Mt Victoria is constantly changing. On the one hand, a high-percentage of its residents (approx. 60% in 2021) rent their homes and are relatively briefly passing through. On the other hand, there are residents who have lived here for many years and observed the life of the suburb changing around them over time.
The stories presented here were part of an exhibition Mt Victoria Historical Society mounted in 2007, to share some of the rich material gathered in its 2006 tenth-anniversary oral history project.
The project aimed to capture for posterity stories of some of the people who have lived in this unique inner-city suburb.
All the individuals we interviewed had lived in Mt Victoria for more than twenty years. Each has a different experience of life in the suburb. They also had some similar ones, however: noting the loss of little shops peppering the streets, marrying and living in parents’ homes, taking trams. All shared a love of walking, the Town Belt and Mt Victoria sun.
There’s a strong thread of community involvement and creativity running through all their lives and, above all, a passion for Mt Victoria.
The text is distilled from interviews of sometimes several hours. A photography student at Massey University, later turned professional, captured the essence of our participants in their home surroundings. In addition to generously giving their time to share their thoughts and experiences, participants also shared photographs of their earlier lives.
Texts have been left in the present tense, to convey the sense of immediacy captured in the interviews, although sadly some of our interviewees are now no longer with us.
Held at Toi Poneke Gallery, Abel Smith Street, Wellington, 2007
Curated by Joanna Newman
Photographs by Sarah Burton
Based on oral history interviews by Megan Cook, Jane Tolerton and Joanna Newman
Sponsors: The Community Trust of Wellington, Mt Victoria Residents’ Association, Just Paterson Real Estate Ltd