Porirua CityCommunity profile
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Porirua City

About the profile areas

The 2018 population for Porirua City is 56,559, with a population density of 3.24 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

Porirua City is part of the Wellington Region in the lower North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) of New Zealand. Porirua extends from Kenepuru Drive in the south (bordering Wellington City), to Pukerua Bay in the north (bordering Kāpiti Coast), from Tītahi Bay on the west coast (Tasman Sea), to Judgeford in the east (bordering Upper Hutt City to the north-east and Hutt City to the south-east).

Name origin

Porirua's name is likely derived from 'Pari-rua', meaning 'the flowing of the two tides', referring to the two tidal estuary arms of Porirua Harbour (Onepoto Arm and Pāuatahanui Inlet).

Profile areas
Porirua City

Settlement history

Early history of Porirua dates from as far back as at least 1450AD. Early settlers Ngai Tara and Ngāti Ira recognised Porirua's strategic geographic importance and plentiful food supplies, and were followed by Ngāti Toa iwi led by Te Rauparaha in the 1820s. Ngāti Toa is tangata whenua.

European settlement dates from around the 1820s, with initial industries being whaling and trading. From the late 1830s land was used for sheep grazing, with some timber and ship building industries on the south-western shore of Porirua Harbour. Population was minimal until the 1840s when land was opened up. The North Island main trunk railway line opened in 1885, linking the area with Wellington, by which time farming was the main land use. Significant residential development occurred post-war years and there was rapid growth during the 1960s and early 1970s. Porirua achieved city status in 1965.

In the 1960s and 1970s substantial industrial areas were established, generally west of the city centre and in Elsdon and Kenepuru. The population of the City increased from about 16,000 in 1961 to 42,000 in 1981, then to nearly 46,000 in 1986. Growth then slowed, reaching nearly 47,000 people in 1996, with minimal change to 2001. Growth resumed from 2001, with the population rising to nearly 52,000 people in 2013. Growth is expected to continue for example with the further development of the southern part of Aotea.

Land use

Porirua is a coastal city of approximately 183 km2 (18,251 hectares). Urban areas are largely on the western coast around the two arms of the Porirua Harbour and there is a large rural hinterland. The urban areas include residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and recreational land use. Rural areas are largely farming.


The City is served by State Highway 1, State Highway 58, the Johnsonville-Porirua Motorway and the North Island main trunk railway. The proposed 27-km Transmission Gully Motorway is expected to begin construction mid-late 2014 and open to traffic in 2020. There will be interchanges connecting the route to State Highway 58 and Kenepuru. There will also be two link roads from the eastern Porirua suburbs of Whitby and Waitangirua.

Major features

Major features of the City include the Porirua City Centre, North City Shopping Centre, North City MegaCentre, Te Rauparaha Arena (including Arena Aquatic Centre), New Zealand Police Museum, Pataka Museum of Arts and Cultures, Porirua Hospital Museum, Porirua Harbour, Whitby Lakes, Aotea Lagoon, Mana Island Scientific Reserve, access to Belmont Regional Park, Royal New Zealand Police College, Whitireia Polytechnic (Porirua Campus), 54km of coastline and beaches and a wide range of leisure, recreation and outdoor opportunities.

Included areas

Porirua City includes the suburbs and localities of Adventure, Aotea, Ascot Park, Cannons Creek East, Cannons Creek North, Cannons Creek South, Discovery, Elsdon-Takapuwahia, Endeavour, Inlet-Porirua Harbour, Mana-Camborne, Mana Island, Onepoto, Paekākāriki Hill, Papakōwhai, Paremata, Pāuatahanui, Plimmerton, Porirua Central, Porirua East, Postgate, Pukerua Bay, Rānui Heights, Resolution, Titahi Bay North, Titahi Bay South and Waitangirua.