Helensville is a town in the North Island of New Zealand. It is sited 40 kilometres northwest of Auckland, close to the southern extremity of the Kaipara Harbour. State Highway 16 passes through the town, connecting it to Waimauku 16 km to the south, and Kaukapakapa about 12 km to the north-east. Parakai is 2 km to the north-west. The Kaipara River runs through the town and into the Kaipara Harbour to the north.
The area around Helensville was originally called Te Awaroa, meaning "The long path" or "The long river valley". The first European settlers in the district were Scottish timber millers named McLeod but who had actually come from Nova Scotia to New Zealand. John McLeod built a house which he named "Helen's Villa" in honour of his wife, and the name soon became that of the surrounding settlement.
Initial development of the town was around the kauri milling industry, but by the start of the 20th century dairying was becoming of increasing importance. It was also becoming somewhat of a tourist centre, owing to the presence of hot springs 3 km to the west of the town at Parakai.
A lot of the early history of Helensville is described in the book "Men Came Voyaging" written by Colleen Sheffield who lost her life in a bus accident before the book was completed.
Although it is no longer a forestry or dairy centre, the town is still a tourist attraction, largely because of its many historic buildings, the Hot Springs at Parakai and the Parakai Aerodrome, and its proximity to Auckland. It has also seen positive effects from the nearby wine producing region around Kumeu, 20 km to the south. There are also an increasing number of lifestyle blocks in the area.
Kaipara College is a secondary (years 9-15) school with a decile rating of 7 and a roll of 650. The school began as Helensville District High School in 1924, and changed its name to Kaipara College in 1959.
Tau Te Arohanoa Akoranga is a composite (years 1-12) school with a decile rating of 7 and a roll of 44. It is a private school offering a Christian-based education, operating from the Helensville Rugby Clubrooms.
All these schools are coeducational.
Helensville also had a Community Education scheme in association with Kaipara College called the Rodney Community Learning Centre serving early school leavers and mature students. This consisted of two small Tertiary Education Commission-funded sites, one in Helensville and another one in Wellsford. This however closed down at the end of 2005.
With the withdrawal of the regular train service the only public transport between Helensville and Auckland City is currently via buses to and from Westgate shopping centre in Waitakere City then on by rail or bus to Auckland City. However, at rush hours an express bus operates to Downtown.
- Peter Dowling (editor) (2004). Reed New Zealand Atlas. Reed Books. map 11. ISBN 0-7900-0952-8.
- Roger Smith, GeographX (2005). The Geographic Atlas of New Zealand. Robbie Burton. map 34. ISBN 1-877333-20-4.
- Quickstats about Helensville
- "Te Kete Ipurangi - Kaipara College". Ministry of Education.
- "Kaipara College - ISSCC". International Student Services Center Corporation. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
- "Te Kete Ipurangi - Helensville School". Ministry of Education.
- "Helensville Primary School". Helensville Primary School. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
- "Te Kete Ipurangi - Tau Te Arohanoa Akoranga". Ministry of Education.
- "Education Review Report - Tau Te Arohanoa Akoranga". Education Review Office. September 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-23.[dead link]
- Helensville Online
- Kaipara College website
- Helensville School website
- Helensville & District Historical Society
- Parakai website