Whangarei (/ˌfɒŋəˈreɪ/, or /ˌwɒŋəˈreɪ/;
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, from the former
Whangarei County and
Hikurangi Town councils. The city population was
estimated to be 57,700 in June 2017, up from 47,000 in 2001.
2.1 Mount Parihaka
2.2 Hatea River
2.3 Matakohe/Limestone Island
5 Arts and culture
6.1 Tertiary education
6.2.1 Secondary schools
6.2.2 Intermediate and primary schools
6.2.3 Religious schools
9 Notable people
10 See also
12 External links
The Māori iwi
Whangarei from the early 19th
century, and the Te Parawhau hapū lived at the head of the harbour.
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
In the 1820s the area was repeatedly attacked by Waikato and Ngāti
Paoa raiders during the Musket Wars. 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. Mostly,
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. 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 Hatea 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.
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
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. 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
Whangarei was declared a city. Its population the following year
The second half of the twentieth century brought the establishment and
expansion of the oil refinery at
Marsden Point on
Bream Bay, the
adjacent development of timber processing and the establishment of
Northland Port, which is mainly focused on timber exporting.
Building of the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art
Gallery is expected to commence 2017 after the funding target of
$20.97 million was raised by a volunteer team in time for a June 2017
A container port could follow, linked by rail to Auckland. The
extensive flat undeveloped land around Northport is a suggested
solution to excess population growth in
Auckland and the associated
lack of industrial land.
Whangarei from Parihaka
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. The dome is surrounded by the
Parihaka Scenic Reserve. There is road access to the summit of
Parihaka and walking tracks through the reserve.
The dome is frequently called Mount Parahaki, but the original Māori
spelling of Parihaka was confirmed by the government in 2005.
Main article: Hātea River
The Hatea 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.
Main article: Motu Matakohe
Matakohe, or Limestone Island, lies in the harbour close to the city.
Whangarei District, it is subject to ecological island
restoration by the Friends of Matakohe/Limestone Island Society.
Whangarei has a oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb). Climate in this area
has mild differences between highs and lows. Summer days occasionally
exceed 30 °C, and there is plentiful rainfall spread relatively
evenly throughout the year. Using the Trewartha classification
Whangarei is firmly a maritime subtropical climate due to its absence
of winter cold.
Climate data for
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Source: NIWA Climate Data
Whangarei is within the
Whangarei general electorate and the Te Tai
Tokerau Māori electorate. As of 26 November 2014 the current MP of
Whangarei electorate is Dr Shane Reti of the National Party. The
current MP of the
Te Tai Tokerau
Te Tai Tokerau electorate is Kelvin Davis of the
At a local level
Whangarei comes under the Northland Regional Council
of which the city is the seat.
Whangarei is governed locally by the
Whangarei District Council. The
city is split into two of the council wards, Denby, which takes the
northern suburbs, and Okara, which takes the southern half of the
The Northland Police District covers
Whangarei which is split into two
areas, Whangarei/Kaipara and Mid/Far North.
Judicially, the town is served by the
Whangarei District Court and is
also the base of the region's only High Court.
Whangarei urban area is spread throughout the valleys of the
surrounding area. The city has several suburbs:
Northern: Kamo, Springs Flat, Tikipunga, Three Mile Bush, Otangarei,
Mairtown, Regent, Kensington, and Whau Valley
Southern/Western: Morningside, Raumanga, Maunu, Horahora, Woodhill,
and The Avenues
Eastern: Riverside, Sherwood Rise, Onerahi, and Parihaka
State Highway 1 from
Cape Reinga passes through Whangarei.
State Highway 14 from
Dargaville connects to State Highway 1 in
Whangarei is connected to
Auckland by rail. The line carries freight
only; public passenger transport is by long-distance bus.
Whangarei Airport is located 7.4 kilometres (4.6 mi) southeast of
the city centre, in the suburb of Onerahi.
Northland Regional Council operates the CityLink bus service. This bus
service runs six urban bus routes.
In July 2013 a second road crossing of the Hatea River was opened, in
the form of a bascule bridge.
There are several cycle/walk ways currently under development
connecting the city centre with outer suburbs. These include Kamo
(currently under construction),
Onerahi (completed) and Raumanga/Maunu
(several sections completed). The Hatea Loop (Huarahi o te Whai) is a
central mixed space walkway connecting the Town Basin, Hihiaua
Peninsula, Okara, Pohe Island and Riverside areas of the central city.
Whangarei is served by Northport, a sea port at Marsden Point. It was
previously served by Port Whangarei, in the upper harbour near the
city, which was operated by the Northland Harbour Board until 1988,
when it was transferred to the
Northland Port Corporation. The first
two berths at
Marsden Point opened in 2002, and Port
to commercial shipping in 2007 when the remaining cargo operations
were transferred to Marsden Point.
Arts and culture
Whangarei Art Museum is located in the Town Basin. Artisan markets
are held at the nearby Canopy Bridge.
Hundertwasser Arts Centre
Hundertwasser Arts Centre is planned to be built on the site of
the former Northland Harbour Board building.
The Quarry Arts Centre is located on the edge of the Western Hills in
NorthTec, with its main campus located in the
Whangarei 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.
Further information: List of schools in the Northland Region
There are several schools which offer secondary schooling education
within the urban area. Most suburbs have their own primary school.
Whangarei Boys' High School, a boys' secondary school with a roll of
1181 (February 2018).
Whangarei Girls' High School, a girls' secondary school with a roll of
1424 (February 2018).
These two secondary schools have a decile rating of 5 and cover years
9–13. Both schools opened in 1881.
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
Huanui College, a private secondary school just out of the urban area
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rāwhitiroa. A
Māori language immersion
school catering for primary and secondary students.
Intermediate and primary schools
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.
Kamo Intermediate is a popular intermediate school serving the
Primary schools in the urban area include Hurupaki School, Kamo
Primary School, Totara Grove School (formerly Kamo East School),
Tikipunga Primary School,
Whau Valley School,
Whangarei School, a contributing primary (years 1–6) school with a
roll of 577, Maunu School, Horahora School, Morningside School,
Manaia View School (formerly
Raumanga Primary and
schools, amalgamated), Raurimu Avenue School, and
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. It
is the only Catholic secondary school in Northland serving the wider
Saint Francis Xavier Catholic School, the city's Catholic primary
school, located in the suburb of
Whau Valley adjacent to the Catholic
Christian Renewal School is a composite (years 1–13) school with a
roll of 201. The school was established in 1993 and integrated
into the state system in 1997. The school operates in the Christian
Renewal Church buildings.
Excellere College, a Christian school (years 1–13) located in the
northern suburb of Springs Flat.
Whangarei Adventist Christian School, located at
Whau Valley Road,
has been operating for some 50 years and is the second oldest of the
independent Christian schools in
Whangarei to. It was formerly called
Whangarei Seventhday Adventist School.
Special School and Resource Centre provides education and
care to students between the ages of five and twenty-one years,
and has a roll of 68. The school operates from five locations,
Whangarei and one in Kaitaia.
Whangarei is within the Northland District Health Board and the Manaia
Primary Health Organisation.
Whangarei Hospital (formerly Northland
Base Hospital) is Northland DHB's largest and provides secondary
specialist care to all of Northland. It has 246 inpatient beds, and is
based in the suburb of Horahora.
Kensington Hospital, opened in March 2001, is a private healthcare
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 Toll Stadium (formerly named "Okara
Park"), the largest stadium in the region, which also hosted two
matches during Rugby World Cup 2011. The city also hosted a match on
3rd June between a Provincial XV team (NZ Provincial Barbarians) and
the British and Irish Lions during their 2017 tour.
The football (soccer) club
North Force who compete in the Lotto Sport
Italia NRFL Division 1 are based in Whangarei.
Whangarei has a
Field Hockey facility that hosted several
international matches. Several hockey players from Northland have been
selected for the
Black Sticks Women
Black Sticks Women since 2000.
International Rally of Whangarei is based in the region with
competitors from Australia, India, China, Japan, South East Asia and
Pacific Islands racing on dirt roads in the districts surrounding
Whangarei. It is the season opening event for both the Asia-Pacific
Rally Championship and the
New Zealand Rally Championship and is New
Zealand's second largest international motorsport competition, second
only to the world championship event, Rally New Zealand. Whangarei
Speedway attracts drivers from outside the Northland region.
Northland is also represented at the highest national domestic level
The Northland rugby league team, representing the
Northland Region in
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
Main category: People from Whangarei
Laurence Clark, cartoonist
Keith Urban, country music singer
New Zealand cricketer
New Zealand Adoption advocate
Rugby League representative
Michael Hill, jeweller
Laura Dekker, Dutch sailor, born on a boat in
Whangarei in 1995,
settled there again in 2012
New Zealand politician and leader of
New Zealand First
Suzie Muirhead, former member of the
New Zealand Black Sticks Women's
Jack Marshall, Prime Minister of
New Zealand for most of 1972, grew up
Whangarei and went to
Whangarei Boy's High School
Ian Jones, former
All Black lock
Rene Ranger, former
All Black and Northland Taniwha player
Billy T. James, entertainer, comedian, musician and actor, was at
Whangarei Boy's High School between 1962 and 1965.
Anthony Short, cricketer
Northland Emergency Services Trust
Northland Emergency Services Trust (NEST)
^ a b "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2017
(provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 24
October 2017. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates
(UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-16 (2017
boundary)". Statistics New Zealand. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 24
A. H. Reed
A. H. Reed (1968). Historic Northland.
^ Pickmere, Nancy Preece (1986). Whangarei: The Founding Years.
^ Pickmere, pp 20–46
^ Pickmere, pp 87–88
Whangarei City and environs". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New
^ "Whangarei". Bateman
New Zealand Encyclopedia (4th ed.). 1995.
Marsden Point – The Hype and The Reality". TelferYoung
(Northland) Limited. June 2006.
^ Bruce Hayward, Mike Isaac, Keith Miller and Bernhard Spörli (2002).
Whangarei geology" (PDF). Geological Society of New
Zealand. p. 27. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list
^ Parkes, W. F. (1992). Guide to
Whangarei City and District.
p. 7. ISBN 0-473-01639-7.
^ "Mount Parihaka name corrected". 19 July 2005. Retrieved 14 August
^ Parkes, p 11
^ Climate Summary for Whangarei
^ "Climate Data and Activities". NIWA Science. Retrieved 15 October
^ Liang, Annejo (2010). Ports of
Council. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
^ a b "Directory of Schools - as at 14 March 2018". New Zealand
Ministry of Education. Retrieved 20 March 2018.
^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database:
Whangarei Boys High School
^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database:
Whangarei Girls High School
Whangarei Boys' High School -Our History".
Whangarei Boys' High
Whangarei Girls' High".
Whangarei Girls' High School.
^ "Te Kete Ipurangi –
Whangarei Intermediate". Ministry of
^ "Te Kete Ipurangi –
Whangarei School". Ministry of
^ "Te Kete Ipurangi – Christian Renewal School". Ministry of
^ "Supplementary Review Report: Christian Renewal School". Education
Review Office. May 2005.
^ "Education Review Report: Blomfield
Special School and Resource
Centre". Education Review Office. December 2007.
^ "Te Kete Ipurangi – Blomfield
Special School & Resource
Centre". Ministry of Education.
Special School – locations". Blomfield Special
^ "Bio". Retrieved 20 February 2009.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Whangarei.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Whangarei.
Whangarei District Council
Whangarei Information & Travel Centre