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Skyline of Kaitaia
Kaitaia is located in Northland Region
Kaitaia is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 35°6′45″S 173°15′46″E / 35.11250°S 173.26278°E / -35.11250; 173.26278Coordinates: 35°6′45″S 173°15′46″E / 35.11250°S 173.26278°E / -35.11250; 173.26278
Country New Zealand
IslandNorth Island
Territorial authorityFar North District
(June 2018)[1]
 • Total5,860
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s)09

Kaitaia is a town in the Far North District of New Zealand, at the base of the Aupouri Peninsula, about 160 km northwest of Whangarei. It is the last major settlement on State Highway 1. Ahipara Bay, the southern end of Ninety Mile Beach, is 5 km west.

The main industries are forestry and tourism. The population is 4,887 (2013 census), which makes it second-largest town in the Far North District, after Kerikeri.

The name Kaitaia means ample food, kai being the Māori word for food.[2]

The Muriwhenua are a group of six northern Māori iwi occupying the northernmost part of the North Island surrounding Kaitaia.

History and culture[edit]

European settlement[edit]

The Kaitaia Mission Station was established between 1833 and 1834 after a series of visits by Church Missionary Society (CMS) representatives including Samuel Marsden, and at different times, Joseph Matthews and William Gilbert Puckey.[3] Puckey and Matthews had married two sisters, Matilda and Mary Ann Davis respectively, (daughters of Richard Davis, a lay missioner based at Waimate). They formed a tight band, initially living together in raupo huts, and then in houses they built.

As Puckey and the sisters were fluent in Maori, (Puckey having arrived in New Zealand in 1819 with his father, William Puckey, and the Davis family in 1823), they spoke Maori when together, to help Joseph pick up the language. Both families grew and intermarried, forming the basis of the early Pakeha settler community. At one point, the Church Missionary Society decided that either Puckey or Matthews should move to a new location to the south to facilitate the spread of the word, but Nōpera Panakareao wrote a heartfelt letter to the CMS committee, pleading not to take away 'one of the two candlesticks'.

In February 1841, about 500 Maori were present at a CMS service.[4] In 1852 arguments developed between one chief and his tribe, however the impact of the missionaries meant that the old ways of settling disputes had passed.[5]

Richard Matthews, the brother of Rev. Joseph Matthews, arrived in the Bay of Islands in December 1835 and for a time, joined his brother in Kaitaia. Richard Matthews had been a lay missionary on the second voyage of HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin.[6][7] Richard Matthews served the CMS as a lay catechist at Kaitaia. In 1838 he married Johanna Blomfield, the sister of Mrs Martha Blomfield Clarke, whose husband George was a CMS missionary at Te Waimate mission. In 1840 Richard and Johanna Matthews helped set up a missionary station at Whanganui.[8]

There were plans to extend the Okaihau Branch railway to Kaitaia and construction was started in the 1920s, but with the line nearly complete to Rangiahua, a review in 1936 determined that the line would not be viable and construction was abandoned. The line terminated in Okaihau until it was closed on 1 November 1987. D 221, a steam tank locomotive, has been on static display at Centennial Park since 1967.[9]


Kaitaia has three Ngāti Kahu marae: Karikari Marae is affiliated with Te Whānau Moana, Mangataiore Marae is affiliated with Ngāti Taranga, and Ōturu Marae and Kia Mataara meeting house are affiliated with Ngāi Tohianga.[10][11]


Kaitaia has a humid subtropical climate (Cfbl) according to the Trewartha climate classification system or an oceanic climate (Cfb) according to Köppen system.

Climate data for Kaitaia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 23.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 19.5
Average low °C (°F) 15.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 82.0
Source: NIWA Climate Data[12]


InterCity operates a daily bus service to and from Auckland via Kerikeri.[13] Community Business & Environment Centre (CBEC) runs a service called Busabout to Ahipara, Mangonui and Pukenui.[14]

Kaitaia Airport has services from Auckland and is the only airport in the upper Far North District. Air New Zealand discontinued their services in April 2015.[15] Barrier Air has since taken over services to Auckland.[16]



Kaitaia is one of the main centres in the Far North of New Zealand. It is near to popular tourist destinations such as Ahipara and is on State Highway 1 which leads up to Cape Reinga. The town's slogan is "Where journeys begin"[17].

An annual Snapper Surf Casting Competition is held in March, on Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē (90 Mile Beach)[1].


The Aupouri Forest, to the North of Kaitaia, provides pine logs which are processed at the Juken Nissho Mill in Kaitaia.

Agriculture, Horticulture and Viticulture[edit]

Kaitaia lies within the Awanui River catchment. The area supports dairy and dry stock farming, predominantly sheep and beef.

Further North of Kaitaia, the avocado industry flourishes, with orchards dispersed throughout the immediate area.

Wine is a growing commodity. One of the largest vineyards is the Karikari Estate.

Manuka Honey is another industry experiencing growth.


Kaitaia Primary School, Kaitaia Intermediate and Kaitaia College are the main primary, intermediate and secondary schools. The primary school has a decile rating of 1, the others 2. The rolls are 277,[18] 253,[19] and 862[20] respectively.

Pompallier School is a Catholic full primary (years 1-8) school with a decile rating of 3 and a roll of 126.[21]

Kaitaia Abundant Life School is a Christian composite school (years 1-13) with a decile rating of 2 and a roll of 211.[22] It was established in 1988 as a private primary school, and extended to secondary students in 1992. It became a state integrated school in 1996.[23]

Oturu School is a primary school to the north east serving years 1-8, with a decile rating of 1 and a roll of 63.[24]

Pukepoto School and Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Pukemiro are in Pukepoto, to the south-west.

All these schools are co-educational.

NorthTec polytechnic also has a campus in Kaitaia.[25]

Notable people[edit]

Notable people who have lived in Kaitaia:


  1. ^ "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2018 (provisional)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018. For urban areas, "Subnational population estimates (UA, AU), by age and sex, at 30 June 1996, 2001, 2006-18 (2017 boundaries)". Statistics New Zealand. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Welcome..." Retrieved 2010-02-08.
  3. ^ "Muriwhenua Land Report - The People and the Land" (PDF). Waitangi Tribunal. p. 48. Retrieved 2008-09-03.
  4. ^ Matthews, Joseph. "The Church Missionary Gleaner, August 1841". A Church Mission in New Zealand. Adam Matthew Digital. Retrieved 9 October 2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  5. ^ "The Church Missionary Gleaner, October 1853". Kaitaia. Adam Matthew Digital. Retrieved 18 October 2015. (Subscription required (help)).
  6. ^ Darwin, Charles. Journal of a Voyage Round the World, 1831-36
  7. ^ Lavallee, Louis. "The Voyage Of The Beagle - In The Creator's Service".
  8. ^ "Richard Matthews". Pre-1839 foreigners in NZ.
  9. ^ "Weka Pass Railway's page on D 221". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
  10. ^ "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". tkm.govt.nz. Te Puni Kōkiri.
  11. ^ "Māori Maps". maorimaps.com. Te Potiki National Trust.
  12. ^ "Climate Data". NIWA. Retrieved 2 November 2007.
  13. ^ "InterCity (Kaitaia)". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Busabout North". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Air NZ ends Auckland to Kaitaia flights as new airline steps in". TVNZ ONE News. 28 April 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  16. ^ Peter de Graaf (13 February 2015). "New air service inbound at Kaitaia". Northern Advocate. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  17. ^ "Kia Ora: Kaitaia". New Zealand Herald.
  18. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi". Ministry of Education.
  19. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi". Ministry of Education.
  20. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi". Ministry of Education.
  21. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi". Ministry of Education.
  22. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi". Ministry of Education.
  23. ^ "Abundant Life School Profile" (DOC).
  24. ^ "Te Kete Ipurangi". Ministry of Education.
  25. ^ "Kaitaia". NorthTec. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  26. ^ Harris, Jan. "Sophia Louisa Taylor". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  27. ^ "The sporting Yates family". National Library of New Zealand.

External links[edit]