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Masterton District

About the profile areas

The 2018 population for Masterton District is 25,560, with a population density of 0.11 persons per hectare.


Note: This page displays the area boundaries used for the 2018 Census. In some cases, these are significantly different to the pre-2018 areas. For more on this, see the Census 2018 page.

Location and boundaries

The Masterton District is located in the southern part of New Zealand's North Island, about 100 kilometres north-east of the Wellington CBD. The Masterton District is bounded by the Tararua District in the north, the Pacific Ocean in the east, the Carterton District in the south and south-west, and the Horowhenua District in the north-west.

Name origin

Masterton District is named after Joseph Masters, the central figure in the Small Farms Association that persuaded Māori in Wairarapa to sell their land.

Profile areas
Masterton District

Settlement history

European settlement dates from 1854 when the township of Masterton was established, following the purchase of land from the Māoris by the Small Farms Association. Land was used mainly for sheep and cattle grazing. Growth took place from the late 1800s into the early 1900s, aided by the opening of the railway line in 1880. Significant residential development occurred during the 1950s and 1960s. The population of the District increased slightly during the 1980s, rising from about 22,000 in 1981 to about 22,600 in 1991, was relatively stable to 2006, and then increased slightly again to about 23,300 in 2013.

Land use

Masterton District features both rural and urban areas. Most of the population live in the urban area around Masterton. Rural land is used largely for sheep and beef farming, with some forestry, cropping and horticulture. The Masterton District encompasses a total land area of about 2,300 square kilometres.


Masterton District is served by State Highway 2, Hood Aerodrome and the Wairarapa railway line.

Major features

Major features of the District include the Masterton CBD, Universal College of Learning (Wairarapa Campus), Wairarapa Hospital, Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Genesis Energy Recreation Centre, Masterton Motorplex, Solway Showgrounds, Castlepoint Beach, Riversdale Beach, Henley Lake, Queen Elizabeth Park, Kids Own Playground, Matahiwi Estate Winery, Solstone Estate Winery and the Waipoua River.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Masterton District were the Māori people.

Included areas

The Masterton District includes the localities of Homebush-Te Ore Ore, Kopuaranga, Lansdowne, Masterton Central, Masterton East, Masterton Railway, Masterton West, Ngaumutawa, Opaki-Fernridge, Solway North, Solway South and Whareama.