Katikati (population 3,579 at 2006 census) is a town located on the Uretara Stream near a tidal inlet towards the northern end of Tauranga Harbour, 28 kilometres south of Waihi and 40 kilometres northwest of Tauranga. State Highway 2 currently passes through the town; a bypass originally scheduled to have begun construction in 2008 is presently on hold.
Katikati was settled in 1875 by settlers from County Tyrone in Ireland through the Orange Institution. The settlement was established by the Irishman George Vesey Stewart, who led two groups of settlers there aboard the ships Carisbrook Castle (1875) and Lady Jocelyn (1878). The land upon which the town was built was confiscated from local Māori after the Land Wars and was given to the settlers by the Central Government.
The settlement was formed from two distinct groups "the settlers useful and the settlers ornamental" referring to the tenant farmers and those with wealth. The settlement managed to withstand early economic problems and developed into a healthy town, based around farming and agriculture.
Katikati is known for its many murals painted on walls of commercial buildings, started in the 1990s as a project to regenerate tourist interest in the town and district, indeed the effort was recognised with the bestowal of New Zealand's 'Most Beautiful Small Town' award for towns of less than 8,000 population in 2005 by the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Society.
Middle school education is provided by Katikati College (Years 7 -13). Katikati Primary School (Years 1 - 6) and Matahui Road School (Years 1 - 8) supply primary education.