Whangarei District CouncilCommunity profile
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Whangarei District Council

About the profile areas

The 2018 population for Whangarei District Council is 90,960, with a population density of 0.34 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

Whangarei District is located in the north of the North Island, with Whangarei City being the northernmost city in New Zealand. Whangarei District is bounded by Kaipara District to the south and south-west, the Far North District to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Whangarei District covers 270,000 hectares, 90% of which is rural land largely used for farming. Orchards (avocados, citrus fruits) and forests also feature. There is no part of the District that is more than 40 kms from the sea and Whangarei’s spectacular coastline with nearby islands are other attractions.

Name origin

Te Whanga-a-Reipae - The Waiting Place of Reipae. Whangarei’s name stems from the Mäori legend of the beautiful wahine (Reitu) Reipae. Reitu and Reipae were twins from a powerwful Waikato family. They flew north on the legendary falcon, Te Karearea, to visit a handsome young Ngapuhi chief Ueoneone. Marriage to the twin sisters would strengthen tribal alliances between Waikato and Ngapuhi tribes. On the trip north the sisters fought over sharing Ueoneone and when they got to Onerahirahi (Onerahi), Reipae claiming to be ill, asked to rest for a time, and further remarks made by sister Reitu resulted in Reipae standing aside from their goal to share Ueoneone. Reitu continued alone to Ueoneone’s Te Tomo pa, marrying the chieftain while Reipae stayed in Onerahi waiting on her family who were travelling overland. Later Reipae married a local chieftain and Whangarei Harbour was named after her – the original name being Te Whanga-a-Reipae (The Harbour of Reipae) - where Reipae waited for her people.

Profile areas
Whangarei District Council

Settlement history

Whangarei was a bustling Mäori settlement well before Captain Cook landed in New Zealand. During the Mäori wars, it became a gathering place for northern war parties as they prepared to voyage south in their war canoes (waka). The Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the Mäori and the British Queen’s representative in 1840. Whangarei grew in the role of a northern trading post for early European settlers. Trade revolved around kauri timber and gum, coal, grain and dairy farming, and building industries including bricks and ship building.


State Highway 1 runs through Whangarei linking from Cape Reinga in the Far North, then passing through Kaipara District on its way to Auckland. State Highway 14 from Dargaville meets Highway one in Whangarei. There is rail between Whangarei and Auckland though it is limited to freight. Bus services provide passenger transport. The Whangarei Airport is 7.4 kms southeast of the city. Marsden Point, to the south of Whangarei is home to the port of Northport.

Major features

Many of the major features of Whangarei revolve around its cultural and natural heritage. Mount Parihaka overlooks the city and was the largest Māori Pa in New Zealand. Parts of the fortified village are still visible. Closeby, are the picturesque Whangarei Falls. The coastline is dotted with beaches and outstanding walks. Just off the coast are the Poor Knights, a cluster of islands which are a world renowned marine reserve.

Included areas

Whangarei Districts level two small areas are Abbey Caves-Glenbervie, Bream Bay, Bream Head, Granfield Reserve, Hikurangi, Kamo Central, Kamo East, Kamo West, Kauri, Kensington (Whangarei District), Kiripaka, Mairtown, Mangakahia-Hukerenui, Marsden Bay, Matapouri-Tutukaka, Matarau, Maungatapere, Maunu-Horahora, Morningside (Whangarei District), Ngunguru, Oakleigh-Mangapai, Onerahi, Onerahi Park, Otaika-Portland, Otangarei. Parua Bay, Pataua, Port-Limeburners, Pukenui, Raumanga, Riverside, Ruakaka, Sherwood Rise, Tarewa, Tikipunga North, Tikipunga South, Waipu, Whangarei Central, Whangaruru, Whau Valley, Woodhill-Vinetown.