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Ruapuke is a small farming community (predominantly sheep and cattle farmers) in the Waikato region on the slopes of Karioi, between Raglan and Kawhia in New Zealand.

Ruapuke from Karioi summit, with Aotea Harbour and Albatross Point beyond
Ruapuke from Karioi summit, with Aotea Harbour and Albatross Point beyond
Ruapuke is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 37°53′32″S 174°41′52″E / 37.89222°S 174.69778°E / -37.89222; 174.69778Coordinates: 37°53′32″S 174°41′52″E / 37.89222°S 174.69778°E / -37.89222; 174.69778
CountryNew Zealand
Territorial authorityWaikato District
 • Total114
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Ruapuke Papanui Pt and Swann Access Rd carpark



The introduction to 'Ruapuke' says, "The greater part of the Ruapuke District is of a sandy loam, and at one time carried a large population of Maoris, as is evidenced by old pas, great heaps of shells, whare [house] sites and numerous kumara storage pits. When the first Europeans arrived the sandy country was covered with patches of light bush, with a big proportion of Karaka, Puriri, and Cabbage trees. The balance was covered with Tauhinu, Teatree, Flax and Fern. The clay portion of the district, (inland and on the slopes of Mt Karioi) was in heavy bush."[1] The archaeological map shows over 40 sites in the area.[2] The European settlers, George Charlton and his sons-in-law, Captains Swann and Liddell, arrived in the 1850s.[1]

Ruapuke had a school from 1877 till 1954.[1] The school was rebuilt in 1937.[3] It has been replaced by a school bus.[4]

Papanui Point, with Ruapuke beach to the south

There was a store at Motakotako from the 1860s. From about 1875 to 1883 it was run by John William Ellis, who later founded Ellis & Burnand. Another store opened briefly in the 1890s.[1]

From 1873[5] until the 1900s there were up to three flaxmills running.[1]


Ruapuke from Karioi summit.

The area north of Ruapuke Beach Rd is in meshblock 0853300 (N) and south of it in 0861800 (S). They had these census figures[6] -

Population Households Median age Average income National average
Year N S total N S total N S N S
2001 60 57 117 24 15 39 39.5 37.5 $22,500 $12,500 $18,500
2006 39 69 108 18 21 49 40 34 $28,300 $15,400 $24,100
2013 54 60 114 27 24 51 43.8 41.5 $32,500 $20,800 $27,900


Ruapuke is about 12 km (7.5 mi) from Te Mata.[7] 840 m (0.52 mi) of Ruapuke Road was sealed and some bends removed in 2011.[8] It is often used for rally car competitions.[9]

The north end of Ruapuke Beach is about 23 km (14 mi) from Raglan via Whaanga Road and Te Toto Gorge, which is gravel, winding,[10] mountainous and described as 'iconic' in descriptions of Rally New Zealand.[11]

Ruapuke Stream enters the Tasman Sea through the sand dunes

Roading HistoryEdit

Ruapuke Beach from above Waiau Beach

Until 1864 settlement was along the coast and relied on access by boat. Then a track was cut along what is now Waimaori Rd.[12]

Ruapuke Rd (originally known as Ruapuke Mountain Rd) was built as a shorter route from 1902[13] and was metalled in 1935.[14]


Until the 1990s the beach largely remained unknown, used by local residents and a few surfing and surfcasting fishing enthusiasts. International surfing competitions such as the Billabong (clothing) Pro and the Rip Curl Pro are now held at Ruapuke beach, providing conditions oblige.


  1. ^ a b c d Ruapuke: F J Trolove first printed 1970 lists 22 families living in Ruapuke in 1969, including chapters on Swann, Thomson, Jackson, Ward, Given and Trolove
  2. ^ "NZAA Site Viewer". Archived from the original on 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  3. ^ "NEW SCHOOL OPENED, New Zealand Herald". 10 April 1937. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  4. ^ "Buses". Te Mata School. Retrieved 2016-01-08.
  5. ^ "NEW ZEALAND HERALD". 25 Nov 1873. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  6. ^ "2013 Census map – QuickStats about a place". Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  7. ^ "827 Ruapuke Rd to Te Mata". Google maps. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  8. ^ "Council gets ready to start Ruapuke Road Seal Extension Project". Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Swann Access Rd to Raglan". Google maps. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  11. ^ Thompson, Eric (6 May 2011). "Motorsport: Paddon gears up for trophy hunt" – via
  12. ^ Trolove, F J (1970). Ruapuke.
  13. ^ "Waikato Argus, RAGLAN COUNTY COUNCIL". 30 Aug 1902. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  14. ^ "1935 Public Works Statement". Retrieved 2019-02-22.

External linksEdit