|Territorial Authority||Whangarei District|
|Pre 1989||Whangarei County|
|• Mayor||Cheryl Mai|
|Time zone||NZST (UTC+12)|
|• Summer (DST)||NZDT (UTC+13)|
Ruakaka is a small township in the north of New Zealand approximately 30 kilometres south of Whangarei in the Bream Bay area. Originally a small beachside community, Ruakaka has seen development due to its proximity to the expansion of the country's only oil refinery at Marsden Point during the 1980s. A recently established timber processing plant at Marsden Point has further stimulated growth.
The population of the Marsden Point-Ruakaka statistical area was 3,543 in the 2013 Census, an increase of 885 from 2001.
Ruakaka is a combination of the two words rua and kaka, rua being a Maori word for "two" and kaka a native parrot (Nestor meridionalis).
The general area is made up of Ruakaka Beach, Ruakaka Township and Marsden Point. Other Bream Bay localities such as One Tree Point, Takahiwai and even Waipu are often included in general conversation regarding the area. (Latitude -35.8833, Longitude 174.4000)
Ruakaka Beach lies near the mouth of the Ruakaka River which boasts a rare bird reserve and popular Summer camping ground. It is primarily a residential area made up of a mixture of permanent homes and beach shacks.
The Ruakaka Township was developed off the back of the Marsden Point Oil Refinery expansion in the 1980s where services were required to support the large influx of workers from all over the world involved in the project. A government requirement for a percentage of revenue invested in the project to be spent on the local community allowed for provision of services not common in communities this size (e.g. squash courts, sports grounds).
The Marsden Power Station Village was built to support the Marsden Power Stations (A & B) which have since been decommissioned. The area is now promoted as beachside living.
The region's geographical location results in warm humid summers and mild winters. Typical summer temperatures range from 22 °C to 26 °C (72 °F to 79 °F). Ground frosts are virtually unknown. The hottest months are January and February. Typical annual rainfall for the region is 1500 – 2000 mm. Winds year-round are predominantly from the southwest.
The area of Ruakaka is located in Bream Bay which was named by Captain Cook during his first voyage to New Zealand when he visited the region on 25 November 1769. It was named due to the ease of capture of 90-100 bream fish soon after anchoring.
Both schools are coeducational and have a decile rating of 4.
Ruakaka School opened in 1898 in North Ruakaka. Until 1916 it was a half-time school sharing a teacher with Mata School. The school moved to its present site in 1912. Bream Bay College started in 1972 as a Forms 3-7 (years 9-13) school on the site of Waipu District High School. It moved to Ruakaka in February 1974 and expanded to include Forms 1 and 2 (years 7-8).
Attractions and landmarks
The following is a list of tourist attractions and landmarks in the Ruakaka Local Area.
- Ruakaka Race Course
- New Zealand Oil Refinery Visitors Centre
- Waipu Golf Course
- Waipu Pizza Barn
- Jandals Restaurant
- Ruakaka Kitesports
- Ruakaka Holiday Park previously Ruakaka Reserve Motor Camp
A branch line railway to Marsden Point from Oakleigh on the North Auckland Line has recently been proposed. This Marsden Point Branch will primarily serve freight interests, but the Northland Regional Land Transport Committee has suggested that passenger trains for commuters between Ruakaka and Whangarei are a long-term option.
- "Forestry and Wood Processing". Enterprise Northland.
- Quickstats about Marsden Point-Ruakaka
- "Te Kete Ipurangi - Bream Bay College". Ministry of Education.
- "Te Kete Ipurangi - Ruakaka School". Ministry of Education.
- Richards, Judy (1984). Ruakaka (A Brief History). pp. 77–80, 84.
- Gordon, Charles MacNeill (Mac) (2002). "Education Always a Priority". Pride of the Lion: Waipu - the People and the Place. pp. 209–221. ISBN 0-473-08890-8.
- "All aboard for Ruakaka", Whangarei Leader, 21 February 2006.