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Morrinsville is located in North Island
Morrinsville is located in New Zealand
Coordinates: 37°39′S 175°31′E / 37.650°S 175.517°E / -37.650; 175.517Coordinates: 37°39′S 175°31′E / 37.650°S 175.517°E / -37.650; 175.517
Country New Zealand
Territorial authorityMatamata-Piako District
 • MayorAsh Turner
 (June 2018)[1]
 • Total7,870
Time zoneUTC+12 (NZST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+13 (NZDT)
Area code(s)07

Morrinsville is a provincial town in the Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island, with a population of approximately 7,000 in the 2013 Census.[2] The town is located at the northern base of the Pakaroa Range, and on the south-western fringe of the Hauraki Plains. Morrinsville is around 33 kilometres east of Hamilton and 22 kilometres west of Te Aroha. The town is bordered by the Piako River to the east and the Waitakaruru Stream to the south.

History and Culture[edit]

Pre-European settlement[edit]

Prior to European settlement of New Zealand, the hills around present-day Morrinsville were occupied by the Ngati Werewere Māori people of the Ngati Haua Iwi, and the site of the present-day town was on or near to an old Māori route between the upper Waihou-Piako basin and the Ngaruawahia area.[3]

Following European settlement, some early European traders are believed to have traversed this route prior to 1834 when the Rev. J. Morgan travelled up the Piako River to near the future town site and crossed west to Horotiu, near Ngaruawahia.[4] First recorded contact with European settlers occurred around 1850, with John Johnson trading with the Māori from 1852.[5]

Post-European settlement[edit]

The 1860s saw an influx of European settlers to the area between Te Aroha and Matamata, and on 13 December 1873 a settler from Auckland, Thomas Morrin,[6] purchased the Kuranui №1 Block from the local Māori and founded the Lockerbie Estate, which Morrin named after the Scottish town from which his father emigrated. In May 1874, Morrin purchased two further blocks, Motumaoho №1 and №2, and his estate then totaled over 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares). The fledgling village was to be the service centre for Morrin’s Lockerbie Estate and he built a blacksmith's shop, manager's house, the Jolly Cripple Hotel and general store and donated land for a school. Morrin hired Irish navvies from the gold fields to dig a network of ditches to drain the land, enabling it to be used for agriculture. In 1882 Morrin surveyed the land for the site of the town proper, and deposited plans for ten streets: Anderson, Hamilton, Studholme, Moorhouse, Lorne, Canada, Cureton, Somerville, Thames and Thorpe (the first and last three streets being named after family members).[3][4][5]

Lockerbie Estate Blacksmiths in Studholme Street, Morrinsville, circa 1890

The Thames Valley and Rotorua Railway Company began construction of a railway line from Morrinsville to Rotorua in 1879, and on 1 October 1884, the line from Hamilton to Morrinsville was opened. With construction progressing towards Paeroa and the line to Te Aroha opening on 1 March 1886, the town's population was listed as 633 people.[7] With further expansion of the railway towards Thames and Tauranga, alongside extensive drainage of swamp land to the south and west of the town making available large areas for dairy farming, Morrinsville was declared a town district in 1908 and in 1921 was constituted as a borough.[4]


Morrinsville has two marae: Kai a Te Mata and its meeting house Wairere, and Rukumoana or Top Pā and its meeting house Werewere.[8] Both marae are affiliated with the Ngāti Hauā iwi and its Ngāti Werewere hapū, and with the Waikato Tainui iwi.[9]


Morrinsville is covered by two area units, East and West, which had these census figures[10] -

Population Households Average income National average
Year E W total E W total E W
2001 3,678 2,520 6,198 1,431 903 2,334 $19,000 $16,100 $18,500
2006 4,056 2,547 6,593 1,566 945 2,511 $26,100 $21,500 $24,100
2013 4,431 2,562 6,993 1,773 978 2,751 $30,600 $24,200 $27,900

Apart from Morrinsville, the largest number of commuters go to Waihou from Morrinsville East and Tahuroa from West.[11] In 2013 11.6% of the population of Morrinsville East and 26% of West were Māori.[12]


Morrinsville School

Morrinsville Intermediate School

Morrinsville High School


Morrinsville is one of three towns, along with Te Aroha and Matamata, that serves one of New Zealand's most prosperous dairy farming areas.

Dairy processing has been a notable industry in Morrinsville, most notably through the Morrinsville Dairy Company since 1922. The dairy company retained the Scottish link through prominently using the name Lockerbie. Today, after a series of mergers, the dairy factory is now operated by the Fonterra Dairy Co-operative. The factory processes 1.2 million litres of milk per day during the peak of the milk production season, producing milk powders, cream, butter and canned butter for tropical countries where refrigeration is not always available.

During the late 1920s a company was formed to develop the flax industry on the extensive low-lying areas west of Morrinsville. Several thousand acres were acquired for the planting and milling of New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax), but prevailing economic conditions forced the early abandonment of the project. Most of this land has reverted to dairy farming or fat-lamb production, and the original English grasses used by earlier settlers have been replaced with higher producing Italian ryegrass and nitrogen-fixing white clover. During the town's formative years the area also contained a number of commercial sawmills, most of which closed by the 1930s as land was cleared for farming. Meadow Mushrooms, one of Morrinsville's biggest employers, ceased its local operations and relocated to Canterbury in 2010, with the subsequent loss of around 160 jobs.[13]

As a service centre for the local dairy industry, many of Morrinsville's businesses are geared towards supporting this industry and associated rural activities, and today the town is still home to large stockyards and regular livestock markets. There is also a chemical plant producing hydrogen peroxide, fertiliser and other agri-nutrients located on the southern outskirts of the town.



tickets sales 1885-1950 - derived from annual returns to Parliament of "Statement of Revenue for each Station for the Year ended"

Historically, Morrinsville was the railway junction of the Auckland–Thames and Auckland–Rotorua lines, which subsequently became the Thames Branch and the East Coast Main Trunk Railway (Tauranga) lines. Morrinsville Railway Station was opened on 1 October 1884, to the east off Studholme Street, at the junction of the two lines. A footbridge over the track was opened in 1913, connecting the station with the town from the end of Canada Street.[14] The station was described as consisting of "two asphalt passenger platforms, and the station buildings contain a ladies' waiting room, a large general waiting room, a post office lobby with post and telegraph offices, a ticket office, and offices for the Inspector of Permanent Way. There are also large goods and engine sheds, and cattle loading yards. Five workmen's cottages adjoin the station, and the Bank of New Zealand Estates Company has a large building connected with the siding for seed-cleaning and storage purposes."[15] The station was moved about 14 mile (0.40 km) towards Hamilton in 1923.[16] The original station building was demolished in 1984 and a smaller building was erected approximately 300 metres to the west off Marshall Street, which is still used by KiwiRail for freight services.

Morrinsville railway station, 1902

Passenger services are no longer provided to or from Morrinsville Railway Station. The Thames Branch closed on 28 June 1991 and the track subsequently lifted, although in 2004 a short shunt line – the Waitoa Industrial Line – reopened to facilitate freight trains for the Waitoa Dairy Factory. The East Coast Main Trunk Railway provided passenger services between Auckland and Rotorua – the Geyserland Express – and Auckland and Tauranga - the Kaimai Express; however, in 2001 it was announced that these services were too uneconomic to continue, and the last trains ran on 7 October 2001.

Road network[edit]

Morrinsville is located on State Highway 26 (SH26), running from Hamilton in the west to the Firth of Thames and the Coromandel Peninsula via Mangatarata in the north east. From the town centre it is approximately 7.5 km to the junction of State Highway 27 (SH27) in the east, providing access to the provincial town of Matamata to the south.

Main Road into Morrinsville - Mt Te Aroha in the background

Public transport[edit]


A Rotorua to Auckland bus runs via Morrinsville once a day each way, provided by InterCity,[17] but a service between Hamilton and Coromandel via Paeroa ended in 2017,[18] and those by nakedbus, which ran daily between Hamilton and Whitianga in 2018.

Local bus services to Morrinsville are provided by the Waikato Regional Council with a daily service (#22) between Hamilton and Paeroa via Te Aroha.[19]


Waterfall on the Waitakaruru Stream, beside the Morrinsville River Walk

A 1.8 km (1.1 mi) walkway runs beside Waitakaruru Stream[20] and one of 1.3 km (0.81 mi) beside the Piako River.[21] There was a plan in 2008 to combine these walkways into a route of 5.24 km (3.26 mi).[22] There are also shorter walkways on the north east edge of town.[23][24]

Sports Clubs[edit]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2019". Statistics New Zealand. 22 October 2019. Retrieved 11 January 2020. 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. ^ The population is the sum of the totals for Morrinsville West and Morrinsville East. 2013 Census QuickStats about a place : Morrinsville West 2013 Census QuickStats about a place : Morrinsville East
  3. ^ a b "Morrinsville History". Matamata-Piako District Council. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand". 1966. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b "History of Morrinsville". The Official Website of Morrinsville. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Land Title; 1876; 7042 - Morrinsville Museum on NZMuseums". Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Morrinsville". Matamata Piako District Council. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Māori Maps". Te Potiki National Trust.
  9. ^ "Te Kāhui Māngai directory". Te Puni Kōkiri.
  10. ^ "2013 Census map – QuickStats about a place". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  11. ^ "SNZ Commuter View". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  12. ^ "2013 Census QuickStats about a place". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Mushroom firm cuts 160 jobs". NZ Herald. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  14. ^ "Train campaign may not gain traction". The Waikato Times. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  15. ^ "Morrinsville, The Cyclopedia Of New Zealand [Auckland Provincial District]". The New Zealand Electronic Text Collection, Victoria University of Wellington Library. 1902. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  16. ^ "LOCAL AND GENERAL. WAIKATO INDEPENDENT". 27 September 1923. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  17. ^ "Search Results". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  18. ^ "Community Services and Development Committee" (PDF). Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  19. ^ "Morrinsville/Paeroa 22 | Busit". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Morrinsville River Walk". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Holmwood Park Walk". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  22. ^ "Matamata-Piako District Council Track Strategy" (PDF). July 2008.
  23. ^ "Lockerbie Park Walkway". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  24. ^ "Parkwood Walking Track". Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  25. ^ Ainge Roy, Eleanor (26 October 2017). "Jacinda Ardern sworn in as New Zealand PM, promising 'empathetic' government". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2019.

External links[edit]