Maxwell was first settled in the mid-1800s. It offers a range of activities to do, such as the local art gallery (Black Sands Studio), the church, swimming pool and the newly renovated Birch Park Pool, which is situated on the Taranaki side of the Maxwell district. The Maxwell population recorded in 2006 was 1,494 people with females out numbering males 762 to 720. The Maxwell district in the 1960s offered good pig hunting sites. This was due to the heavy scrub situated in the local farms. Around the Maxwell district is a lot of forestry, which generates good carbon credits for the local growers. Maxwell Forestry is a local forestry team that specialises in forest harvesting. Maxwell beach can generate big numbers as many people come to see the small waterfall that runs from the farm land to the beach. The most infamous resident of Maxwell being Katie Maxwell. Katie was the daughter of the town's namesake and was later convicted of treason, she became one of only two women to be hanged in New Zealand's history.