Main Births etc
Whangārei-terenga-parāoa (Māori)
—  Regional City  —
Whangarei view from parahki.JPG
Whangarei Harbour from Mt. Parihaka with the suburbs of Onerahi, Sherwood Rise, Parihaka and Port Whangarei in view.
Nickname(s): Whangas, Dub City, The Rei
Motto: Love It Here, City of 100 Beaches

New Zealand location map
Disc Plain red.svg
Coordinates: 35°43′30″S 174°19′25″E / -35.725, 174.32361Coordinates: 35°43′30″S 174°19′25″E / -35.725, 174.32361
Country Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand
Region Northland
Territorial Authority Whangarei District
Pre 1989 Whangarei County
Named for Reipae, southern Maori princess
Seat Whangārei Central
 • Mayor Morris Cutforth
Population (June 2012 estimate)[1]
 • Urban 52,500
Time zone NZST (UTC+12)
 • Summer (DST) NZDT (UTC+13)
Postcode 0110, 0112 (urban)
Area code(s) 09

Whangarei ( /ˌfɒŋəˈr/; Māori: [faŋaˈɾɛi]) is the northernmost city in New Zealand and the regional capital of Northland Region. It is part of the Whangarei District, a local body created in 1989 to administer both the city proper and its hinterland. The district was created from the former Whangarei City, Whangarei County and Hikurangi Town councils. The population was estimated to be 52,500 at the June 2012 estimate,[1] up from 47,000 in 2001.

The Whangarei urban area is spread throughout several ranges with the northern suburbs of Kamo, Springs Flat, Tikipunga, Three Mile Bush, Otangarei, Mairtown, Regent, Kensington, and Whau Valley lying to the north of the city. Suburbs south and west of the town centre include Morningside, Raumanga, Maunu, Horahora, Woodhill, Vinetown, and the Avenues. Eastern suburbs are Riverside, Sherwood Rise, Onerahi, and Parihaka.


Captain James Cook and the crew of the Endeavour were the first Europeans to contemplate the Whangarei Harbour entrance. On 15 November 1769 they caught about one hundred fish there which they classified as 'bream' (probably snapper) prompting Cook to name the area Bream Bay.[2]

The Māori iwi Ngāpuhi occupied Whangarei from the early 19th century, and the Te Parawhau hapū lived at the head of the harbour. In the 1820s the area was repeatedly attacked by Waikato and Ngāti Paoa raiders during the Musket Wars.[3]

The first European settler was William Carruth, a Scotsman and trader who arrived in 1839 and was joined, six years later, by Gilbert Mair and his family. For the most part, relations between the settlers and local Māori were friendly, but in February 1842, all settler farms were plundered in revenge for transgressions of tapu. In April 1845, during the Flagstaff War, all settlers fled from Whangarei.[4] Most of the original settlers never returned, but by the mid-1850s there were a number of farmers and orchardists in the area. From 1855, a small town developed, driven by the kauri gum trade. Today's 'Town Basin' on the Hātea River was the original port and early exports included kauri gum and native timber followed later by coal from Whau Valley, Kamo and Hikurangi. Coal from the Kiripaka field was exported via the Ngunguru River. By 1864, the nucleus of the present city was established.[5]

Fire bricks made from fire clay deposits near the Kamo mines supported a brick works over several decades. Good quality limestone was quarried at Hikurangi, Portland, and Limestone Island, and initially sold as agricultural lime and later combined with local coal to produce Portland cement at the settlement of Portland on the south side of the harbour. Local limestone is still used in cement manufacture but the coal is now imported from the West Coast of the South Island.

Whangarei was the most urbanised area in Northland towards the end of the 19th century, but grew slowly in the 20th century. The district slowly exhausted most of its natural resources but was sustained by agriculture, especially dairying. Shipping was the main transport link until the North Auckland railway line reached the town in 1925, and the road from Auckland was not suitable for travel in poor weather until 1934.[6] These terrestrial travel routes forced a rapid decline in coastal shipping but stimulated Whangarei to become the service centre for Northland. The population was 14,000 in 1945, but grew rapidly in the 1960s, incorporating Kamo and other outlying areas. In 1964, Whangarei was declared a city. Its population the following year was 31,000.[7]

The second half of the twentieth century brought the establishment and expansion of the oil refinery at Marsden Point on Bream Bay and the adjacent development of timber processing. A container port could follow, linked by rail to Auckland.[8]


Whangarei panorama

Panorama of Whangarei from Parihaka

Mount ParihakaEdit

Whangarei Falls

Whangarei Falls

Mt Parihaka is a volcanic dome rising 241 m to the northeast of the city centre. It is about 20 million years old, and part of the Harbour Fault which also includes Parakiore near Kamo, and Hikurangi near the town of the same name.[9] The dome is surrounded by the Parihaka Scenic Reserve. There is road access to the summit of Parihaka, and walking tracks through the reserve.[10]

The dome is frequently called Mount Parahaki, but the original Māori spelling of Parihaka was confirmed by the government in 2005.[11]

Hātea RiverEdit

The Hātea River flows south through the city and empties into Whangarei Harbour. The river has a spectacular 26 m waterfall in Tikipunga, 6 km north of the city.[12]

Matakohe/Limestone IslandEdit

Matakohe, or Limestone Island, lies in the harbour close to the city. Owned by Whangarei District, it is subject to ecological island restoration by the Friends of Matakohe/Limestone Island Society. There is public access by boat usually at 11am, on a Sunday.


Whangarei falls in the oceanic climate zone. Summer days occasionally exceed 30°C, and there is plentiful rainfall spread relatively evenly over the year.

Climate data for Whangarei
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 24.4
Average low °C (°F) 15.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 90
Source: NIWA Climate Data[13]

Whangarei is roughly the antipodal point of Tangier, Morocco.


Whangarei is home to the Northland rugby union team, a professional side competing in the ITM Cup, the highest level of provincial rugby in New Zealand. They play out of Okara Park, the largest stadium in the region, which also hosted two matches during Rugby World Cup 2011.

The football (soccer) club North Force who compete in the Lotto Sport Italia NRFL Division 1 are based in Whangarei.

Whangarei's Field Hockey facility has hosted several international matches. Several hockey players from Northland have been selected for the Black Sticks Women since 2000.

The Whangarei Speedway attracts drivers from outside the Northlad region.

Northland is also represented at the highest national domestic level in Golf.

The Northland rugby league team, representing the Northland Region in New Zealand Rugby League competitions, is based in Whangarei. They currently compete in the Albert Baskerville Trophy as the Northern Swords. Between 2006 and 2007 they were part of the Bartercard Cup, playing under the name the Northern Storm. Northland was originally known as North Auckland and has previously used the nickname the Wild Boars.


Tertiary EducationEdit

NorthTec, with its main campus located in Whangarei's suburb of Raumanga, is the chief provider of tertiary education in New Zealand's Northland Region. This institution offers a number of degrees, diplomas and certificates in a wide variety of academic, professional and technical fields. Their degrees are nationally monitored for quality and so can lead to postgraduate study at universities and other institutions. The student body of NorthTec consists of around 23,000 students studying either part-time or full-time.

The University of Auckland maintains a campus in the city centre. There are also a number of private tertiary educational organisations, which provide technical and vocational training.


There are several schools which offer secondary schooling education within the urban area. Most suburbs have their own primary school.

Secondary SchoolsEdit

Whangarei Boys' High School, a boys' secondary school with a roll of 1060.[14]

Whangarei Girls' High School, a girls' secondary school with a roll of 1127.[15]

These two secondary schools have a decile rating of 5 and cover years 9-13. Both schools opened in 1881.[16][17]

Kamo High School, which accommodates years 9-13.

Tikipunga High School, which caters for years 7-13.

Both of these are co-educational secondary schools serving the northern suburbs.

Huanui College, a private secondary school just out of the urban area in Glenbervie.

Intermediate and primary schoolsEdit

There are two intermediate schools (years 7-8) in the urban area, several primary schools offer education from years 1-8.

Whangarei Intermediate is an intermediate (years 7-8) school with a roll of 639.[18] Kamo Intermediate, is a popular intermediate school serving the northern suburbs.

Primary schools in the urban area include,

Hurupaki School, Kamo Primary School, Totara Grove School (formerly Kamo East school), Tikipunga Primary School, Otangarei School, Whau Valley School, Whangarei School, a contributing primary (years 1-6) school with a roll of 577.,[19] Maunu School, Horahora School, Morningside School, Manaia View School (formerly Raumanga Primary and Raumanga Middle schools, amalgamated), Raurimu Avenue School, Onerahi School

Religious schoolsEdit

Pompallier Catholic College (opened in 1971) is a Catholic state integrated co-educational secondary school (years 7 to 13) with a roll of 560 and a decile ranking of 7, located in the suburb of Maunu. Only Catholic secondary school in Northland serving the wider district.

Saint Francis Xavier Catholic School, the city's Catholic primary school, located in the suburb of Whau Valley adjacent to the Catholic Parish.

Christian Renewal School is a composite (years 1-15) school with a roll of 151.[20] The school was established in 1993 and integrated into the state system in 1997. The school operates in the Christian Renewal Church buildings.[21]

Excellere College, a Christian school (years 1-13) located in the northern suburb of Springs Flat.

Special schoolEdit

Blomfield Special School and Resource Centre provides education and care to students between the ages of five and twenty-one years,[22] and has a roll of 68.[23] The school operates from five locations, four in Whangarei and one in Kaitaia.[24]


National Edit

Whangarei is within the Whangarei general electorate and the Te Tai Tokerau Maori electorate. As of 26 November 2011 the current MP of the Whangarei electorate is Phil Heatley of the National Party. The current MP of the Te Tai Tokerau electorate is Hone Harawira of the Mana Party.

Local Edit

At a local level Whangarei comes under the Northland Regional Council of which the town is the seat.

Whangarei is governed locally by the Whangarei District Council and the city is split into two council wards, Denby, which takes the northern suburbs and Okara, which takes the southern half of the city.

The Northland Police District covers Whangarei which is split into two areas, Whangarei/ Kaipara and Mid/ Far North. The District Headquarters are based at Walton Plaza in the city centre.

Judicially, the town is served by the Whangarei District Court and is also the base of the region's only High Court.


Whangarei Hospital (formerly Northland Base Hospital) is Northland DHB's largest and provides secondary specialist care to all of Northland and has 246 inpatient beds, it is based in the suburb of Maunu,

Kensington Hospital, opened in March 2001, provides a modern, private healthcare facility for the people of Northland.

Whangarei falls within the Northland District Health Board and the Manaia Primary Health Organisation.

Retail centresEdit

Whangarei serves as the primary destination for shopping within the region and has at least one of most nation-wide retail chains.

The town centre has the largest concentration of stores with the Cameron Street Mall and the Strand Arcade offering smaller stores as well as the nearby Tarewa Centre and Okara Shopping Centre providing big-box format stores.

There are several suburban shopping centres thoughout Whangarei in Kamo, Tikipunga, Kensington, Regent, Onerahi, Raumanga and Maunu.

Supermarkets include Countdown stores in Okara, Kensington and Tikipunga, New World stores in Onerahi and the Regent, a central Pak'n'Save as well as Four Square food markets in Kamo, Raumanga, Mairtown and Maunu.

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Subnational population estimates at 30 June 2012". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.  Also "Infoshare; Group: Population Estimates - DPE; Table: Estimated Resident Population for Urban Areas, at 30 June (1996+) (Annual-Jun)". Statistics New Zealand. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  2. ^ A. H. Reed (1968). Historic Northland. 
  3. ^ Pickmere, Nancy Preece (1986). Whangarei: The Founding Years. pp. 1–6. 
  4. ^ Pickmere, pp 20-46
  5. ^ Pickmere, pp 87-88
  6. ^ "Whāngārei City and environs". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 
  7. ^ "Whangarei". Bateman New Zealand Encyclopedia (4th edition ed.). 1995. p. 632. 
  8. ^ "Marsden Point - The Hype and The Reality". TelferYoung (Northland) Limited. June 2006. 
  9. ^ Bruce Hayward, Mike Isaac, Keith Miller and Bernhard Spörli (2002). "Introduction to Whangarei geology" (PDF). Geological Society of New Zealand. p. 27. 
  10. ^ Parkes, W. F. (1992). Guide to Whangarei City and District. p. 7. ISBN 0-473-01639-7. 
  11. ^ "Mount Parihaka name corrected". 19 July 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  12. ^ Parkes, p 11
  13. ^ "Climate Data". NIWA. June 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2007. 
  14. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi - Whangarei Boys High School". Ministry of Education. 
  15. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi - Whangarei Girls High School". Ministry of Education. 
  16. ^ "Whangarei Boys' High School -Our History". Whangarei Boys' High School. 
  17. ^ "Whangarei Girls' High". Whangarei Girls' High School. 
  18. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi - Whangarei Intermediate". Ministry of Education. 
  19. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi - Whangarei School". Ministry of Education. 
  20. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi - Christian Renewal School". Ministry of Education. 
  21. ^ "Supplementary Review Report: Christian Renewal School". Education Review Office. May 2005.\reppub.nsf/Institution/5479E079FDEDD817CC25701A0018D3EF/$File/1138.htm. 
  22. ^ "Education Review Report: Blomfield Special School and Resource Centre". Education Review Office. December 2007.\reppub.nsf/Institution/422D9D9A06EDBDFECC2573CD0011C5C8/$File/1007.htm. 
  23. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi - Blomfield Special School & Resource Centre". Ministry of Education. 
  24. ^ "Blomfield Special School - locations". Blomfield Special School. 
  25. ^ "Bio". Retrieved 2009-02-20. 

External linksEdit

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Whangarei. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.