The Luminaries

Eleanor Catton has put Hokitika on the map - literally. Her 2013 Man Booker Prize Winning novel The Luminaries is set in Hokitika during the gold rush of 1866. It is a rip-roaring whodunit a features many places in the Hokitika area that are still there today. 

We know book lovers want to experience The Luminaries in present day Hokitika. And we promise...we are working it! However, good things take time. So watch this space. But in the meantime, here are some ideas of how you can experience the Hokitika in The Luminaries yourself. 

Experience the History of the Gold Rush

Experience gold rush times yourself with some of the suggestions below. 

  • Visit the Hokitika Museum or Ross Information Centre for details of life during the gold rush.
  • Take a personal guided tour with a historical local legend - visit the Hokitika iSite or Museum for details. 
  • Do one of the many easy walks in the Hokitika area. Many feature gold relics and interpretation panels to bring the gold rush to life.
  • Visit the Hokitika cemetery up at Seaview, overlooking the Tasman Sea. This is the location of the prison in the book. Many early pioneers are buried here. 
  • Visit other locations mentioned in the book including Kumara, Kaniere, the Hokitika Gorge, Hokitika River and Hokitika township. 

Social Media Items

See what others have done to experience The Luminaries' Hokitika. 

  • Read one traveller's blog. Great detail of locations with excerpt's from the book. 
  • Interview of Eleanor Catton on TVNZ Sunday programme. View it here.
  • Seven Sharp TVNZ have recently done some news coverage on Hokitika and the Luminaries. View it here
  • TVNZ recent coverage of Eleanor Catton's visit to Hokitika. View it here
  • An article discovering links between fictional characters' names and real Hokitika people from that time.  
  • A personal account of a descendant's family settling in Hokitika during the 1860s. 


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