Ngaio, New Zealand

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Ngaio, Wellington, New Zealand from the Ngaio Hills.jpg
Ngaio, as seen from the hills above Ngaio.
Basic information
Local authority Wellington City
Electoral ward Onslow-Western
Date established 1908
Population 5,259 [1] (2006)
Postcode(s) 6035
Railway station(s) Ngaio, Awarua Street
North Mount Kaukau
East Khandallah
South Kaiwharawhara, Wadestown
West Crofton Downs

Ngaio /ˈn./ is an inner suburb of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. It is situated on the slopes of Mount Kaukau, 3500 metres north of the city's CBD. It was settled at the same time as the neighbouring suburb of Khandallah, and like its neighbour many of its streets are named after places on the Indian subcontinent. Ngaio was originally a logging community. Originally known as Crofton until 1908, the area was administratively part of a separate local authority called the Onslow Borough Council which amalgamated into Wellington City in 1919.

Ngaio takes its name from a New Zealand native tree, the Ngaio.


Ngaio contains a library, multi-purpose hall, pharmacy, petrol station, café, Plunket rooms, dentist, medical center, tennis courts and a variety of small shops.

Most of Ngaio's dwellings are large 1960s weatherboard houses. The Tarikaka Settlement is a small area of former railway cottages built in 1928 on Tarikaka Street, Bombay Street, Carroll Street, Khandallah Road, Ngata Street, Raihania Lane and Pomare Street.

Ngaio has had a number of notable inhabitants including James K Baxter and his family from the late 1950s until the 1980s.


Wellington City Libraries operates Cummings Park Library which is situated at the south entrance of Cummings Park on Ottawa Road. Opened in 1989, the library’s entrance is paved with 850 tiles made by local potters Paul Winspear and Paul Wotherspoon and decorated by children from Ngaio School and Chartwell Schools. The library’s Maori name is Korimako, named after the Korimako stream that runs through Ngaio.

Town hall[edit]

The Ngaio town hall offers a venue for community services, sports, performances, cultural and private events. The hall contains a stage, kitchen, drop in center and the Ngaio toy library. The hall has a capacity of 300 people and has an accessible entry ramp at the front. The hall was opened in 1924 and was renovated in 1989.

Groups that regularly use the hall include:

  • Onslow table tennis club
  • Onslow junior football club
  • Ngaio badminton club
  • Zumba


The suburb is served by the Johnsonville Branch commuter railway which connects it to the central city, and many bus routes going to Johnsonville stop on the main road. See Ngaio Railway Station.


Ngaio School is a coeducational contributing (years 1-6) state primary school, established in 1908. It has a roll of 467 and a Decile rating of 10.[2] The school does not have a uniform. Its school song is Tūrangawaewae, Māori for "A Place to Stand".


Ngaio has two churches. The Ngaio Union Church has modern buildings and serves the Methodist and Presbyterian community, whilst the Anglican All Saints Church is on a nearby hill, its distinctive brick tower visible from most places in the suburb. .



The area that modern day Ngaio occupies was originally called 'Tarikaka' by Maori, which means 'nest of the kaka', named after the noisy parrot that lived in the area. The area wasn't occupied by Maori, but there were many Maori tracks running through the area, including a track to the ancient Ohariu on Makara beach, which is today's Awarua Street.

Upper Kaiwharawhara[edit]

The area was named Upper Kaiwharawhara or Upper Kaiwarra in the 1840s by Captain Edward Daniell who purchased 2,500 acres from the NZ company after selling his commission. In 1845, Daniell built a house in the area near the current Terlissick Crescent and called it 'Trelissick" after his old family property in England. Daniell built the 'Bridle Trail' (currently called Old Porirua Road) from his property down through current Kaiwharawhara to the harbor. An agreement was made between Daniell and four sawyers in 1842 to allow them to build the Kaiwara saw mill on his property. The mill was built close to the present day junction of Crofton Road and Kenya Street. A recent subdivision built off Old Porirua road honored Daniell by naming the road leading to it 'Captain Edward Daniell Drive'.

The mill was taken over by John Chew in 1863, who built a cottage made of local totara, rimu and kauri. Chews Cottage still stands today at 19 Ottawa Road which is the now the main road in Ngaio after starting life as the track for John Chew's timber.


In 1858, the area was renamed Crofton, after the house built by Sir William Fox on Kenya Street (at the time called Daniell street). Sir William Fox eventually became New Zealand Premier on three separate occasions.

In 1863, school for boys, called Crofton College, was built and boys were taught by Mr W.L. Martin. The collage was later sold to Wilson Littlejohn, who would eventually become mayor of Onslow Borough Council. Crofton College is still occupied at 21 Kenya Street.

Toll gate dispute[edit]

The Kaiwara Road (also known as the Ngaio Gorge Road and Kaiwharawhara Road) was built in 1850 to allow for bullock trains to transport wool and wood. In the mid 1870s, the Hutt City Council constructed a toll gate at the harbor end of road, which was the only road in or out of the area. Funds collected from the gate - one shilling for vehicles and half for saddled horses, were supposed to be used to repair the road, however residents believed the toll was being used to pay for roads further north, such as the Rimutaka road, due to the poor condition of Kaiwara road.

The toll dispute started when a group of firemen were forced to pay the toll when returning from a fire. A petition was signed by 150 people, and a number of people ended up in court after refusing to pay the toll. The toll gate was destroyed twice by angry mobs until 1890 when the residents broke away from the Hutt City Council to form Onslow Borough Council, made up of Kaiwarra, Khandallah, Wadestown and Ngaio.[3]

Onslow Borough[edit]

Ngaio was part of the new Onslow Borough from 1890 until 1919, when the borough was amalgamated with Wellington City following a referendum on the 31st March 1919. [4]


Due to a suburb in Marton already being called 'Crofton', the suburb's name was changed to 'Ngaio' in August 1908. It is possible that Ngaio was chosen as the Ngaio tree was the symbol used by the local Kilmister family for their wool bales.

Ngaio school was first opened in 1908 above the Ngaio railway station. It was subsequently moved to Heke street in 1911 and finally it's present site in 1928.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°14′0″S 174°46′0″E / 41.23333°S 174.76667°E / -41.23333; 174.76667