Cambridge, New Zealand

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Cambridge is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 37°53′S 175°28′E / 37.883°S 175.467°E / -37.883; 175.467Coordinates: 37°53′S 175°28′E / 37.883°S 175.467°E / -37.883; 175.467
Country New Zealand
Region Waikato
Territorial authority Waipa District
Population (June 2016)[1]
 • Total 19,600

Cambridge (Māori: Kemureti) is a town in the Waipa District of the Waikato Region of the North Island of New Zealand. Situated 24 kilometres southeast of Hamilton, on the banks of the Waikato River, Cambridge is known as "The Town of Trees & Champions". The town has a population of 19,600,[1] making it the largest town in the Waipa District, and third largest urban area in the Waikato (after Hamilton and Taupo).


Hamilton, Puketaha & Cambridge war memorials

Prior to the arrival of Europeans there were a number of in the vicinity of what would become Cambridge.[2] In the 1850s missionaries and farmers from Britain settled in the area and introduced modern farming practices to local Māori, helping them set up two flour mills and importing grinding wheels from England and France.[citation needed] During the 1850s wheat was a profitable cash crop but when merchants in Auckland began purchasing cheaper grain from Australia the market went into decline.[citation needed]

The European town of Cambridge was established when the 3rd Regiment of the Waikato Militia were settled there in 1864 following the Invasion of the Waikato. The town was named after Prince George, Duke of Cambridge, the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army at the time.[3]


National sports headquarters

Cambridge and nearby Lake Karapiro have become the homes for national sports organisations such as cycling (track, road, mountain biking and BMX), rowing, triathlon and as high performance centres for kayaking and canoeing.[4]


The national Home of Cycling, the Avantidrome, was opened by Prince William and Princess Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, on 12 April 2014.[5] In December 2015, Cambridge hosted the 2015–16 UCI Track Cycling World Cup. There are also many cycle and walking tracks that have been purpose built around Cambridge. The Te Awa River Ride [6] currently has two paths open which are excellent for cyclists and walkers. The purpose built track runs from the center of Cambridge out to the Avantidrome and follows the beautiful Waikato river. There is also a wide cycleway running from Leaminton to Lake Karapiro Domain which is perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

Thoroughbred horse studs

The town is now well known for its Thoroughbred studs and stables, which have produced many champion horses in the sports of racing and show jumping. Cambridge is popularly known as the 'equine capital' of New Zealand.[7] Internationally known thoroughbred studs in the area include:


Lake Karapiro, recognised as one of the premium rowing lakes in the world, is close by, producing several world rowing champions, notably Rob Waddell and the Evers-Swindell twins, Georgina and Caroline, Mahé Drysdale and James Dallinger. The 2010 World Rowing Championships were held at Lake Karapiro.

Rugby Union

Cambridge is home to two clubs, Hautapu Sports Club, founded in 1903, and Leamington Rugby Sports Club, founded in 1897.


Cambridge is home to Cambridge FC who were the 2015 Waikato Bay of Plenty Premiership champions, and Waipa Sports Club of the Year in 2014 and 2015.[8]


Cambridge lies adjacent to State Highway 1, which connects the town with Hamilton in the northwest and Tauranga, Rotorua and Taupo in the southeast. Access to Cambridge from the north is via the Cambridge Road and Victoria Road interchanges, and from the south is via the Tirau Road interchange. Prior to the Waikato Expressway extension opening in December 2015, SH 1 ran through the centre of Cambridge.

State Highway 1B leaves SH 1 at the Victoria Road interchange and provides a route north to SH 1 at Taupiri, providing a route north towards Auckland while bypassing Hamilton to the east.

The nearest airport is Hamilton Airport (New Zealand) which is 18 minutes drive from Cambridge and provides daily flights to all New Zealand's main centres. [9]

A public bus service connects Cambridge with central Hamilton via Tamahere and Waikato University several times daily.[10]

Cambridge was formerly the terminus of the Cambridge Branch railway, but this closed beyond Hautapu in 1999.


Nationally, Cambridge is part of the Taupō general electorate and the Hauraki-Waikato Māori electorate.[11]


Industry and employment[edit]

Cambridge's main sources of employment and income come from dairy farming, tourism, the equine industry and sport. Dairy farming provides more than one in 10 jobs[12] in the Waipa District. The tourism industry supports 12.7% of jobs in Waipa District[13] The equine industry provides more than 600 jobs in the Waikato,with many based in and around Cambridge.[14] It is estimated that one in five Cambridge residents work in nearby Hamilton.[15]


Cambridge and the surrounding district is host to many sporting, cultural and trade events. World events have included the 2010 World Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro and the 2015–16 UCI Track Cycling World Cup held in December 2015. More than 120,000 visitors attend the National Agricultural Fieldays[16] every June at the Mystery Creek Events Centre between Cambridge and Hamilton.

Every summer, Lake Karapiro hosts the Waka Ama Sprint National Championships and the hydroplane racing as part of the New Zealand Grand Prix Circuit. In February, the Keyte Watson Polo Tournament takes place at Leamington, Cambridge. Every March, Cambridge holds its four-day Autumn Festival and in December, a Christmas Festival (including a town parade) takes place.[17]


Switch FM is a local radio station.

Cambridge also has a local newspaper called the Cambridge Edition. [18]

Notable residents[edit]

Past or present residents include:

Cambridge was also the birthplace of All Black Sir Colin Meads KNZM MBE; George Albert Tuck (1884–1981), a notable New Zealand builder, soldier and diarist; artist Frances Irwin Hunt 1890–1981) and educationalist Blanche Eleanor Carnachan, MBE, (1871-1954).


  1. ^ a b "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2016 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016.  For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-16 (2017 boundary)". Statistics New Zealand. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Discover Cambridge: Maoritanga
  3. ^ Parker, Eris. "Military - Third Waikato Militia". Cambridge Museum. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Canoe Racing High Performance Centre set for Karapiro". NZ Herald. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  5. ^ "History of the Avantidrome". Home of Cycling Charitable Trust. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "About Cambridge". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  8. ^ "History of Cambridge FC". Cambridge Football Club. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  9. ^ "Getting around". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  10. ^ "Busit!: Cambridge 20". Waikato Regional Council. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "Find my electorate". Electoral Commission. Retrieved 19 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Dairy farming provides more than a tenth of all Waipa jobs.". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  13. ^ "New statistics highlight tourism value to Waikato region.". Hamilton and Waikato Tourism. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  14. ^ "Cambridge is "Equine Capital of New Zealand".". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  15. ^ "The People of Cambridge.". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 
  16. ^ "National Fieldays". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  17. ^ "Annual events". Cambridge Information Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2016. 
  18. ^


  • Reed, A. W. (2002). The Reed Dictionary of New Zealand Place Names. Auckland: Reed Books. ISBN 0-7900-0761-4. 

External links[edit]