Ngongotahā is a small settlement on the western shores of Lake Rotorua in the North Island of New Zealand. It is located 10 km (6.2 mi) northwest of the Rotorua central business district, and is considered as a suburb of Rotorua.[3] It is part of the Rotorua functional urban area as defined by Statistics New Zealand.[4] Ngongotahā has a population of 5,230 as of June 2023.[2]

Coordinates: 38°04′59″S 176°12′50″E / 38.083°S 176.214°E / -38.083; 176.214
CountryNew Zealand
RegionBay of Plenty
Local authorityRotorua Lakes District
  • Te Ipu Wai Auraki General Ward
  • Rotorua Rural General Ward
 • Territorial authorityRotorua Lakes Council
 • Regional councilBay of Plenty Regional Council
 • Total12.91 km2 (4.98 sq mi)
 (June 2023)[2]
 • Total5,230
 • Density410/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
3010, 3097

Its name is derived from a legend of Ihenga, the famous Māori explorer. It is said Īhenga met the Patu-paiarehe on Mount Ngongotahā and was offered a drink from a calabash. Ngongo means "to drink", and tahā means "calabash".[5] Ngongotahā is often referred to by locals as the "Sunny side of the Mountain".


Ngongotahā covers 12.91 km2 (4.98 sq mi)[1] and had an estimated population of 5,230 as of June 2023,[2] with a population density of 405 people per km2.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [6]

Ngongotahā had a population of 4,872 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 618 people (14.5%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 810 people (19.9%) since the 2006 census. There were 1,773 households, comprising 2,388 males and 2,478 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.96 males per female, with 1,023 people (21.0%) aged under 15 years, 867 (17.8%) aged 15 to 29, 2,088 (42.9%) aged 30 to 64, and 888 (18.2%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 68.2% European/Pākehā, 41.9% Māori, 5.5% Pacific peoples, 4.2% Asian, and 1.6% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 14.3, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people chose not to answer the census's question about religious affiliation, 52.2% had no religion, 34.9% were Christian, 3.1% had Māori religious beliefs, 0.4% were Hindu, 0.2% were Muslim, 0.2% were Buddhist and 1.2% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 618 (16.1%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 804 (20.9%) people had no formal qualifications. 414 people (10.8%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 1,812 (47.1%) people were employed full-time, 576 (15.0%) were part-time, and 168 (4.4%) were unemployed.[6]

Individual statistical areas
Name Area
Population Density
(per km2)
Households Median age Median
Ngongotahā East 2.87 1,926 671 651 39.5 years $26,900[7]
Ngongotahā West 1.44 1,527 1,060 558 37.3 years $27,100[8]
Ngongotahā South 8.59 1,419 165 564 43.7 years $28,900[9]
New Zealand 37.4 years $31,800


The Ngongotahā area has six marae:

Mount Ngongotahā

Mount Ngongotahā is a 757 metres (2,484 ft) high rhyolite dome. It towers above the suburb and has a gondola to the top where there is a viewing platform, luge and restaurant.[13]

The Mount Ngongotahā Jubilee Track provides the only walking track to the summit, and passes through a scenic reserve. The first section of the track is through original native forest that has not been logged. One of the features is a rātā tree 40 metres (130 ft) tall, and 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) in girth. The original track was cut on Jubilee Day, marking 50 years since the arrival of Captain William Hobson at Waitangi.[14]

Another visitor attraction on the slopes of Mount Ngongotahā is the Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre. It is a captive breeding facility and visitor centre located in the Ngongotahā Valley. Wingspan undertakes conservation, education and research activities related to birds of prey found in New Zealand, and provides demonstrations of falconry.[15]


The village has strong football (Ngongotaha AFC), rugby league (Ngongotaha Sports & Community Association), rugby union, netball and touch teams.


The main road through the village, known as SH 36, runs via Kaharoa and Pyes Pa to Tauranga.

The Rotorua Branch railway runs through Ngongotahā, although this has been unused since the turn of the century. A railway park, operated by a trust and run by volunteers, provides train rides on a scale model steam train and a mini diesel-locomotive on the western side of Ngongotahā near the former line.[16]


The Ngongotahā Stream, which flows through the village centre and onward into Lake Rotorua is one of the most heavily fished areas in New Zealand. Specimen rainbow trout and brown trout are regularly taken by fly fishermen. Other nearby streams (Awahou, Waiteti and Hamurana) also offer good fishing.


Ngongotaha School is a co-educational state primary school for Year 1 to 6 students,[17][18] with a roll of 379 as of February 2024.[19]

Notable people

Despite its small size, Ngongotahā has produced a number of famous New Zealanders, including:


  Media related to Mount Ngongotaha at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ a b "ArcGIS Web Application". Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Subnational population estimates (RC, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (regional councils); "Subnational population estimates (TA, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (territorial authorities); "Subnational population estimates (urban rural), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (urban areas)
  3. ^ McKinnon, Malcolm (25 May 2015). "Ngongotahā streetscape". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  4. ^ "Functional urban areas – methodology and classification | Stats NZ". Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  5. ^ Cowan, James (1925). Fairy Folk Tales of the Maori. New Zealand: Whitcombe and Tombs Limited. p. 37.
  6. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Ngongotahā East (198100), Ngongotahā West (198200) and Ngongotahā South (198400).
  7. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Ngongotahā East
  8. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Ngongotahā West
  9. ^ 2018 Census place summary: Ngongotahā South
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". Te Puni Kōkiri.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Māori Maps". Te Potiki National Trust.
  12. ^ a b "Marae Announcements" (Excel). Provincial Growth Fund. 9 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Skyline Rotorua". Skyline Rotorua. 2019.
  14. ^ "Mt Ngongotaha Jubilee Track". Retrieved 25 December 2022.
  15. ^ James, Shauni (25 March 2022). "Wingspan continues to soar to new heights". NZ Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  16. ^ "Miniature Railway at Ngongotaha". Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Official School Website".
  18. ^ "Ministry of Education School Profile". Ministry of Education.
  19. ^ "Education Review Office Report". Education Review Office.