Kamo, New Zealand

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Basic information
Local authority Whangarei
Population 7,038 (2013)
North Kauri
East Tikipunga
Southeast Otangarei
South Whau Valley
Kamo is located in New Zealand

Kamo is a small township north of Whangarei, approximately five minutes drive from the Whangarei CBD. The name is a Māori word meaning "eyelash",[1] but has also been said to mean "to bubble up", referring to hot springs in the area.[2] Mount Parakiore is a volcanic dome rising 391 m to the northwest of the town. It is about one million years old, and part of the Harbour Fault which also includes Mount Hikurangi near Hikurangi, and Parahaki in Whangarei.[3]

The population was 7,038 in the 2013 Census.[4]


Coal mining was an early industry in the area. Tunnelling first started in 1875, but it was not practical to carry the coal over the unmetalled roads to Whangarei wharf. In 1882 a short railway line was completed between Kamo and Whangarei to carry the coal.[5] This was one of Northland's first railways. The railway still exists as part of the North Auckland Line. The mine closed in 1955, with the seams worked out.[6] Limonite was also quarried at Kamo.[7]

A Wesleyan church was built in 1881, the Anglican All Saints Church in 1886, and a Presbyterian church in 1911.[8] The first Roman Catholic church in the Whangarei area opened in Kamo about 1881.[9]

Kamo became a Town District in 1884, at which point it had a population of 410, slightly smaller than Whangarei.[10]

The town was known for its hot springs in the early 20th century, although several people died of suffocation in covered baths between 1901 and 1920.[11] The iron-rich water was promoted as a health tonic.[12]

In the early 1960s the boundaries of Whangarei city expanded to include Kamo.[13]


Kamo High School is a secondary (years 9-13) school with a roll of 889.[14] The school was established in 1960.[15] Kamo Intermediate is an intermediate (years 7-8) school with a roll of 674.[16] This school has a friendly rivalry with its two neighbouring schools, Whangarei Boys' High School and Whangarei Girls' High School.

Kamo Primary School, Totara Grove School and Hurupaki School are contributing primary (years 1-6) schools with rolls of 416,[17] 309[18] and 324[19] respectively.

Excellere College is a state integrated composite (years 1-15) school with a roll of 181.[20]

All these schools are coeducational. Rolls are as of February 2017.[21] Totara Grove has a decile rating of 2. Hurupaki School has a decile of 8. The others all have a decile rating of 5.

Kamo Primary School opened in July 1873 in a private house. It had grown to 64 students by the time it moved into Kamo Public Hall in 1877.[22] and it moved to its own building in 1881. In 1946, it moved to its present site. The older students were split to Kamo Intermediate in 1964. Kamo East School opened in 1966, and was later renamed to Totara Grove School.[2]

Notable people[edit]

All Blacks Bunny Finlayson, Bevan Holmes and Ian Jones played for Kamo Rugby Club as did Auckland Blues player Justin Collins and Auckland Blues coach Peter Sloane.

Michael Hill (Jeweller and Entrepreneur) attended Kamo High School.

Stacey Michelsen (Black Stick) attended Kamo Intermediate School

Ross Ihaka, Pickering Award recipient and co-originator of the R programming language, attended Kamo High School.

Park Kyung, a rapper and composer from South Korean boy group Block B, attended Kamo High School.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Te Aka Māori-English, English-Māori Dictionary and Index
  2. ^ a b "Kamo Primary School - A Short History". Kamo Primary School. Archived from the original on 2001-02-23. 
  3. ^ Bruce Hayward; Mike Isaac; Keith Miller; Bernhard Spörli (2002). "Introduction to Whangarei geology" (PDF). Geological Society of New Zealand. p. 27. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-04. 
  4. ^ The population shown is the combined population of Kamo East (Quickstats about Kamo East) and Kamo West (Quickstats about Kamo West).
  5. ^ Pickmere, Nancy Preece (1986). Whangarei: The Founding Years. p. 144. 
  6. ^ "Mining and Mineral Resources - Coal". Encyclopedia of New Zealand (1966). 
  7. ^ "Mining and Mineral Resources - Other Metallic Ores". Encyclopedia of New Zealand (1966). 
  8. ^ Menefy, Diana (1994). Kamo: The Story of a Village. pp. 85–91. ISBN 0-473-02806-9. 
  9. ^ Pickmere, p 133 gives the 1881 date, but Menefy, p 91, says the land was purchased in 1883.
  10. ^ Menefy, p 14
  11. ^ "Thermal pools and spas - Leisure and pleasure". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 
  12. ^ "Thermal pools and spas - Health benefits". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 
  13. ^ "Whangarei". Bateman New Zealand Encyclopedia (4th ed.). 1995. p. 632. 
  14. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: Kamo High School
  15. ^ "School". Kamo High School. Archived from the original on 2006-08-22. 
  16. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: Kamo Intermediate
  17. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: Kamo School
  18. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: Totara Grove School
  19. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: Hurupaki School
  20. ^ Te Kete Ipurangi schools database: Kamo Christian College
  21. ^ "Directory of Schools - as at 6 March 2017". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 10 April 2017. 
  22. ^ Menefy, pp 95-106

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°41′S 174°19′E / 35.683°S 174.317°E / -35.683; 174.317