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Hāwera is the second-largest centre in the Taranaki region of New Zealand's North Island, with a population of 10,150.[2] It is near the coast of the South Taranaki Bight. The origins of the town lie in a government military base that was established in 1866, and the town of Hāwera grew up around a blockhouse in the early 1870s.

Hāwera from the Water Tower
Hāwera from the Water Tower
Coordinates: 39°35′36″S 174°16′42″E / 39.59333°S 174.27833°E / -39.59333; 174.27833
CountryNew Zealand
DistrictSouth Taranaki District
WardTe Hāwera
 • MayorPhil Nixon
 • Total25.20 km2 (9.73 sq mi)
 (June 2021)
 • Total10,150
 • Density400/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
The water tower at Hāwera

Hāwera is 75 kilometres south of New Plymouth on State Highway 3 and 30 minutes' drive from Mount Taranaki. It is located on State Highway 45, known as Surf Highway 45 for its numerous surf beaches. State Highway 45 passes through Manaia, Ōpunake and Oakura en route to New Plymouth. Kaponga is a 20-minute drive to the north-west. The Marton–New Plymouth Line railway passes through Hāwera and has served the town since 1 August 1881, though it has been freight-only since the cancellation of the last railcar passenger service between Wellington and New Plymouth on 30 July 1977.


Pre-European historyEdit

The Māori-language name Hāwera means "burnt place"; it arose as a result of fighting between two local sub-tribes, which culminated in the setting ablaze of the sleeping whare (house) of the tribe under attack.[3] An older Māori name was Tau-patatē, referring to the patatē or seven-finger tree Schefflera digitata.[4] Spelled "Hawera" for most of its European history, a macron was added to the official name by the New Zealand Geographic Board in June 2019.[5]

European settlementEdit

The town's name meaning "burnt place" became apt when the town suffered extensive blazes in 1884, 1888, and 1912.[6]

For this reason a large water tower was built in the centre of town to increase water pressure; and this became one of Taranaki's best-known landmarks (appearing, for example, on the cover of the 1974 telephone directory). After falling into disrepair the tower was closed to the public in 2001, but after an extensive restoration program it opened again in 2004.[7]


There are four marae in the Hāwera area:

In October 2020, the Government committed $1,479,479 from the Provincial Growth Fund to renovate Meremere Marae, Ketemarae Pā, Pariroa Marae and Taiporohēnui Marae, creating 35 jobs.[8]


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [9]

The Hāwera urban area, which covers 25.20 km2 (9.73 sq mi),[1] had a usual resident population of 9,792 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 666 people (7.3%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 975 people (11.1%) since the 2006 census. There were 3,816 households. There were 4,770 males and 5,025 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.95 males per female, with 2,043 people (20.9%) aged under 15 years, 1,767 (18.0%) aged 15 to 29, 4,071 (41.6%) aged 30 to 64, and 1,908 (19.5%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 78.8% European/Pākehā, 27.5% Māori, 1.9% Pacific peoples, 5.0% Asian, and 2.1% other ethnicities (totals add to more than 100% since people could identify with multiple ethnicities).

The proportion of people born overseas was 10.6%, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people objected to giving their religion, 49.0% had no religion, 37.7% were Christian, 1.3% were Hindu, 0.6% were Muslim, 0.2% were Buddhist and 3.6% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 714 (9.2%) people had a bachelor or higher degree, and 2,208 (28.5%) people had no formal qualifications. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 3,621 (46.7%) people were employed full-time, 996 (12.9%) were part-time, and 378 (4.9%) were unemployed.[9]

Individual statistical areas
Name Population Households Median age Median income
Egmont Showgrounds 1,734 654 42.2 years $33,900[10]
Turuturu 1,893 726 36.2 years $31,900[11]
King Edward Park 1,521 588 40.2 years $25,200[12]
Ramanui 2,052 765 38.4 years $27,500[13]
Hāwera Central 2,592 1,083 41.3 years $25,300[14]
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800


Aerial view of Hāwera, including surrounding farms and the Whareroa Dairy Factory.

The Whareroa dairy factory, 4 km south-southwest of the township, is the largest dairy complex in the world in terms of output.[15] The complex is owned by Fonterra, having been built by the former Kiwi Co-operative Dairies, whose original plant opened on that site in 1975.

During peak season, the complex employs 1,000 people and processes up to 14 million litres of milk per day. Electricity and heat used at Whareroa is generated by an on-site gas-fired power plant, with excess electricity fed into the national grid.[16]

Hāwera is home to Tawhiti Museum,[17] well known for its hand-crafted life-sized mannequins depicting scenes of local heritage and history, and its scale models of local Māori .[18]


Hāwera Primary School was established in 1875. It developed into a District High School in 1901. The current high school opened as Hāwera Technical High School in 1919, and moved to its present site in 1921.[19] The intermediate school opened in 1961.[20]

The Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki has a campus in Hāwera,[21] established in 1990.[22]

Hāwera High School is a secondary (years 9–13) school with a roll of approximately 702. Hāwera Intermediate is an intermediate (years 7–8) school with a roll of 320.[23]

Hāwera Primary School, Ramanui School, Tawhiti School and Turuturu School are contributing primary (years 1–6) schools with rolls of 191, 43, 293 and 308 respectively.[23] Hāwera Primary celebrated its 125th jubilee in 2000.[24] Ramanui school celebrated its 50th jubilee in 2003.[25]

Hāwera Christian School and St Joseph's School are state integrated full primary (years 1–8) schools with rolls of 40 and 208 respectively.

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngati Ruanui is a full primary (years 1–8) school with a roll of 92. It is a Kura Kaupapa Māori school which teaches in the Māori language.

All these schools are coeducational. Rolls are as of July 2022.[23]

In October 2021, it was announced that Hāwera High School and Hāwera Intermediate will be closing at the end of 2022. A new, years 7–13 school will be created on the current Hāwera High School campus at the beginning of 2023.[26]


Hāwera is in the South Taranaki district. After serving four terms as mayor of South Taranaki, Ross Dunlop did not stand in the 2019 election, and was replaced as mayor by District Councillor Phil Nixon.[27]

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ a b "ArcGIS Web Application". statsnz.maps.arcgis.com. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Subnational population estimates (RC, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2021 (2021 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 22 October 2021. (regional councils); "Subnational population estimates (TA, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2021 (2021 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 22 October 2021. (territorial authorities); "Subnational population estimates (urban rural), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2021 (2021 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 22 October 2021. (urban areas)
  3. ^ Because of differing oral traditions, translations such as "breath of fire" and "burning plains" have also been offered. See A.H. McLintock, ed. (1966), "HAWERA", An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, retrieved 1 January 2008 – via Te Ara – The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
  4. ^ Elsdon Best. "Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868–1961 Volume 40, 1907". Maori Forest Lore: being some Account of Native Forest Lore and Woodcraft, as also of many Myths, Rites, Customs, and Superstitions connected with the Flora and Fauna of the Tuhoe or Ure-wera District. National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Hāwera". NZGB Gazetteer | linz.govt.nz. Retrieved 19 April 2020.
  6. ^ For a near-contemporary account of the damage these fires caused, see D. Nimmo Scott (c. 1895), Views of Hawera: before and after the fire, Hawera, [N.Z.]: D. Nimmo Scott; a more recent one is Arthur Fryer; Nigel Ogle (ill.) (2003), Hawera's on fire, Hawera, [N.Z.]: Hawera Historical Society. For details of Hawera's Fire Brigade, see Trevor N. Moore (1982), Hawera Fire Brigade, 1882–1982: a centennial history, Hawera, [N.Z.]: The Brigade
  7. ^ Craig Stevenson; Hugo Jackson, Hawera Water Tower Restoration (PDF), Contech, archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2008
  8. ^ "Marae Announcements" (Excel). growregions.govt.nz. Provincial Growth Fund. 9 October 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Egmont Showgrounds (221300), Turuturu (221600), King Edward Park (221700), Ramanui (221800) and Hawera Central (221900).
  10. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Egmont Showgrounds
  11. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Turuturu
  12. ^ 2018 Census place summary: King Edward Park
  13. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Ramanui
  14. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Hawera Central
  15. ^ "Largest dairy factory in the world", Te Ara
  16. ^ The Whareroa Co-generation plant[permanent dead link], www.toddenergy.co.nz
  17. ^ "The man behind the models at Hāwera's Tawhiti Museum". Stuff. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  18. ^ Perhaps Hāwera's most famous example of a nineteenth-century Maori pa is the Turuturu-Mokai complex, on Turuturu Road. See John Houston (1958), Turuturu-Mokai: historic reserve near Hawera: an historical survey, Hawera, [N.Z.]: Hawera Star Print. For information upon a modern pa, see Gloria Kerehoma (1984), Commemorative centennial [i.e. centennial] booklet, 1884–1984, Hawera, [N.Z.]: Centennial Committee; Shore Print on Aotearoa Pa.
  19. ^ Fryer, Arthur (1994), The Beginnings of Hawera High School, Hawera High School Jubilee Magazine, archived from the original on 14 October 2008
  20. ^ School Info, Hawera Intermediate, archived from the original on 14 October 2008
  21. ^ Campus Maps, Western Institute of Technology
  22. ^ WITT History, Western Institute of Technology
  23. ^ a b c "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 19 August 2022.
  24. ^ "Jubilees & reunions – Hawera Primary School", Education Gazette New Zealand, 78 (10), 14 June 1999[dead link]
  25. ^ "Ramanui Primary School 50th Jubilee", Education Gazette New Zealand, 82 (5), 24 March 2003[dead link]
  26. ^ "New school for south Taranaki". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  27. ^ Persico, Christina (12 October 2019). "Phil Nixon wins South Taranaki mayoralty by large margin". Taranaki Daily News.

External linksEdit