Ōkato is a small town in rural Taranaki, New Zealand. The population was 561 in the 2013 census, an increase of 30 from 2006.[1] It is situated about 25 minutes drive around the coast from New Plymouth on State Highway 45. Oakura is 12 km to the north-east, and Warea is 9 km to the south-west.[2][3] The place offers popular rocky surfing spots around coastal beaches. The town was established as a military settlement in the 1860s.[4]

Ōkato is located in Taranaki Region
Coordinates: 39°11′21″S 173°52′39″E / 39.18917°S 173.87750°E / -39.18917; 173.87750
CountryNew Zealand
DistrictNew Plymouth District
 • Total561

The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage gives a translation of "place of Kato" for Ōkato.[5] While "Kato" was probably a personal name, an alternative translation is "place of full tide/tsunami".[6] In July 2020, the name of the locality was officially gazetted as Ōkato by the New Zealand Geographic Board.[7]

Ōkato has all the elements of a New Zealand rural community with sporting facilities (rugby grounds, bowling club, squash courts, tennis courts and swimming pool), Coastal Taranaki School, a police station, and a volunteer fire brigade.

Ōkato was also notable as the home of Okato Cheese which was manufactured by the Okato Co-operative Dairy Company. This manufacturing site closed some years after merging with Egmont Co-operative Dairy. Activities in the Ōkato area include the Stony River walkway, which has a number of locations for photographing Mt Taranaki.

The rural community of Puniho is located just south of Ōkato.


Boarded up store in Okato

Coastal Taranaki School is a coeducational composite (years 1-13) school with a roll of 280 as of March 2020.[8][9] The school was formed in 2005 from the merger of Newall School, Okato Primary School, Okato College and Warea School. It was initially called Okato Area School but changed its name.[10]

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ "2013 Census QuickStats about a place: Okato". Statistics New Zealand.
  2. ^ Peter Dowling (editor) (2004), Reed New Zealand Atlas, Reed Books, map 34, ISBN 0-7900-0952-8CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Roger Smith, GeographX (2005), The Geographic Atlas of New Zealand, Robbie Burton, map 84, ISBN 1-877333-20-4
  4. ^ Lambert, Ron (7 September 2016). "Taranaki Places - Cape Egmont - Ōkato". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  5. ^ "1000 Māori place names". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 6 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Okato". New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Notice of approved official geographic names" (PDF). New Zealand Gazette. 16 July 2020. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  8. ^ "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  9. ^ Education Counts: Coastal Taranaki School
  10. ^ "Mergers, Closures and New Schools, January 2005 - December 2005" (XLS). Education Counts.

Further readingEdit

General historical worksEdit

  • History and reminiscences of Okato: Okato 100, 1865-1965, Okato, [N.Z.] ; New Plymouth, [N.Z.]: Okato Centennial Committee ; Taranaki Newspapers, 1965
  • Kahui-Newall School and districts, 75th jubilee, n.p.: Newall-Kahui Jubilee Committee, 1982
  • Hickford, Lawrence D. (1978), The land I have lived in and Okato as I knew it: reflections and recollections, New Plymouth, [N.Z.]: Taranaki County Council ; Taranaki Newspapers
  • Rye, K.J. (1990), Okato jubilee: 125 years, 1865-1990, Okato, [N.Z.]: Okato 125th Jubilee Committee
  • Skinner, W. H. (1935), History and reminiscences of the Okato district written by W.H. Skinner, W.K. Howitt and residents of the district and republished from the "Taranaki Herald" on the occasion of the septuagenary celebrations and re-union, 1865-1935, New Plymouth, [N.Z.]: Taranaki Herald

Arts and literatureEdit

  • Virtual TART: art from Taranaki, New Zealand (CD-ROM), Okato, [N.Z.]: Puniho Art Press, 2000

Business historyEdit

  • Okato and Puniho Co-operative Dairy Factory Company (1955), Golden jubilee, 1905-1955, New Plymouth, [N.Z.]: McLeod and Slade



  • The centenary of St Paul's Church, Okato, 1897-1997 and Okato Methodist Church (St Luke's), 1898-1998, Okato, [N.Z.]: Okato Co-operating Parish, 1997, ISBN 0-473-04613-X
  • Clemance, H.J. (1972), Saint Paul's, Okato: seventy-fifth jubilee of the parochial district, Okato, [N.Z.]: St. Paul's Anglican Parish


  • The centenary of St Paul's Church, Okato, 1897-1997 and Okato Methodist Church (St Luke's), 1898-1998, Okato, [N.Z.]: Okato Co-operating Parish, 1997, ISBN 0-473-04613-X


  • Prickett, Nigel (1983), Maori fortifications of the Okato District, Taranaki, Auckland, [N.Z.]: Auckland Institute and Museum
  • Smith, Lee; Benton, Richard (1982), The Maori language in New Plymouth and Okato / Purongorongo whakamohio ma nga kaiuru ki te toronga tuatahi, 1973-1978 [Information bulletin (Survey of Language Use in Maori Households and Communities) ; 7], Wellington, [N.Z.]: New Zealand Council for Educational Research

New Zealand warsEdit


  • The diaries of the local farmer Alexander Cassie are held at "Puke Ariki". Access to them is restricted, but they contain childhood reminiscences and incidents from the 1910s. See "Cassie, Alexander, 1900- (B873)". Retrieved 2008-01-12.
  • The papers of the local historian and farmer Marc Voullaire are held at "Puke Ariki".. This collection contains research carried out on the Taranaki dairy industry, the missionary station of Johann Riemenschneider (and other matters), and can be seen at "Voullaire, Marc Frederic, 1885-1964 (B900)". Retrieved 2008-01-11.


  • Kahui-Newall School and districts, 75th jubilee, n.p.: Newall-Kahui Jubilee Committee, 1982
  • Okato District High School and College, 1950-2000: 50th anniversary, Christchurch, [N.Z.]: Legacy Books, 2000

Coordinates: 39°12′S 173°53′E / 39.200°S 173.883°E / -39.200; 173.883