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Hawera from the Water Tower
Hawera from the Water Tower
Hawera is located in Taranaki Region
Coordinates: 39°35′36″S 174°16′42″E / 39.59333°S 174.27833°E / -39.59333; 174.27833
Country New Zealand
Region Taranaki
District South Taranaki District
 • Mayor Ross Dunlop
(June 2018)
 • Total 12,150
The water tower at Hawera

Hawera (Maori: "Hāwera") is the second-largest town in the Taranaki region of New Zealand's North Island, with a population of 12,150.[1] It is near the coast of the South Taranaki Bight.


Hawera is 75 kilometres south of New Plymouth on State Highway 3 and 30 minutes' drive from Mount Taranaki. It is located on State Highway 45, known as Surf Highway 45 for its numerous surf beaches. State Highway 45 passes through Manaia, Opunake and Oakura en route to New Plymouth. Kaponga is a 20-minute drive to the north-west. The Marton–New Plymouth Line railway passes through Hawera and has served the town since 1 August 1881, though it has been freight-only since the cancellation of the last railcar passenger service between Wellington and New Plymouth on 30 July 1977.

Hāwera is Māori for "burnt place", from fighting between two local sub-tribes, which culminated in the setting ablaze of the sleeping whare (house) of the tribe under attack.[2] The name became apt when the town suffered extensive blazes in 1884, 1888, and 1912.[3] For this reason a large water tower was built in the centre of town to increase water pressure; and this became one of Taranaki's best-known landmarks (appearing, for example, on the cover of the 1974 telephone directory). After falling into disrepair the tower was closed to the public in 2001, but after an extensive restoration program it opened again in 2004.[1]

Hawera is also home to Tawhiti Museum,[4] well known for its hand-crafted life-sized wax sculptures depicting scenes of local heritage and history, and its scale models of local Maori pa.[5]

Coordinates: 39°35′S 174°17′E / 39.583°S 174.283°E / -39.583; 174.283


The Whareroa dairy factory, 4 km south-southwest of the township, is the largest dairy complex in the world in terms of output.[6] The complex is owned by Fonterra, having been built by the former Kiwi Co-operative Dairies Limited (whose original plant opened on that site in 1975). During peak season, the complex employs 1,000 people and processes up to 14 million litres of milk per day. Electricity and heat used at Whareroa is generated by an on-site gas-fired power plant, with excess electricity fed into the national grid.[7]


Hawera Primary School was established in 1875. It developed into a District High School in 1901. The current high school opened as Hawera Technical High School in 1919, and moved to its present site in 1921.[8] The intermediate school opened in 1961.[9]

The Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki has a campus in Hawera,[10] established in 1990.[11]

Hawera High School is a secondary (years 9-13) school with a roll of approximately 698. Hawera Intermediate is an intermediate (years 7-8) school with a roll of 283.[12]

Hawera Primary School, Ramanui School, Tawhiti School and Turuturu School are contributing primary (years 1-6) schools with rolls of 219, 71, 307 and 251 respectively.[12] Hawera Primary celebrated its 125th jubilee in 2000.[13] Ramanui school celebrated its 50th jubilee in 2003.[14]

Hawera Christian School and St Joseph's School are state integrated full primary (years 1-8) schools with rolls of 30 and 279 respectively.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ngati Ruanui is a full primary (years 1-8) school with a roll of 44. It is a Kura Kaupapa Māori school which teaches in the Māori language.

All these schools are coeducational.

Born in Hawera


  1. ^ "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2018 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-18 (2017 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  2. ^ Because of differing oral traditions, translations such as "breath of fire" and "burning plains" have also been offered. See "'HAWERA' From An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A.H. McLintock, originally published in 1966. Te Ara - The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, updated 18 September 2007". Retrieved 2008-01-01.
  3. ^ For a near-contemporary account of the damage these fires caused, see D. Nimmo Scott (c. 1895), Views of Hawera: before and after the fire, Hawera, [N.Z.]: D. Nimmo Scott; a more recent one is Arthur Fryer; Nigel Ogle (ill.) (2003), Hawera's on fire, Hawera, [N.Z.]: Hawera Historical Society. For details of Hawera's Fire Brigade, see Trevor N. Moore (1982), Hawera Fire Brigade, 1882-1982: a centennial history, Hawera, [N.Z.]: The Brigade
  4. ^ For an account of the Museum by the man who built it, see Nigel Ogle (199–?), Nigel Ogle's Tawhiti Museum, Hawera, [N.Z.]: The Museum Check date values in: |year= (help)
  5. ^ Perhaps Hawera's most famous example of a nineteenth-century Maori pa is the Turuturu-Mokai complex, on Turuturu Road. See John Houston (1958), Turuturu-Mokai: historic reserve near Hawera: an historical survey, Hawera, [N.Z.]: Hawera Star Print. For information upon a modern pa, see Gloria Kerehoma (1984), Commemorative centennial [i.e. centennial] booklet, 1884-1984, Hawera, [N.Z.]: Centennial Committee; Shore Print on Aotearoa Pa.
  6. ^ "Largest dairy factory in the world", Te Ara
  7. ^ The Whareroa Co-generation plant[permanent dead link], www.toddenergy.co.nz
  8. ^ Fryer, Arthur (1994), The Beginnings of Hawera High School, Hawera High School Jubilee Magazine, archived from the original on 14 October 2008
  9. ^ School Info, Hawera Intermediate, archived from the original on 14 October 2008
  10. ^ Campus Maps, Western Institute of Technology
  11. ^ WITT History, Western Institute of Technology
  12. ^ a b "Directory of Schools - as at 13 September 2018". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Jubilees & reunions - Hawera Primary School", Education Gazette New Zealand, 78 (10), 14 June 1999 [dead link]
  14. ^ "Ramanui Primary School 50th Jubilee", Education Gazette New Zealand, 82 (5), 24 March 2003 [dead link]
  15. ^ J A Strong. "Obituary" (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

External links

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