Waitakere City

Waitākere City was a territorial authority in the western part of the urban area of Auckland, New Zealand; it was governed by the Waitākere City Council from 1989 to 2010. It was New Zealand's fifth largest city,[1] with an annual growth of about 2%. In 2010 the council was amalgamated with the other authorities of the Auckland Region to form the current Auckland Council.

Country:  New Zealand
Waitakere City (orange)
The darker orange shows the urban area within the (grey) greater Auckland conurbation.
Urban Area
Extent: East to New Lynn and Green Bay.
South to Manukau Harbour.
West to Waitākere Ranges foothills.
North to Whenuapai.
Area 82 km2 (31.7 sq mi) – 23% of city land area
Territorial Authority
Waitakere Territorial Authority.png
Name: Waitakere City
Extent: East to Auckland City boundary at
New Lynn and Green Bay.
South to Manukau Harbour.
West to Tasman Sea.
North to Rodney District boundary
at Bethells Beach, Waitakere
township and Whenuapai.
Land Area: 367 km2 (141.7 sq mi)
The coat of arms of the City of Waitakere

The name "Waitākere" comes from the Waitākere River in the Waitākere Ranges.


Before being settled by Europeans, the Māori iwi Te Kawerau a Maki and Ngāti Whātua had already settled in the Waitakere area. In the 1830s, European settlers started to arrive, concentrating on timber milling, kauri gum digging and flax milling, with brickworks and pottery industries following later.[2]

In the 20th century, industry and service trades started to grow, with population taking off after World War II, partly due to improved transport links with Auckland City, such as the Northwestern Motorway, whose first section opened in 1952. Suburbs like New Lynn, Glen Eden and Henderson grew to prominence in the following decades.[2]

Waitakere City was formed by the amalgamation of Waitemata City with the boroughs of Henderson, New Lynn, and Glen Eden in the 1989 nationwide re-organisation of local government. There were just two mayors of Waitakere City during its existence, Assid Corban (previously mayor of Henderson Borough) from 1989 to 1992,[3] and Bob Harvey from 1992 to 2010.[4]

In February 1993 the council developed the "Greenprint" as an Agenda 21 initiative and declared itself to be an eco-city.[5]

On 1 November 2010, the Waitakere City Council was abolished and Waitakere City was merged into a single Auckland city governed by Auckland Council. All council facilities, assets and services were handed over to the new council.

Administrative structureEdit

The elected Council consisted of the mayor and 14 councillors representing the four wards. Each ward also had an elected community board that considered local issues.

Geography, wards and suburbsEdit

Henderson WardEdit

This urban ward contained the old Henderson borough as well as the suburbs of Glendene, Te Atatu South, and Te Atatu Peninsula (formerly Te Atatu North). There were 40,086 residents in 2001. It was located immediately to the west of Auckland city, some 10 kilometres from the city centre, along the western shores of the Waitematā Harbour and its southwestern arm, the Whau River.

Massey WardEdit

Although this area was principally urban, it also had some farms and lifestyle blocks in the north and west. The ward contained the suburbs of Whenuapai, Hobsonville, West Harbour, Massey, Ranui, and Henderson North. It had a population of 51,369 in the 2001 census. It was located to the north of the Henderson Ward, along the Waitemata's northwestern shore, and included one of New Zealand's largest concentrations of former military bases, with former large army and air force stations within the ward.

New Lynn WardEdit

Centred on the old boroughs of New Lynn and Glen Eden, it also contained the suburbs of Kelston, Green Bay, Titirangi, Kaurilands, Waima, and Woodlands Park. The ward had a population of 49,845 in 2001. New Lynn Ward was to the south of Henderson Ward, and extended to the shore of the Manukau Harbour at its southern end. New Lynn itself is 10 kilometres southwest of Auckland city centre.

Waitakere WardEdit

This ward was by far the largest in area as it encompassed the sparsely populated Waitākere Ranges, as well as some of the urban fringes as the city expanded westward into former orchards and farms. The population of 27,450 in 2001 was the smallest of the wards, but it was also the fastest growing. It encompassed the suburbs, villages and localities of Swanson, Henderson Valley, Sunnyvale, Oratia, Waiatarua, Laingholm, Parau, Cornwallis, Huia, Whatipu, Karekare, Piha, Anawhata, Bethells / Te Henga, and Waitakere township. Many of these had volunteer fire brigades to protect their communities from the summer bush fires. This ward lay to the west of the three other wards, and extended to the north as well. Its northern end, around Muriwai, was the furthest part of Waitakere from Auckland city centre, lying some 30 kilometres to the northwest of it.


Significant industries in the first 150 years of European settlement after about 1850 included brick and pottery manufacturing, timber milling, kauri gum digging, orchards, farming, viticulture, water supply, railways, and the twin Royal New Zealand Air Force bases of Whenuapai and Hobsonville. Waitakere City developed retail and service sectors and light manufacturing. The two commercial centres were Henderson and New Lynn. Notable niche industries included boat-building, winemaking, and film and television production. The largest (height) sound stage in New Zealand was built in Henderson.[6][7]

However, Waitakere City's workforce was strongly oriented towards Auckland City, with about 40% of all workers living in the city commuting into the Auckland City area for work from the late 2000s.[8]


The walking tracks and sights of the Waitākere Ranges attract thousands from the Auckland region in suitable weather, as do the black-sand surf beaches of Piha, Karekare and Bethells. These beaches are notoriously dangerous for surfers and swimmers who must take great care to avoid their treacherous rips.

The city has a football club playing in the New Zealand Football Championship, Waitakere United, as well several clubs competing in the regional Northern League competition. The Nelson Trusts Stadium holds many sports and entertainment events.

There was extensive work by the council in the 2000s to pave and improve pathways around the streams in Henderson and there are now several miles of excellent walking / cycling tracks in the centre of Henderson and running north and south. Together with major restoration works along the streams it is known as the Project Twin Streams.

The area is also home to one of the first and oldest baseball clubs in New Zealand; West City Baseball Club. It is based in Te Atatu South at McCleod Park and features both junior and senior grades.[citation needed]


"Oblivion Express Mk 3" in Railside Avenue – a monument celebrating the Westie love of cars[9]

"Westie" is the nickname given to locals because of the city's location relative to the rest of Auckland. The west area traditionally was mostly populated by blue-collar workers, although with rising housing costs in the rest of Auckland this has changed somewhat.

Much as Manukau City and Papakura's administrative geography roughly paralleled an unofficial area commonly known as South Auckland, so too Waitakere City had an unofficial equivalent in "West Auckland". The official and unofficial areas did not exactly coincide, and – again like Manukau, Papakura and South Auckland – it was the areas with a similar socio-economic mix, roughly from Te Atatu to Glen Eden, Henderson to New Lynn, Massey and Avondale which were most commonly associated with the nickname.[citation needed]

Sister citiesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Waitakere City Council (May 2010). "Cultural Wellbeing Strategy for Waitakere" (PDF). Strategic Direction for Waitakere. Waitakere, New Zealand: Waitakere City Council. Title page. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b About the City – The History (from the Waitakere City Council website. Accessed 1 December 2009.)
  3. ^ Councillor Assid Corban, Waitakere City Council. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  4. ^ Résumé of Mayor Bob Harvey, Waitakere City Council. Retrieved 21 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Greenprint" (PDF). Waitakere City Council. February 1999.
  6. ^ Thompson, Wayne (30 June 2006). "Henderson 'Hollywood of South Pacific'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  7. ^ "'Crazy' ARC move may cost film industry jobs". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
  8. ^ Perrott, Alan (2 September 2009). "The long commute". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 February 2010.
  9. ^ Town Centre Art – Oblivion Express Mk 3 (from the Waitakere City Council website. Accessed 1 February 2009.)

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 36°51′S 174°33′E / 36.850°S 174.550°E / -36.850; 174.550