progressing and bountiful blessing
- There is one whose position is far before all.
- So haste where kind Nature's arrayed in her glory,
- To pleasant, romantic, suburban Karori.":30–31
Both Wellington and Karori expanded towards each other, the two urban areas becoming gradually connected, aided by the construction of the Karori tunnel in 1901, and the Borough of Karori was amalgamated into the City of Wellington in 1920.
Parks and reserves
Karori Park, on Karori Road features a football and cricket sports ground, all-weather track, changing rooms and play area.
Ben Burn Park, on Campbell Street features a football and cricket sports ground, changing rooms, athletics, play area and artificial cricket surfaces.
Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park in south Karori has 32 km of mountain bike and walking tracks built by the mountain biking community and is recognised as a world-class area dedicated to mountain biking.
The centre of Karori contains a shopping mall, café, and other amenities.
Karori Library first opened in the 1840s, operating out of the community hall at the site of the present day library on Karori Road. In November 2005, the current two level library and cafe was opened.
Churches and cemeteries
Karori Cemetery is the second largest and second oldest cemetery in New Zealand. Opened in 1891, it replaced the cemetery at Bolton Street as the main burial ground for the inhabitants of Wellington. It covers 100 acres / 40 hectares. The Small Chapel contains excellent stained glass windows designed by Wilhelmina Geddes. The cemetery contains the war graves of 267 Commonwealth service personnel of World War I and 123 of World War II, in separate plots for each war, the plots being linked by the Wellington Provincial Memorial (in the form of a marble archway) which commemorates 65 World War I and 20 World War II military personnel from the Wellington Military District who died abroad and have no known grave (most were buried at sea). Karori Cemetery "closed" in 1965 for the establishment of new burial plots but interments in established graves continues.
Futuna Chapel, built in 1961 by the Society of Mary, was awarded New Zealand Institute of Architects Gold medal for best building in 1968. The chapel was deconsecrated in 2000 and was sold to a property developer who planned to clear the section for residential development. The building was saved when it was listed as a heritage building and is being restored by a Charitable Trust.
Other churches in Karori include:
- Karori Anglican Church
- Karori Baptist Church
- St Anne's Anglican Church
- Catholic Church St Theresa
- St Anselms Union Church
- St Ninians Uniting
- St Mary's Anglican Church.
The full length of Karori Road is served by the Karori Park trolley bus route, which replaced the former tram service in 1954. For many years vehicles ran as route 12 to Courtenay Place, but are now designated as route 3 and through-routed to and from Lyall Bay via the city. The weekday 10-minute service is the most-frequent of all Wellington routes.
School enrollment zone
There are three primary schools in Karori.
Karori Normal School is a decile 10 full primary state school in Donald Street which serves the eastern and central part of the suburb. It was founded in 1857 and is the second largest full primary school in New Zealand with a roll of 745 in 2014. It has an artificial turf, two playgrounds, 34 classrooms in approximately four buildings, a concrete field, and a grass field. Students from Year 1-8 attend. The author Katherine Mansfield attended the school from 1895–98 and there is a memorial to her at the school on a concrete field called the Katherine Mansfield field, located in front of a tree she wrote about in one of her stories.
There are a number of preschool education providers in Kaori, including:
- Karori Kindercare
- Donald Street Preschool 
- Karori Kids Preschool
- Karori Childcare Centre
- St Mary’s Early Childhood Education Centre
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Karori.|
- "Community Profile: Karori".
- Jago, Francesca (16 December 2014). "Let's live in... Karori". Stuff. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Maclean, Chris. "Story: Wellington places - Page 4 – Western suburbs". Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Brodie, J (1973). "The Stockade Vol. 1 No. 1". Karori Historical Society. p. 3. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Dekker, Diana (30 July 2011). "Conquering Karori". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- Patrick, Margaret (1990). From Bush to Suburb, Karori 1840-1980. The Karori Historical Society (Inc).
- Mackie, Frederick (1973). Traveller under concern: the Quaker journals of Frederick Mackie on his tour of the Australasian colonies, 1852-1855. University of Tasmania. p. 119. ISBN 0859010074.
- Brodie, James (1997). The Karori Gold Rush 1869-1873. The Karori Historical Society (Inc). ISBN 0-473-04773-X.
- Rutherford, Rebecca (19 July 2013). "Early access to the Western hills". The Wellingtonian. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Karori". Wellington Local History. Wellington City Libraries. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- "Zealandia". Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Sportsgrounds Locations". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Wrights Hill". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park". Wellington City Council. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "About Karori Library". Wellington City Libraries. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Wellington Provincial Memorial". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Futuna Chapel Special" (PDF). Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "Karori's hidden treasure". The Dominion Post. 12 March 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "Karori Anglican Church". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "Karori Baptist Church". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "St Anne's Anglican Church". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "Catholic Church St Theresa". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "St Anselms Union Church". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "St Ninians Uniting". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "St Mary's Anglican Church". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "eLearning Schools Search". Ministry of Education.
- "Karori campus". Victoria University of Wellington. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Student Rolls by School 2010-2014". Ministry of Education New Zealand. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Katherine Mansfield's Timeline". Katherine Mansfield Society. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Karori Kindercare". Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Donald Street Preschool". Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Karori Kids Preschool". Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Karori Childcare Centre". Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "St Mary’s Early Childhood Education Centre". Retrieved 15 March 2015.