Coordinates: 35°56′S 173°53′E / 35.933°S 173.883°E / -35.933; 173.883
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tunatahi (Māori)
Victoria Street in Dargaville (2015)
Victoria Street in Dargaville (2015)
Heart of the Kauri Coast
Coordinates: 35°56′18″S 173°52′18″E / 35.93833°S 173.87167°E / -35.93833; 173.87167
CountryNew Zealand
RegionNorthland Region
DistrictKaipara District
WardDargaville Ward
 • Territorial AuthorityKaipara District Council
 • Regional councilNorthland Regional Council
 • Total12.86 km2 (4.97 sq mi)
 (June 2023)[2]
 • Total5,130
 • Density400/km2 (1,000/sq mi)

Dargaville (Māori: Tunatahi or Tākiwira[3]) is a town located in the North Island of New Zealand. It is situated on the bank of the Northern Wairoa River in the Kaipara District of the Northland region. Dargaville is located 55 kilometres (34 mi) southwest of Whangārei, and 174 kilometres (108 mi) north of Auckland.

Dargaville is noted for the high proportion of residents of Croatian descent.[4] The area around it is one of the chief regions in the country for cultivating kumara (sweet potato) and so Dargaville is known by many locals as the "Kumara capital" of New Zealand.[5]

History and culture[edit]

Gumdigger statue at Dargaville

The town was named after timber merchant and politician Joseph Dargaville (1837–1896).[6] Dargaville was founded in 1872,[7] during the 19th-century kauri gum and timber trade; it briefly[when?] had New Zealand's largest population.

Dargaville was made a borough in 1908.[5]

The area became known for a thriving industry that included gum digging and kauri logging, which was based mainly at Te Kōpuru, several kilometres south of Dargaville on the banks of the Northern Wairoa river. The river was used to transport the huge logs downstream to shipbuilders and as a primary means of transport to Auckland. Dalmatian migrants were particularly prominent in the kauri gum extraction.[8] After the gum and forestry industries started to decline after 1920, farming, especially dairy became a significant contributor to the economy.[5]

The Wairoa River was the main method of transport around Dargaville until the 1940s.[9]

Horses last raced at the Dargaville racecourse in 2016. A proposal in 2022 was submitted to redevelop the racecourse into 450 homes.[10] This private plan change was accepted by the Kaipara Council and released for public consultation in July 2022.[11]

The Bank of New Zealand closed its Dargaville branch in 2020.[12] Dargaville was without a local dentist in 2023.[13][14] The Dargaville Town Hall had to be closed and partially demolished in 2023 following damage sustained during Cyclone Gabrielle.[15]


Statistics New Zealand describes Dargaville as a small urban centre. It covers 12.86 km2 (4.97 sq mi)[1] and had an estimated population of 5,130 as of June 2023,[2] with a population density of 399 people per km2.

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: [16]

Before the 2023 census, the town had a smaller boundary, covering 12.56 km2 (4.85 sq mi).[1] Using that boundary, Dargaville had a population of 4,794 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 543 people (12.8%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 339 people (7.6%) since the 2006 census. There were 1,812 households, comprising 2,325 males and 2,469 females, giving a sex ratio of 0.94 males per female. The median age was 44.1 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 936 people (19.5%) aged under 15 years, 840 (17.5%) aged 15 to 29, 1,785 (37.2%) aged 30 to 64, and 1,233 (25.7%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 70.7% European/Pākehā, 35.7% Māori, 7.4% Pacific peoples, 4.4% Asian, and 1.4% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 13.3, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people chose not to answer the census's question about religious affiliation, 41.1% had no religion, 43.9% were Christian, 3.9% had Māori religious beliefs, 0.9% were Hindu, 0.4% were Muslim, 0.1% were Buddhist and 1.1% had other religions.

Of those at least 15 years old, 282 (7.3%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 1,161 (30.1%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $22,200, compared with $31,800 nationally. 267 people (6.9%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 1,440 (37.3%) people were employed full-time, 549 (14.2%) were part-time, and 171 (4.4%) were unemployed.[16]


Boats moored near central Dargaville

The nearby Ripiro Beach has the longest unbroken stretches of sand beach in New Zealand, and is largely drivable from one end to the other. This beach is home of the famous local shellfish delicacy called the toheroa. Overexploitation in the 1950s and 1960s caused the population of the shellfish to decline enough that public gathering of the shellfish is now prohibited.[17]

Dargaville is also the gateway to the Waipoua Forest, a protected national park and home of the biggest specimens of Kauri tree in New Zealand, Tāne Mahuta (Māori, meaning "Lord of the Forest") being chief amongst them.

Dargaville is situated by the Wairoa River, with boat moorings adjacent to the town centre. The river is tidal when it passes through Dargaville.


Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as oceanic (Cfb) with warm summers and mild winters.[18]

Climate data for Dargaville (66m, 1991-2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 23.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 19.3
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 15.2
Average precipitation mm (inches) 64.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 231.3 192.2 193.1 162.6 145.4 128.4 136.9 151.4 163.3 184.1 197.6 194.4 2,080.7
Source: [19]


Hokianga Road, one of the main roads in Dargaville township


Dargaville hospital is located at 77 Awakino Road. It provides a 12 bed general medical ward, a 4 bed post-natal maternity unit. It also provides emergency, radiology, laboratory, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work and district nursing services . An eight bed detoxification ward is also located on site. Doctors from Whangārei Hospital also run outpatient clinics at Dargaville hospital.[20][21]


Dargaville is on the junction of State Highways 12 and 14.


North of the town, the Donnellys Crossing Section railway was established to provide access to other logging activities. The first portion of this line was opened in 1889, it reached its greatest extent in 1923, and after operating isolated from the national rail network for decades, it was connected with the North Auckland Line by the Dargaville Branch in 1940. The Donnelly's Crossing Section closed in 1959, but the Dargaville Branch remains in use by a tourist venture, having had freight services withdrawn by KiwiRail since October 2014.[22]


The Dargaville aerodrome is located on the banks of the Northern Wairoa River just south of the town of Dargaville.


The area around Dargaville is now predominantly a farming region and supports extensive dairy, beef, and sheep farms, as well as a thriving plantation forest industry. The Silver Fern Farms meat processing plant is located on Tuna Street. It employed 300 staff in 2021.[23]


The Kai Iwi lakes are 25 kilometres north of the town, and the Pouto Peninsula is located to the south of Dargaville.


Baylys Beach is the local beach, just 13 kilometres from the township, and offers over 90 kilometres of rugged west coast surf.

Swimming pool[edit]

The Kauri Coast community swimming pool is located at 8 Onslow Street.[24] The 50 metre outdoor swimming pool was built in 2010 at a cost of $6 million[25] and was damaged in 2011 with a large bulge and crack in the middle of it as a result of removing the weight of the water.[26]

Golf course[edit]

The Northern Wairoa Golf Club (NWGC) is located at 819 Baylys Coast Road. It is an 18 hole par 72 layout.[27] The golf course provides sea views throughout. The fairways are lined with pohutakawa trees and are wide and open. The greens are large, well kept, and of moderate speed. All making NWGC an enjoyable layout and playable course.[28]


The Kaipara District Council provides local government services for Dargaville. They are located at 32 Hokianga road.[29] The Northland Regional Council provides regional government services for Dargaville. They also operate out of the same building at 32 Hokianga road which cost $9.2 million and opened in 2022.[30] Dargaville is part of the Northland electorate for the New Zealand parliament.[31]


Dargaville museum[edit]

The Dargaville Museum Te Whare Taonga o Tunatahi is located in Harding Park (32 Mt Wesley Coast Road, Dargaville). The museum focuses on local history including exhibitions of Maori history, early European pioneers, industrial and maritime history. Exhibits include a 16 metre long Māori Waka and a display hall showcasing the history of the Gum diggers The museum also has a research library and archives.[9]

The former Aratapu public library building is part of the Dargaville museum exhibition space. This building is listed as a category 2 historic place with Heritage New Zealand and was built in 1874. The building was relocated to Harding Park and restored by volunteers. It was built in a neo-classical style made from timber. It previously served as a school house, a library and a post office.[32]

Dargaville library[edit]

The Dargaville library is located at 71 Normanby street.[33]

Muddy Waters gallery[edit]

Municipal Chambers, Now housing the Muddy Waters Gallery

The Dargaville Arts Association repurposed the Dargaville Municipal Chambers as an art gallery called the Muddy Waters Gallery.[34]


Te Houhanga Marae and Rāhiri meeting house is a traditional meeting place for Te Roroa and the Ngāti Whātua hapū of Te Kuihi and Te Roroa.[35][36]


The Dargaville Little Theatre is an amateur theatre company located at 241 Victoria Street.[37] Many shows have been put on at the theatre.[38]


The ANZAC Theatre is located at 37 Hokianga Road. It opened in 2013.[39] Prior to 2013, Dargaville did not have a cinema for more than 30 years. The cinema is based in the library space in the former War Memorial Town Hall.[40]

Notable buildings[edit]

Holy Trinity church[edit]

Holy Trinity Church, Dargaville

The Holy Trinity church is an Anglican church that was built around 1878. It was designed by Edward Mahoney & Sons architectural practice. The church is a listed with Heritage New Zealand as a category two historic place.[41]

River Road historic area[edit]

Nine houses (7 to 27 River Road) are listed with Heritage New Zealand as a historic area.[42] Marriner house (61 River Road) is also listed as a category two historic place being built in 1845.[43] The Commercial Hotel (73–77 River Road)[44] and cottages at 143 River Road[45] and 145 River Road[46] are also category two historic places.


Dargaville High School is a secondary (years 9–13) school with a roll of 312 students.[47] The school opened in 1921, but was destroyed by fire in 1937 and rebuilt the following year.[48] Dargaville Intermediate is an intermediate (years 7–8) school with a roll of 150 students.[49]

Dargaville Primary School

Dargaville Primary School and Selwyn Park School are contributing primary (years 1–6) schools with rolls of 383 students[50] and 128 students[51] respectively. Dargaville Primary was established by 1877. In 1879, it had a roll of 16, which grew to 155 in 1899.[52] Selwyn Park celebrated its 50th Jubilee in 2008.[53]

St Joseph's School is a full primary (years 1–8) school with a roll of 96 students.[54] It is a state integrated Catholic school.[55]

All these schools are coeducational. Rolls are as of February 2024.[56]

NorthTec polytechnic also has a campus in Dargaville.[57]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "ArcGIS Web Application". statsnz.maps.arcgis.com. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Subnational population estimates (RC, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (regional councils); "Subnational population estimates (TA, SA2), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (territorial authorities); "Subnational population estimates (urban rural), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996-2023 (2023 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2023. (urban areas)
  3. ^ "Tākiwira – te Aka Māori Dictionary".
  4. ^ "Dargaville | NZHistory, New Zealand history online". nzhistory.govt.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Dargaville and the Northern Wairoa". teara.govt.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  6. ^ Discover New Zealand:A Wises Guide (9th ed.). 1994. p. 15.
  7. ^ Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Dargaville, Joseph McMullen". teara.govt.nz. Retrieved 28 November 2021.
  8. ^ "Dalmatians making their mark 150 years on". Stuff (Dargaville News). 31 January 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  9. ^ a b "Dargaville Museum". NZ Museums. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  10. ^ "Neighbours want $450m Dargaville racecourse proposal ditched". NZ Herald. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  11. ^ "Kaipara Council decision on Private Plan Change 81 triggers formal RMA process". www.voxy.co.nz. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  12. ^ "From glory days to gone – BNZ bails out of Dargaville". NZ Herald. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  13. ^ "Kaipara residents forced to travel as town continues to go without a dentist". NZ Herald. 21 November 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  14. ^ "Dargaville couple take matters into own hands in quest for town dentist". Newshub. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  15. ^ "Leaky, mouldy Dargaville Town Hall to close from Monday". NZ Herald. 21 November 2023. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  16. ^ a b "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Dargaville (109300). 2018 Census place summary: Dargaville
  17. ^ Carbery, Sara. "Te Kaitiaki Toheroa". Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Climate: Dargaville – Climate graph, Temperature graph, Climate table". Climate-Data.org. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  19. ^ "Welcome to the Climate Database". NIWA. Retrieved 18 May 2024.
  20. ^ "Dargaville Hospital, 77 Awakino Road, Dargaville • Healthpoint". www.healthpoint.co.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  21. ^ "Dargaville Hospital | Northland DHB". www.northlanddhb.org.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  22. ^ Annette Lamby (2 November 2015). "Rail cart venture ready to roll in Dargaville". Stuff. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Meat works losing 'millions' through staff shortages". NZ Herald. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  24. ^ Journey Digital Ltd. "Kauri Coast Community Swimming Pool". www.clmnz.co.nz. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  25. ^ "Pool puts Dargaville in the fast lane". NZ Herald. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  26. ^ "Dargaville pool 'seriously damaged'". Stuff. 11 October 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  27. ^ "North Golf". www.harbourgolf.co.nz. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  28. ^ "Kauri Coast – Golf Courses". www.kauricoast.co.nz. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  29. ^ "Contact Us, Kaipara District Council". www.kaipara.govt.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  30. ^ Council, Northland Regional. "New $9.2M Dargaville council base opens – Northland Regional Council". www.nrc.govt.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  31. ^ "Northland – Electorate Profile – New Zealand Parliament". www.parliament.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  32. ^ "Search the List | Aratapu Public Library (Former) | Heritage New Zealand". www.heritage.org.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  33. ^ "KAIPARA". ent.kotui.org.nz. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  34. ^ "WELCOME". DARGAVILLE ARTS ASSOCIATION INC. Retrieved 16 September 2022.
  35. ^ "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". tkm.govt.nz. Te Puni Kōkiri.
  36. ^ "Māori Maps". maorimaps.com. Te Potiki National Trust.
  37. ^ "HOME | Dargaville Little Theatre". DLT website. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  38. ^ "WW1 play based on actual events in Dargaville". Stuff. 27 May 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  39. ^ "ABOUT US". ANZAC Theatre. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  40. ^ "Anzac Theatre (Dargaville)". Cinemas of New Zealand. Retrieved 15 November 2022.
  41. ^ "Search the List | Holy Trinity Church (Anglican) | Heritage New Zealand". www.heritage.org.nz. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  42. ^ "Search the List | River Road Historic Area | Heritage New Zealand". www.heritage.org.nz. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  43. ^ "Search the List | Marriner House | Heritage New Zealand". www.heritage.org.nz. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  44. ^ "Search the List | Commercial Hotel | Heritage New Zealand". www.heritage.org.nz. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  45. ^ "Search the List | Cottage | Heritage New Zealand". www.heritage.org.nz. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  46. ^ "Search the List | Cottage | Heritage New Zealand". www.heritage.org.nz. Retrieved 19 November 2022.
  47. ^ Education Counts: Dargaville High School
  48. ^ Ryburn, Wayne (1999). Tall Spars, Steamers & Gum. Auckland, N.Z.: Kaipara Publications. p. 165. ISBN 0-473-06176-7.
  49. ^ Education Counts: Dargaville Intermediate School
  50. ^ Education Counts: Dargaville Primary School
  51. ^ Education Counts: Selwyn Park School
  52. ^ Ryburn, p 222
  53. ^ "Selwyn Park pupils, past and present, celebrate 50 years". Northern Advocate. 1 May 2008.
  54. ^ Education Counts: St Joseph's School
  55. ^ "Principal's Message". St Joseph's School. Archived from the original on 14 October 2008.
  56. ^ "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 14 March 2024.
  57. ^ "Dargaville". NorthTec. Archived from the original on 5 June 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  58. ^ Obituary: Amelia Batistich, 2004, Life & Stylem NZ Herald News, Retrieved 30 April 2016
  59. ^ "Mr R. E. Hornblow". The New Zealand Herald. Vol. LXXIV, no. 22866. 22 October 1937. p. 14. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  60. ^ Hooker, Garry; Parore, Robert. "Louis Wellington Parore". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  61. ^ "Greek theme a real ball". Dargaville News. 31 January 2009.
  62. ^ "List of Paralympians". Archived from the original on 22 January 2016.
  63. ^ "Home". www.richard-hammond.com.

External links[edit]

35°56′S 173°53′E / 35.933°S 173.883°E / -35.933; 173.883